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First Food & Bar, Rattlecan closed at Venetian

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Chef Sammy DeMarco is shown at First Food & Bar in 2009.
Photo: Isaac Brekken

Rumors of restaurant changes at Venetian and Palazzo have been swirling for months, but an unexpected development struck today: Palazzo’s First Food & Bar and Venetian’s Rattlecan, two casual restaurants operated by chef Sammy DeMarco, have been shuttered.

An announcement released today by restaurant ownership team VV Ventures stated: “We have entered a mutual agreement to relocate the restaurants from their current locations. Both restaurants are closed at this time and we look forward to announcing a new Las Vegas home for Rattlecan in the near future.”

DeMarco, a New Yorker, is known as an innovator of casual American cuisine and has operated restaurants on the East Coast and in Australia. He opened First Food & Bar in a hard-to-find location on the second level of the Palazzo in 2008, but that was his second tour of duty in Las Vegas—he once operated Sam’s American at Bellagio. Rattlecan, a graffiti art-inspired burger joint, opened late last year on the casino level at Venetian.

The sudden departure of these two restaurants, particularly the months-old, elaborately designed Rattlecan, further fuels rumors that Venetian is working to make room for restaurants from celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Daniel Boulud. The latter opened his only Vegas venture at Wynn in 2005 in the space currently occupied by Lakeside. In December, a spokesperson for Boulud’s restaurants in New York told the Weekly the acclaimed chef had no plans to return to the Strip.

Batali, who operates three restaurants at Venetian and Palazzo, told the Weekly in December that he would love to open a version of his Eataly gourmet market, shopping and dining concept in Las Vegas, if he could find the perfect location.

The soon-to-be empty First and Rattlecan aren’t the only available restaurant spaces at the resorts. Nothing ever took the place of Restaurant Charlie, which closed in 2010, or Dos Caminos, the Palazzo’s former Mexican restaurant, which is set to open at a new Summerlin location on March 11.

Tags: Business, Dining
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Brock Radke is Las Vegas Weekly's food editor and author of the Strip-focused column The Incidental Tourist. He has written ...

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