Story credit to Ken Boehlke via SinBinVegas
(Photo Credit: @tomkaplan on Twitter)
First, they took over your TV’s. Then they took over your local tavern. Now, they are taking over a local restaurant.
A group of five Golden Knights, led by Alex Tuch, have officially opened the first NHL player-owned sports bar in Las Vegas. Deryk Engelland, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore, and Tuch took over Wolfgang Puck’s previous place in Downtown Summerlin, and with the help of Puck and his staff, have opened the “Player’s Locker.”
"I brought it to a few different guys on the team. It was guys that I saw were going to be here for a long time. Shea Theodore was one of the first ones I went to. We’re really close and I just wanted other guys that really showed interest. I think we have a really good group and I’m really excited about it." -Alex Tuch
The restaurant had its “soft opening” Saturday and has a grand opening in the works soon. It’s a mix of upscale Wolfgang Puck inspired food with a bar food twist. The menu includes one dish named after each player.
- Tuch’s Reuben Sandwich (pastrami, swiss cheese & coleslaw on rye, chips)
- Engelland’s Fish & Chips (tartar sauce, malt vinegar)
- Karlsson’s Vegan Burger (“beyond meat” vegan patty, vegan cheese & fixins)
- Reilly’s Cheese Curds (fry sauce)
- Shea’s Gooey Deluxe (salted caramel chocolate chip cookie, vanilla ice cream)
The full menu also includes Wolfgang Puck favorites like spicy brick chicken (my personal favorite), filet mignon steak frites, salmon en papillote, taco pizza, and house-made meatballs.
Tuch hasn’t stopped raving about his item since the first moment the news of the restaurant went public.
"It’s the sloppy, greasy, full of sauerkraut, corned beef Reuben that’s really hearty. I asked the executive chef how he would make the perfect Reuben. He said exactly what I was thinking and I said I don’t need to know anything further, I don’t even need to try it until the restaurant is open, it’s a done deal." -Tuch
All five also have a signature drink as well.
- Tuch’s Barrel-Aged Manhattan (blend of rye and sweet vermouth)
- Reilly Smith Paloma (Lunazul, grapefruit juice and black sea salt)
- Theodore Mule (Stolichnaya vodka, lime and ginger beer)
- Engelland Sour (Jim Beam, lemon and bitters)
- Karlsson’s Coffee (a $6 shot with Jameson, coffee and cream)
The front of the restaurant features a display of “lockers” in which Vegas celebs can display their favorite liquor selections.
"Vegas is all about going a little above and beyond and showing a little bit extra. We want it to be an attraction to give the restaurant a cool identity and a cool little twist. It’s simple, yet elegant, and a lot of fun." -Tuch
Featured lockers will include the five Golden Knights players as well as people like Shaquille O’Neal, Wayne Gretzky, Daniel Negreanu, and of course, The Creator.
"Once you kind of heard everything that was going on it was a no brainer. It’s a great spot, we love coming for food and drinks. It’s home and it’s a great opportunity." -Deryk Engelland
The concept was not a spur of the moment decision though. Tuch, who has become known as “The Mayor” in the Golden Knights locker room because of his vast connections in the city, came up with the concept with a pair of partners. Steve Kennedy, the owner of Fizz champagne bar at Caesars Palace and Chateau Nightclub at Paris, and Tommie Battaglia, the owner of Gaetano Brand, a suit shop inside of the Cosmopolitan.
"We came up with the name, the main concept of the sports restaurant and lounge, the liquor locker part of it. We were talking about it and we went to a couple of meetings for a different restaurant and someone else brought us a different business idea and we were able to see the types of people we were able to put in a room. We were lucky enough to have Wolfgang Puck and his team of Tom Kaplan and David Robins come to us with this proposal and it was one we couldn’t say no to." -Tuch
Of course, Tuch needed to run it by the Mc’s in the VGK front office as well.
"They were a little bit concerned because with restaurants it’s a very risky thing. They didn’t want somebody coming in and trying to take my money.
George and Kelly were very supportive. They said as long as it’s done right and you really care about this we will support you 100%. That meant a lot to me. The fact that we were able to partner up with Wolfgang Puck they said, that’s unbelievable and they knew we were in the right hands." -Tuch
The restaurant is located in between CPK and Shack Shack, which adds one place to the list of places the Golden Knights have taken over, Downtown Summerlin. Look for a special grand opening event coming in late February.
Getting in isn't easy though - reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling (702) 202-6300 or by visiting wolfgangpuck.com.