Carson Nugget undertakes overhaul

Locals who frequent the Carson Nugget casino will find things have changed significantly at the property in the heart of the capital city.

A major part of the changes were renovating 58,000 square feet of the casino’s interior while casual and upscale culinary options were introduced.

Dean DiLullo, who moved to the Nugget as chief executive officer about a year ago after being part of the Boomtown Reno leadership group, indicated it was time the venerable but popular property got a makeover to meet the changing demand of the gaming industry.

The Nugget opened in 1954 and has since been a staple in downtown Carson City.

The first order of business was to change the property’s dining options.

“The property needed to take the culinary department to the next level,” DiLullo said.

To do that, he brought in David Sellers as executive chef to rework the menu. The property in turn introduced such items as Italian cuisine as well as the Awful Awful burger menu to the popular restaurant, The Eatery.

It also purchased higher quality foods as well as revamping the wine list.

“We reworked the wine list to have an incredible selection of wines,” DiLullo said.

The wine selection was a part of the Alatte Coffee and Wine Bar, a new venue that was a part of the renovation located in the southwest corner of the casino. The shop also serves coffee and related items from a local company, Hub Coffee Roasters.

Alatte was created by literally cutting The Eatery restaurant in half by building a wall to separate the two venues and adding a new bar area and dining booths to Alatte.

To add to the coffee shop’s décor, DiLullo’s wife found artist Erik Burke, who painted wine-themed murals that now adorn its interior.

The Steakhouse, a long-time staple of the property, also saw plenty of saws and hammers by adding an indoor patio area along with a private Barrel Room designed for groups and meetings.

Another area that management felt needed renovation was the sports book and bar area. The William Hill Sports Book was relocated to a secluded corner area and remade into what DiLullo called a “Man Cave” setting with several leather lounge chairs situated in front of flat-screen TVs for patrons to watch sporting events.

Houston Smith Construction handled the construction duties that started in January and took about two months to complete.

To complete the interior makeover, DiLullo imported a replica of the Batmobile from Boomtown and it now is parked amidst the slot machines.

While the casino management felt the need to make some big changes, they were cognizant not to make too many radical changes that could irk long-time customers. The casino floor area remained relatively the same.

“It’s not the same old look,” said Brandi Wells, the Nugget’s director of system operations. “We wanted to keep it fresh but not too much to offend the locals.”

In addition, the casino’s deli has expanded hours to stay open overnight.

Management also brought in some notable acts for its Comedy Club, including comedians Kevin Farley and Sean Peabody.

To showcase the new feature, a ribbon cutting was held on March 13. In attendance were Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell and Assemblyman P.K. O’Neil among others.

Along with overseeing the property’s new look, DiLullo is in discussion about possibly purchasing the property as his own. He is pleased with the renovations, but also may make tweaks here and there in the future.

“This is a great property with a ton of history and I am thrilled to introduce the community to our new amenities,” said DiLullo.


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