Red Lion nearing completion of interior remodeling work |

Red Lion nearing completion of interior remodeling work

Rob Sabo

Construction is nearly complete on a new restaurant, casino space and stage area at the Red Lion Hotel and Casino.

Play Elko Properties, which manages the Red Lion as well as the Gold County and High Desert inns and Thunderbird Hotel, began an extensive remodel of 9,000 square feet of space at the Red Lion in June.

The casino’s old showroom and Misty’s Restaurant were gutted to the building’s framing in order to make room for a new restaurant and bar with a stage that will be open to the current gaming floor. An additional 2,500 square feet of casino space with slot machines will be added to the Red Lion as well.

Cost of the remodel is close to $500,000, says Red Lion Chief Executive Officer Dave Zornes. Work is expected to be completed in early September.

“We wanted to update Misty’s and have a restaurant that fit Elko a little better,” Zornes says. Misty’s was built with the rest of the hotel in 1982 and had extremely outdated decor. The newly branded Aspen Bar and Grill will feature a revamped menu to draw a wider clientele.

“We still will have higher-end menu items, but we also will have more low-end menu items so it’s not just a special-events type restaurant. We want to have a restaurant that people come to once a month and not once a year,” Zornes says.

The Aspen Bar and Grill includes 13 booths, a fireplace, and hardwood floors for a much more contemporary look. Zornes says it will be one of the more upscale eateries Elko. It also will have a private dining room with a fireplace and audio visual services for private group parties.

The remodel also capitalizes on space that wasn’t being maximized at the Red Lion. The showroom had long since quit hosting live music and largely went unused. The new space includes a small stage for live acts and a small dance floor. Live music once again will be a part of the casino’s gaming experience, mostly to provide an upbeat ambiance.

“We will have live entertainment at night and create some energy at night time,” Zornes says.

Play Elko Properties is acting as general contractor on the project and subcontracted work to different trades as necessary. Zornes says the mechanical systems and other aspects were so outdated the entire space had to be revamped. The site has new a concrete floor, new ceiling, and new heating and air conditioning systems.

“We started from scratch with the whole space,” Zornes says.