Fremont Food Hall Opens, Second Street Grill Closes Permanently
Downtown’s Fremont casino is evolving culinarily, which has led to the demise of a reliable workhorse of a restaurant, Second Street Grill.
Second Street Grill has closed permanently on the heels of the opening of the new Fremont Food Hall. The restaurant has been in operation for 30 years.
Officially, the casino says the venue is “currently closed and under evaluation,” which sounds a lot like “permanently closed” to us. The restaurant has been removed from the Fremont’s Web site.
On the bright side, the Fremont Food Hall is fairly awesome, and crushes a much fancier food hall, Proper Eats at Aria, by a mile. Oh, and the Fremont Food Hall accepts cash. Ahem, Proper Eats.
We can’t recall ever having eaten at Second Street Grill, but it was fairly well-regarded by downtown fans, especially those who were members of Boyd Gaming’s loyalty club. Boyd also owns The Cal and Main Street nearby.
It feels like the new food hall at Fremont renders the Second Street Grill (also referred to as Second Street Cafe) moot.
Traditional casino cafes feel a bit tired, slow and bland, much like traditional journalism.
The new Fremont Food Hall is bright and the food is solid and the prices are refreshing.
We gave you the very first look inside the food hall at Fremont, of course. We were calling it a food court until we saw it, but it definitely warrants the “food hall” moniker.
Fremont hosted an official opening and ribbon cutting on Jan. 12, 2023.
The eclectic line-up at Fremont Food Hall includes: Steak ‘n Shake, Huey Magoo’s (chicken fingers), Roli Roti (rotisserie meats), CraftKitchen and Tomo Noodles.
The food hall also features a Dunkin’, formerly Dunkin’ Donuts. The original Dunkin’ location at Fremont has closed, and won’t be replaced (it will become part of the casino’s back-of-house). Hey, not all our scoop can be about Tilman Fertitta building a resort on the Las Vegas Strip. You bet your ass we’re going to milk that one, forever.
Our top recommendation for the new Fremont Food Hall is Huey Magoo’s, on par with the best chicken strips in Las Vegas. Those would be at Binion’s (Whiskey Licker Up), Circa (Victory Burger) or Chick-fil-A (everywhere, including Golden Nugget).
The weakest offering at the Fremont Food Court is Steak ‘n Shake. Everything at In-N-Out is better, including the things you like least at In-N-Out. (Order In-N-Out’s fries “light well done” next time. You’re welcome.”)
Overall, the new food hall has something for everyone, and has sparked a lot of activity in the neighborhood, including a refresh of the “promenade” between Fremont Street and E. Ogden Ave.
The overhauled walkway is much more appealing, and it’s not even finished yet. (Odds of the artwork being good are not great, as public art in Las Vegas tends to suck, but it’s something.)
The construction between Fremont Street and Ogden has been brutal for Downtown Grand. We’re told foot traffic declined by a third for the past year due to obstructed sight lines.
Fremont’s new food court has a lovely patio overlooking the former “no-man’s-land” which will soon also boast a Yama Sushi (in a space owned by Downtown Grand).
Yama Sushi will be a minute. pic.twitter.com/uvri74MVZI
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) January 12, 2023
The launch of the food hall at Fremont sets in motion a renovation of the entire casino.
As was the case at The Cal, Fremont will be renovated in sections, with the project scheduled for completion in Dec. 2023. That was our scoop, too. Somebody’s got to do it.
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) January 12, 2023
Fremont casino will have a very different look and feel after the renovation (a renovation of the hotel rooms is already complete).
We didn’t expect all the love for that carpeting, yet a lot of love has been expressed, so somebody at Boyd knew what they were doing.
Fremont casino also recently unveiled its new sportsbook, with the FanDuel brand. (Boyd owns 5% of FanDuel.) The sportsbook is operated by Boyd, FanDuel just has a youthful ring to it. All due respect to your grandpa.
Fremont’s food hall has gotten great buzz, and is already the go-to spot for casino and other employees along Fremont Street Experience (you can see FSE security and zipline uniforms daily). These folks aren’t paid particularly well, so they know value, and Fremont Food Hall is that.
As the announcement of the permanent closure of the Second Street Grill isn’t official, there’s been no word about what might replace it, if anything.
Food halls may very well be the next iteration of casino cafes, just as they are the cost-effective evolution of Las Vegas buffets.