Bandito Latin Kitchen & Cantina, which is in a custom-built structure in the Hughes Center on West Flamingo Road, will close June 9, it was announced Thursday.
“After two years of serving guests in Las Vegas, we have made the difficult decision to close,” read a statement attributed to Kent Harman, owner/operator. “Bandito was a project of passion of ours and we are incredibly proud of what we achieved in that time. Unfortunately, we opened what we consider a great neighborhood restaurant without the neighborhood, but will continue looking for a great location to hopefully serve our guests again in the future.”
The restaurant was born amid some controversy. Construction, on the site of the former Fog City Diner, had been delayed before the Review-Journal reported in January 2017 that Mike Minor, former and now current executive chef at Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken’s Border Grill at Mandalay Bay, was a partner in the restaurant with Harman, also a Border Grill alumnus. The restaurant’s specialty would be “Mexiq” — barbecue with a Mexican twist, such as using Texas-style smoked brisket in traditional Mexican specialties. It was a style Minor had pioneered with his Truck U BBQ food truck after leaving Border Grill.
“It’s something nobody else is doing,” Minor said at the time.
That announcement was followed nine days later with one stating that Minor and Harman had parted company, which Minor blamed on creative differences.
“We are moving forward with Bandito, though we are eliminating the barbecue aspects of the menu, which reflected Mike’s signature cooking style,” Harman said at the time. “Bandito will still aim to serve the best Latin food in town, with a heavy emphasis on the food of Mexico.”
A December 2017 Review-Journal restaurant review found much to like at Bandito, with a menu of familiar, mostly Mexican dishes, interesting specials, friendly service and vibrant decor, but it never seemed to capture a following.
Minor returned to Border Grill late that year. Last summer, Feniger and Milliken announced that they had opened the quick-service BBQ Mexicana across the hall from Border Grill.