Grand Sierra Resort renovating to bring in Chickie’s and Pete’s Crabhouse and Sports Bar

Chickie’s and Pete’s Crabhouse and Sports Bar is coming soon to Grand Sierra Resort.

Chickie’s and Pete’s Crabhouse and Sports Bar is coming soon to Grand Sierra Resort.

 Crabfries are coming to Reno.

The popular menu item has long been a staple at Chickie’s and Pete’s, an eatery founded in Philadelphia in 1977. The addition of Chickie’s and Pete’s Crabhouse and Sports Bar to the Grand Sierra Resort’s food offerings is part of $55 million in renovations planned for the GSR this year.

Crabfries are one of a host of the restaurant’s crab-themed dishes, said Christopher Abraham, senior vice president of marketing for the Grand Sierra. The GSR had been searching for a restaurant to attach to its renovated sports book, and the wild success of Chickie’s and Pete’s at the Sahara Las Vegas made the decision a no-brainer.
“We always felt like we needed one additional restaurant to service our guests, especially on weekends,” Abraham told NNBW during an interview last week. “We didn’t really have anything that hit the sports bar and beer demographic, but we wanted it to be first-class and really nice.

“We went on an exhaustive search for who would be the best partner for us in a restaurant, and we looked at a variety of options. But our sister property, Sahara Las Vegas, made the decision to go with Chickie’s and Pete’s a year and a half before us, and it has been an absolute home run.”

Menu items include a variety of seafood dishes featuring crab, clams, shrimp, oysters and lobster, as well as burgers, sandwiches and pizza. The restaurant will occupy between 10,000 and 12,000 square feet, with the renovated sportsbook taking another 3,000 square feet, Abraham said. The sports book is expected to open prior to the 2022 National Football League betting season, while the restaurant is expected to open in November.

“It’s going to be a great experience not only for sports fans but also for people looking for very unique food and beer combinations,” Abraham said.

The remodeled sports bar and restaurant aren’t the only high-profile renovations underway at the Grand Sierra Resort. GSR owner Alex Meruelo hasn’t been shy about upgrading and modernizing the property since purchasing it for just $42 million in 2011.

Courtesy Grand Sierra Resort
Grand Sierra Resort will have upgraded all 2,000 of its rooms within 3 years by spring 2023.

“Grand Sierra Resort reflects the best of the Northern Nevada community and it is worth the reinvestment,” Meruelo said.

Over the past four years, rooms on floors 1 through 16 have been completely renovated. Work is underway on floors 17 through 27, which will be an entirely new high-end concept. Five floors 
were completed prior to the Memorial Day weekend, Abraham said, and renovations will resume on the remaining floors once the peak summer tourism season ends to minimize guest disruptions. Meruelo Group will earmark around $27 million, or approximately $70,000 per room, for the renovations, Abraham added.

“It is very, very upscale,” he said. “We renovated five floors this spring, and we will get into the additional five floors this fall and next spring and finish those, so that all 2,000 rooms will have been completely renovated within the last three years.”

The popular 50-lane bowling alley also is being remodeled. Bowling lanes and pin setters have been renovated, and a new kitchen was added as well. Most notably, however, is the addition of eight brand-new VIP lanes in a standalone section of the property that includes its own bar.

Courtesy Grand Sierra Resort
The 50-lane bowling alley at the Grand Sierra Resort has been renovated. Bowling lanes and pin setters have been renovated, and a new kitchen was added as well.

“Bowling has been very successful, and the entire experience has been upgraded,” Abraham said. “We wanted to make sure the experience is second to none, and the new VIP area allows for parties, special groups and corporate events.”

Renovations to the bowling area tally around $7 million, Abraham noted. Work is expected to be finished sometime in July.

The upgrades and reinvestments are necessary to better position the GSR to earn market share among competing properties both regionally and in Northern California, Abraham added.

“It is extremely important for us to have the premier product in Northern Nevada,” he said. “We continue to invest in the property. This year it’s $55 million in addition to the $300 million over the last 5-7 years that our owner has put into the property to make it what we believe is the premier property in Northern Nevada.

“Every inch of this property has been touched,” he added. “The casino floor, all meeting rooms, the Grand Theater, nightclub, spa, retail space, pool, it’s really a continuation of Mr. Meruelo’s vision to create a premier resort destination in Northern Nevada. We are not just competing against properties in Reno, but in Northern California as well. For us to win those guests we have to have high quality rooms and amenities that they don’t have to help drive traffic to Reno-Tahoe and take advantage of the resurgence of this region.”


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