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Rao's Setting up Shop in Caesars

Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Las Vegas -- Caesars Palace has reached an agreement with principals of the Rao's Restaurant Group, LLC, to bring to Las Vegas the one-and-only Rao's, the 110-year-old, 10-table, East Harlem ItalianRao's Restaurnt is one of the most sought after reservations in New York.
Rao's Restaurnt is one of the most sought after reservations in New York.
  restaurant that is the ultimate New York dinner reservation "get."  Slated to open in late 2006, Rao's will move into the space formerly occupied by Terrazza  at Caesars Palace and will be re-created by the Engstrom Design Group of San Rafael, Calif., to capture the intimate, convivial, speak-easy style of the original, located at 455 East 114th Street.  The announcement was made today by Rao's principals Frank Pellegrino, Sr., Frank Pellegrino, Jr., and Ron Straci, with Gary Selesner, the president of Caesars Palace, and Caesars Palace General Manager John Unwin.
Rao's is a culinary national treasure.  Widely acclaimed for its authentic, southern Neapolitan Italian cooking and its home-style family ambiance, Rao's was honored with a pinnacle three stars from New York Times restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton, who describes the cuisine, "exquisitely simple Italian cooking."
Rao's is believed one of the country's oldest family-owned-and-run restaurants in its original location, and its southern Italian cuisine sings with freshness, authenticity, flavor and love.
Rao's serves and satiates some of the most powerful appetites in the world.  Legions of politicians, sports figures and matinee idols have jockeyed for a reservation.   Indeed, there is a reason why the only way to get a seat at this legendary restaurant is if you are a regular and have "table rights" or if you're lucky enough to be invited as a guest by someone who does.  Regulars at Rao's read like the "who's who" of New York cognoscenti, including Woody Allen, Billy Crystal, Rob Reiner, Nicholas Pileggi and Danny Aiello.
"Ask any foodie and you'll hear that Rao's has a unique niche in Italian fine dining," said Selesner.  "Serious food critics applaud Rao's simplicity, excellence and authenticity, and the rest of us just love the food and the feeling that you're having dinner in an Italian grandmother's house.  Caesars guests will love Rao's."
"Our goal will be to recreate the iconic storefront 'look' and intimate feeling of the original Rao's in New York," said Unwin. "Rao's at Caesars Palace will make guests feel like they are eating in a warm, comfortable turn-of-the-century restaurant."
"Rao's at Caesars is a perfect fit. My Aunt Anna and my Uncle Vincent , who devoted their lives to Rao's, would be thrilled to know that their legacy continues to grow. I will do everything in my power to make them proud," said Frank, Sr.
"We are delighted to bring Rao's to the heart of the Roman empire," said Frank, Jr., whose wife Carla Pellegrino will serve as consulting chef for the new Caesars Palace dining establishment.  "More than anything, Rao's is about family, and we look forward to welcoming Caesars guests into the Rao's family."
"My cousin, Frank, Jr., and I and all the family are looking forward to spending many years in Las Vegas," said Ron Straci, a New York attorney and principal in Straci & Cooper, LLP., whose wife Sharon heads the family's retail business, Rao's Specialty Foods, Inc.   "Our New York regulars already have begun to request their tables."
 In addition to the iconic Harlem restaurant, Rao's also has developed and owns a thriving and loved brand of authentic Rao's Italian sauces, roasted peppers and other products sold in supermarkets and speciality foods stores all over country. Rao's at Caesars Palace will include a retail store to merchandise these products as well as the family's Italian cookbooks.
Rao's adds to the growing list of renowned dining establishments at Caesars Palace, including Bradley Ogden (recipient of the James Beard 2004 illy Best New Restaurant award), Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and RESTAURANT GUY SAVOY, named for the acclaimed Michelin 3 Star dining palace in Paris.  RESTAURANT GUY SAVOY is scheduled to open in May 2006 in Caesars Palace's new Augustus Tower.lc
Caesars Palace
3570 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV
Toll Free Phone: (877) 427-7243
Website: www.caesars.com/caesars/lasvegas
Caesars Palace is one of the worlds best known resort-casinos. At the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, Caesars Palace features more than 3,300 hotel guest rooms and suites, 26 diverse restaurants and cafes, 4.5-acre Garden of the Gods pools and gardens, and world-class health spa and salon services. Its 4,100-seat Colosseum spotlights world-class entertainers such as Celine Dion, Elton John and Jerry Seinfeld, and sits just steps away from celebrity chef restaurants and The Forum Shops. The casino offers a wide variety of slot machines and is well-known for its high quality table game play.
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