Last summer, the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group shook up two of its Las Vegas restaurants. First, it abruptly closed its Wolfgang Puck Players Lounge in Downtown Summerlin. Then it announced plans to close Lupo, a Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino resident for 24 years. On February 9, the Las Vegas Strip Lupo reopened as Caramá — just in time for the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Wolfgang Puck restaurant group has confirmed that a second Lupo is no longer planned for the space in Downtown Summerlin.
The transformation of Lupo into Caramá is part of what Mandalay Bay President and COO Chuck Bowling is calling the resort’s “new wave.” In the run-up to the big game, which kicks off across the street from Mandalay Bay at Allegiant Stadium at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 11, the resort has been busy clearing walkways and sprucing up its offerings, opening Michael Mina’s Orla in the space previously occupied by Fleur, debuting Retro by Voltaggio at what had been Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, reopening Mina’s award-winning Stripsteak restaurant, and launching the high-end Flanker Kitchen + Sports Bar in June.
“As part of the repositioning ahead of the Super Bowl, they asked us to re-concept Lupo and do something fresh,” Thomas Kaplan, a senior managing partner in the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, had said in July of last year. The new Caramá is a fine-dining Italian restaurant that Puck says honors his mother, Maria, a chef who lived in Austria, very near to the northern Italian border. It’s a new restaurant for the brand, and a visually striking one — its facade is located just beyond the self-parking garage, making it the first venue most guests will walk by.
The entrance is marked by a nearly 50-foot-long bar set beneath a canopy and a backdrop of mirrors and floral wallpaper. In the center of the restaurant is a Salumeria filled with meats and cheeses. And the wine cellar boasts more than 7,000 bottles of wine, including rare Italian wines. Menu highlights include a carpaccio with arugula lemon aioli, seafood salads with lobster, shrimp, mussels, and octopus, and an expansive selection of pastas. For mains, the restaurant serves a spiced pollo diavola, Florentine steak with green Tuscan sauce, and pizzas baked in the restaurant’s tiled pizza oven. A roving gelato cart brings dessert tableside.
Lupo Is Out at Downtown Summerlin
Meanwhile, Lupo Summerlin had been projected to open in fall 2023, but the building in Downtown Summerlin has seen no development for months. David Robins, a managing partner with Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, confirmed that Lupo is no longer going to open in the western Las Vegas shopping area. A spokesperson for Wolfgang cited construction and building costs.
The restaurant space that had been allocated for Lupo had previously been the Players Locker. The closure of Players Locker had been messy — with staff receiving a day-of announcement of the closure and a confusing miscommunication regarding their unpaid PTO balances. The restaurant space was supposed to get a months-long renovation to transform the casual sports-themed restaurant into Lupo, but those plans have been scrapped. It remains to be seen if Lupo will find new life elsewhere in Las Vegas.