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Kitchen Confidante: Las Vegas chef claims honor

Former Tao Group chef Marc Marrone, who is preparing to open his first restaurant, the off-Strip Graffiti Bao, in September, will be honored as Chef of the Year at this year’s Las Vegas Food & Wine Festival. The fest will return to Tivoli Village Oct. 4 and 5. Tickets, which start at $100, and cabanas, which start at $1,000, are available now through vegasfoodandwine.com.

Cleo exits, new spot to open

SLS Las Vegas’ Mediterranean restaurant Cleo served its final meals Sunday, shuttering as the resort prepares for its transformation to Sahara Las Vegas. The space won’t remain empty for long, however, as it’s scheduled to reopen Sunday as a pop-up restaurant called Bella Bistro. The new spot is described as an American contemporary dinner venue with Italian influences that will focus on stone-oven pizzas, homemade pastas and various other entrees.

Cocktail with brunch?

Fremont Street’s Smashed Pig is rolling out a new bottomless mimosa and bloody mary option for its weekend brunch service this weekend, with guests able to add unlimited beverages for two hours to their purchase of any entree for $16. The a la carte brunch, which includes options such as poppy seed French toast and chicken-fried steak and eggs, runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

New menus coming

Makers & Finders has some new offerings coming soon. The popular coffee house, with locations in the Arts District and Downtown Summerlin, will introduce an extended Sunday brunch menu this weekend. Then, the next day, they’ll roll out a new beverage menu that will include seasonal cocktails and lattes.


Oming’s Kitchen has opened at 5180 Blue Diamond Road. An outgrowth of a local food truck, it specializes in char-grilled street-style Filipino barbecue. Specialties include lumpia and Sinugba Pork Belly, which is char-grilled and tossed in a Filipino barbecue sauce over rice. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; call 702-722-3171 or visit omingskitchen.com.

Coming to Excal

The Excalibur is planning to open a restaurant and bar aimed at the pregame crowd this October. It will be called Vagabond, and the menu will focus on casual American fare such as burgers, fried bologna sandwiches, nachos and wings. It’s also promising “a variety of entertainment offerings including live music performances, tabletop gaming and arcade and bar games,” as well as 18 high-def TV screens.

Eating well, doing good

Tickets are on sale for M.E.N.U.S., the major fundraising event for the Epicurean Charitable Foundation, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Paradise Pool at the Hard Rock Hotel. Themed “The Mad Hatter’s Garden Party,” the evening will include a dine-around, live entertainment and a silent auction, which is underway online. Tickets, which will benefit the foundation’s scholarship program, start at $500 and are available at ecflv.org or by calling 702-932-5098. Ticket deadline is Sept. 13.


Kacey Musgraves, celebrating her 31st birthday with her mother, grandmother and friends, at Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Have an item for Kitchen Confidante? Email hrinella @reviewjournal.com or amancini@reviewjournal.com.

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