North Las Vegas residents hungry for new restaurants will have more options along Craig Road in the coming months.
Cafe Rio and Red Lobster are two chains that hope to capitalize in the same way that Texas Roadhouse did after opening to huge crowds in November.
“I think it’s pent-up demand,” said Gina Gavan, chief innovation officer for the city of North Las Vegas. “Just think of what will happen when Red Lobster opens. People will be excited.”
Red Lobster spokeswoman Samantha Bruno said in an email that the resturant is expected to open by summer. The planned 5,600-square-foot restaurant will be in the new Craig Camino complex being developed near the Dignity Health Medical Group facility, 1550 W. Craig Road. The restaurant will hold 200 guests.
“Sometimes these things are in the planning process for 12 to 15 months, and then when you’re starting to see everything come out of the ground,” Gavan said. “It really makes that whole neighborhood come to life.”
Gavan explained that Mayor John Lee and the City Council have pushed for options beyond fast food as the Craig corridor attracted more medical facilities and new retail began flanking the upgraded Craig Ranch Regional Park.
One of the region’s biggest additions was Texas Roadhouse, the second location in Nevada (Reno) and first in the Las Vegas Valley, at Craig and Bruce Street. When it opened, diners jammed the place, producing wait times of two hours or more.
Texas Roadhouse spokesman Travis Doster said the new restaurant is “outperforming nearly all the other properties,” of which there are more than 560.
Doster said some advisers suggested the Louisville, Kentucky-based chain locate downtown Las Vegas or along the Strip to draw more attention. The company’s founder, Kent Taylor, decided against that option.
“He decided we needed to be where the homes are,” Doster said, “and I think we hit a home run at that location for that reason.”
The Craig location is also close to Nellis Air Force Base, and the restaurant offers free meals to veterans and active military personnel on Veterans Day.
A section of westbound Craig Road near Commerce Street has been reduced from three lanes to one for the installation of a new gas line.
The construction is near a planned industrial project east of a U-Haul storage facility. The area was once occupied by a paintball facility.