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Moonen closes Las Vegas Strip restaurants, promises off-Strip return

Rick Moonen has announced the closing of his two restaurants — RM Seafood and Rx Boiler Room — at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place. The final service was Friday night. He says an inability to come to terms on his lease was the reason for his decision. The chef called a meeting of his staff at noon today to inform them of the decision.

About 120 full- and part-time employees are affected by the closures. Moonen says Mandalay Bay has agreed to allow those employees to apply for relocation within MGM Resorts International. (As of this posting, representatives of the resort had no information on relocating employees.)

Moonen, a pioneer in the sustainable seafood movement, relocated to Las Vegas from New York to open RM Seafood on Valentine’s Day 2004, with a fine-dining restaurant on the second floor and a more casual seafood concept downstairs. The upper level has been reimagined over the past 14 years, even closing temporarily. The main floor, however, has been a Strip mainstay and top seafood destination throughout that time.

Moonen plans to move forward with restaurant concept consulting; his online lifestyle network “Feast it Forward”; product endorsements; various charity events; and promoting sustainable seafood as a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force through the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He is adamant about his intention to remain in Las Vegas and continue serving its residents. He says he currently has multiple concepts in development, with an eye toward opening a restaurant off the Strip.

“Now is the time for me to embed myself deeper into the community that has embraced and supported me for 15 years,” he says.

“Stay tuned — it’s going to be innovative, ingredient driven and just plain soigne!”

When contacted about the closings, MGM Resorts International issued a statement saying, in part, “We congratulate Rick on a terrific run and wish him success in all his future endeavors.”

It went on to say that information on what will take over the spaces “will be made available in the coming months.”

Contact Al Mancini at amancini @reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter.

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