When I first heard of Neonopolis several years ago, I assumed they were talking about a day-glo Greek temple where toga-clad philosopher types hung out a few thousand years ago and talked about math and logic and such.
Instead, it was an outdoor mall in Downtown Las Vegas.
OK. That’s cool too.
For those first few years, Neonopolis had potential, and the tenants to back it up: restaurants, boutiques, shops, a bar, a 14-screen movie theater and more.
But if you’ve been there in the past few years, you know that the place looks like something from a zombie apocalypse movie. The only remaining tenants were a TV studio, a jewelry shop and signs from once-open businesses. Otherwise, you could find a whole lot of eerie silence and blank storefronts.
Everything from landlord drama among the various owners over the mall’s life so far, to air conditioning costs, have been cited as the reason for Neonopolis’ ghost-town status.
Well, until now. It seems that a recent wave of new businesses is cropping up in this mall again. We’ve assembled some background on the major players in this hopeful Neonopolis revival:
This recently-opened café and bakery on the first floor specializes in boba tea, smoothies, coffee and, drumroll please: sweets. They also serve vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free treats, so fret not! Feeling NV-ous yet?
Toy Shack, on the first floor near Las Vegas Boulevard, is already open for business and ready for all of your action figure, playset and doll needs. Owner Johnny Jimenez, who you may have seen as the toy expert on “Pawn Stars,” stocks everything from ’60s toy soldiers, ’80s robots and the adorable monsters of the ’00s and the staff is courteous and has Wikipedia-esque levels of expertise on everything they carry.
Heart Attack Grill:
This Arizona transplant is opening later this month, but is already making its presence known with signage around Neonopolis, promoting its extreme food and waitresses dressed as nurses.
The Heart Attack Grill serves up meals that can only be described as gluttony-indulging. Milkshakes are made with butterfat, French fries are fried in pure lard and their burgers follow this morbid naming scheme: Single/Double/Triple/Quadruple Bypass Burger.
The quad is 8,000 calories worth of food, with four patties, eight slices of cheese, a whole tomato and half an onion. Yikes.
Their boldest gimmick? If you weigh more than 350 pounds, you eat free. With a name and premise like that, this one is going to draw all sorts of attention.
They’re opening a Denny’s in Neonopolis in 2012. Sure, everyone has a Denny’s nearby, but what better place for this open-late eatery with its fabled hangover-cure properties than Downtown Vegas?