During the dinner rush at Esther's Kitchen, near Charleston and Casino Center, diners have been hard-pressed to find a table.
"We're a 45 seat restaurant and we have like 90 reservations," owner and chef James Trees said with a smile. The eatery first opened its doors a month ago, in late Dec. Trees said since then, the downtown restaurant has exceeded all expectations.
"We've been lucky ... it's been insane," he said.
And Esther's Kitchen isn't the only new shop in the center of that insanity. Downtown Las Vegas is seeing a rise in restaurants opening their doors, with several new spots slated to open in the next few weeks.
"The dining scene in Las Vegas for the most part has always been in the hotels, I think what MGM did by starting to charge for parking ... it drives locals back to the neighborhood," Trees said with a laugh. But he added there's a lot more than makes downtown so enticing to eateries.
"One thing is how great the city has been as far as wanting restaurants down here," Trees said, noting that city officials were helpful in getting the business off the ground. "Then we also have the Newport Lofts, the Soho Lofts, The Ogden and The Juhl, which we're seeing a ton of traffic from."
Trees said overall, it's been a great environment for his restaurant to get its start.
"I couldn't have asked to open at a better time."
Some new restaurants on the way include: Eureka!, Fremont and 6th streets, opening Feb. 12 Good Pie, Pawn Plaza, opening Feb. 9 Three Sheets Bar, near Casino Center and Charleston, opening winter 2018 Flock & Fowl, inside The Ogden, grand opening Feb. 2 Jammyland, near Main and Charleston, opening Feb. 2018Copyright 2018 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.