Las Vegas’ own celebrity chef Kerry Simon will be honored with the very first culinary memorabilia case at the Hard Rock Hotel, set to be unveiled on July 17. Simon opened Simon Kitchen & Bar at the Hard Rock in 2002 before moving on to local restaurant projects at Luxor, Palms Place and Harrah’s, and most recently debuted Carson Kitchen in Downtown Las Vegas. His memorabilia display will include a bust, a chef coat from his Hard Rock restaurant, autographed guitars and knives, and pictures with celeb friends like Bill Murray. (They’re in matching Elvis suits in that pic.)
The Venetian restaurant space occupied by Pinot Brasserie since the resort’s opening in 1999 will be the new home of Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, coming in early 2015. Created by restaurateur John Kunkel, Yardbird’s original location on Miami Beach was a semifinalist as Best New Restaurant in the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards. The Venetian location will be expanded to 8,000 square feet and will seat 180 guests.
Giada is ready to expand into lunch territory. The Cromwell’s only restaurant begins serving lunch on July 16 and will be available daily from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., including a special locals preview from the 16th until August 1. To make reservations, call the designated locals line at 702-777-3771. Salads, sandwiches, pizzas and antipasti make up the core of the lunch menu.
Downtown Container Park’s Bin 702 bar and restaurant has been selected for the 2014 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, to be published with all winners in the August 31 issue. Bin opened in December and offers a curated selection of 68 wines, many on tap, as well as craft beers.
New Summerlin bar Distill is expanding with a second location opening in Southern Highlands on July 19. Distill, from the creators of Remedy’s Tavern and Elixir, will be open 24 hours at 4830 W. Pyle Ave., serving a variety of specialty cocktails, wine and beer, plus calzones, pizzas, burgers, bar snacks, barbecue chicken and much more.
The 24-hour diner S+O (Stewart and Ogden) at Downtown Grand is expanding its menu beginning July 21, accommodating guests’ favorites and Northern Chinese dishes previously available at Red Mansion, the small adjacent restaurant. (Red Mansion is being converted to a private dining space.) New S+O menu items will include breakfast burritos and tacos, oxtail soup with simmered vegetables, and the jalapeño burger. Downtown Grand also is replacing its Spread Deli, part of the sports book, with a new eatery yet to be determined.
Origin India is adding South Indian cuisine to its menu and has brought on chef Murali Jayakumar to join executive chef Vinod Ahuja. The new menu will debut July 25, including such dishes as rava dosa, a crispy semolina pancake, and spicy Chettinad-style curry chicken from the region of Tamilnadu.