Aureole Las Vegas Closing After 24 Years

Chef Charlie Palmer is closing his Aureole restaurant in Las Vegas, known for its Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine list and its four-story wine tower, where “wine angels” sailed on wires to retrieve bottles. A centerpiece of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino since it opened in 1999, Aureole has been a training ground for many young chefs and sommeliers.

But after 24 years, Palmer is ready to focus on other projects. “It really doesn’t make sense for me to continue with it,” Palmer, 63, said. New ownership of Mandalay Bay and the addition of a convention center, “really changed the DNA of the hotel,” he added.

His company, the Charlie Palmer Collective, has been in transition in recent years. (Read our Aug. 31, 2022, cover story, “The Palmer Principle.”) In 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, the chef closed the original Aureole in New York after 34 years and rebranded the space as Charlie Palmer Steak, which holds a Best of Award of Excellence. That same year, he shuttered his steakhouse in The Four Seasons, Las Vegas. He still maintains numerous other venues, including Best of Award of Excellence–winning Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, Calif., other Charlie Palmer Steak locations and Willow by Charlie Palmer at the Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Rhinebeck, N.Y.

Palmer’s attention has turned to a collection of upscale resorts, named Appellation, in the western United States. Four resorts are now in the works: Pacific Grove, Healdsburg and Petaluma in California’s Sonoma County, and Idaho’s Sun Valley.

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Appellation Healdsburg has already broken ground north of town. The plan includes a restaurant, mixed-use retail space, a high-end senior living community, residences, a large event center and intimate spaces for local artisans to teach their crafts. The Petaluma hotel is in the center of the historic river town, while the Pacific Grove facility will be a few steps from Monterey Aquarium, and the Sun Valley hotel is on Ketchum’s Main Street. “They’re all in places that I love,” Palmer said.

Aureole’s massive, impressive wine cellar—which has 26,000 bottles in inventory and holds deep collections of Burgundy, California, Italy and Bordeaux gems—is among the largest in Las Vegas and has held its Grand Award since 2000. But its future is out of Palmer’s hands. “Mandalay Bay owns the collection,” he said. Nor is he certain about the fate of the wine tower and wine angels.

Replacing Aureole, for a one-year culinary residency, is Retro by Voltaggio, from Top Chef stars and brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio. That restaurant will feature American family-style dining and a 1980s to 1990s pop-culture atmosphere that will extend from the cocktails and menu (think Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, pot roast and lobster thermidor) to the soundtrack, art on display and entertainment. The brothers have previously partnered with MGM Resorts at their MGM National Harbor restaurant Voltaggio Brothers Steak House in Maryland, which holds a Best of Award of Excellence. But for Bryan Voltaggio, the new project is like coming home. He got his start at Aureole Las Vegas under Palmer’s mentorship.

Aureole’s final service, Palmer said, will be sometime in April.

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Aureole Las Vegas Closing After 24 Years  
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