- The self service all you can eat Las Vegas casino buffet was left for dead at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Within the past couple of weeks Caesars Palace and MGM Grand have announced the return of their buffets.
- For the time being, however, buffet options remain limited in the Las Vegas Valley.
Earlier today, we reported on the return of the self serve, all you can eat Las Vegas casino buffet. This type of buffet has long been synonymous with Las Vegas but were an early casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the Nevada gaming industry re-opened after a two month plus shutdown the focus was on health, safety and social distancing. This made the buffet a non-starter. Many gaming industry experts and analysts–myself included–concluded that the all you can eat self service buffet had reached the end of the line. The most recent earnings call from Red Rock Resorts stood as apparent validation of this view–Stations Casinos have long been known for their buffet offerings but the company’s Q1 earnings call strongly suggested that buffets were not in their future plans.
The COVID-19 reopening plans from Clark County at least gave buffet fans hope. These guidelines indicated that restaurants could increase capacity from 50 percent to 80 percent as of May 1. The guidelines would be modified further if the county med vaccination goals:
The news could get even better if at least 60 percent of the 1.8 million eligible residents in Clark County receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccinations and both the 14-day average test positivity remains at 5 percent or below and running weekly cases remain below 1,150 cases. Then the county plans to lift all capacity and social distancing restrictions. About 44 percent of eligible Clark County residents received at least one dose of the vaccination as of Tuesday.
Other relaxed restrictions include the return of self-service buffets as long as each station is supervised by an employee, hand sanitizer is offered to the patrons, service utensils are changed out every hour, and patrons and employees practice adequate social distancing.
In early April, Caesars Entertainment announced the return of the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace complete with a $2.4 million USD remodel job. The day that Bacchanal reopened MGM Resorts announced that the MGM Grand Buffet would return on May 26. Although they’re so far the only two properties announcing a return to a self service, all you can eat concept the history of Las Vegas is a story of successful concepts being copied across town until they become ubiquitous.
UPDATE 5/26/21: Circus Circus has announced that their buffet will reopen at 7 AM on Saturday, May 29 and continue with brunch and dinner service daily
In the meantime, these are the buffet options available in the Las Vegas Valley:
SOUTH POINT GARDEN BUFFET
SOUTH POINT HOTEL CASINO AND SPA
9777 LAS VEGAS BOULEVARD SOUTH
UPDATE 5/26/21: The South Point has announced that the Garden Buffet will return to a ‘self serve’ format on June 1.
The South Point Garden Buffet has long been considered one of the best values in town ranking alongside offerings from Boyd Gaming and Station Casinos. The Garden Buffet was the first to reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic though at last check they were going with the ‘staff serve’ concept. Until further notice, South Point remains the only full time buffet in town serving breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. They have Seafood Night on Friday night and a brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday.
WICKED SPOON BUFFET
THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS
3708 S. LAS VEGAS BOULEVARD
The Wicked Spoon buffet at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has always been one of the more ambitious in town. It was one of the first to return with an ‘assisted service’ concept in June 2020 but closed on January 10, 2021 due to the lack of tourism in Southern Nevada. It reopened on March 25 and has remained open ever since. For the time being at least, Wicked Spoon is open Thursday through Sunday for breakfast and lunch only. Reservations are encouraged.
3570 S. LAS VEGAS BOULEVARD
Bacchanal is the biggest buffet in town but for now they’re serving on a very limited basis with dinner only Thursday through Monday. They’re technically ‘self serve’ but according to Eater Las Vegas they have many dishes ‘prepared, shared or plated in real time by staff’. Bacchanal underwent a $2.4 million USD remodeling last March and they revamped the menu as well. They’re encouraging guests to make reservations via OpenTable and so far so good for the resurgent Bacchanal–they’re reportedly sold out for the next two weeks. At $64.99 per person Bacchanal is well out of the ‘value dining’ range but I’ve always considered it to be one of the quintessential buffet experiences in town and well worth the price of admission. They’re currently serving 4 PM to 10 PM Thursday through Monday but based on the demand so far it wouldn’t surprise me to see them offer expanded hours very soon.
MGM GRAND BUFFET
MGM GRAND LAS VEGAS
3799 S. LAS VEGAS BOULEVARD
The MGM Grand Buffet will reopen for breakfast at 7 AM on Wednesday, May 26. Word has it that they’re currently in a ‘soft launch’ period over the next few days so if you’re in town this weekend you might want to scope it out. Once they reopen, regular hours will be 7 AM to 2 PM Thursday through Monday–meaning they’re only serving breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch for now. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the buffets at the major Strip properties keep the ‘breakfast and lunch only’ format for the foreseeable future with the rationale being that they’d rather you eat in one of the property’s ‘gourmet rooms’ for dinner. Of course that will last only until one of the other major properties changes their format after which you’ll quickly see it copied across the valley. The MGM Grand Buffet will cost you $25.99 per person on Monday, Thursday and Friday and $29.99 on Saturday and Sunday.