VEGAS RESTAURANT ROUNDUP: Rio Buffet Won’t Be Back for More

Posted on: August 2, 2023, 11:40h. 

Last updated on: August 2, 2023, 11:51h.

The Carnival World Buffet at Rio Las Vegas, which closed along with the pandemic, won’t be back for more.

The Carnival World Buffet at Rio Las Vegas drew consistent critical and popular raves online. (Image:

The off-Strip casino resort’s new operator, Dreamscape, who bought the Rio from Caesars Entertainment in 2019, has no appetite for buffets. Instead, it announced in a statement that it will debut a “world-class food hall that we think will deliver an exceptional alternative to the former Carnival World Buffet.”

It’s part of a trend identified by in March, wherein Las Vegas buffets are on the way out and food halls — basically food courts with Michelin-starred restaurants — are on the way in.

Only eight buffets remain (The Bacchanal at Caesars Palace, The Buffet at Bellagio, Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan, The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas, the MGM Grand Buffet, the Buffet at Excalibur, the Circus Buffet at Circus Circus, and The Buffet at Luxor) where 18 once stood.

“I think they’re replacing buffets because a lot of people just decided they didn’t want to reopen their buffets at exactly the same time, around COVID,” Las Vegas food writer Al Mancini told in the original article. “But even before the pandemic, I don’t know that buffets were a profit center. The resorts were trying to come up with ways to sell them to people, like do a tour of all the buffets … all-day passes to eat at every buffet within the Caesars portfolio in a day.”

Bojangles will debut in Las Vegas with 20 new locations in the next year or so. (Image: Bojangles)

Dining In & Out

Bojangles,  known as Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits until 2020, is building 20 new restaurants in Las Vegas, according to a news release from the company. Founded in 1977 as a single location in Charlotte, NC, Bojangles specializes in Cajun-seasoned fried food. It now operates more than 800 outlets across 15 states.

Zippy’s will soon be a Las Vegas thing, too. The beloved restaurant and bakery had planned to open its first location outside Hawaii in 2020, but the pandemic had other plans. The opening date is now set for October 10 at Badura Ave.

Wolfgang Puck Players Locker, a sports restaurant in the Downtown Summerlin shopping mall, abruptly shuttered on July 30 after brunch. This was a month earlier than expected. When the closure of Lupo at Mandalay Bay was announced in June, it was also announced that the brand would relocate to Puck’s Summerlin restaurant. A closure to rebrand was slated for “late summer.” According to Eater Las Vegas, Players Locker staffers were given zero notice. “The sooner we close, the sooner we can reopen,” a company spokesperson told the restaurant news site.