Burgers and brews: Whopper Bar opens at the Rio

The exterior of the Burger King Whopper Bar is seen Friday, April 8, 2011 in the Rio.

Burger King Whopper Bar

A California Whopper is assembled during the opening of the Burger King Whopper Bar Friday, April 8, 2011 in the Rio. Launch slideshow »

Whopper Bar

Whopper Bar

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KSNV coverage of Whopper Bar at the Rio, April 9, 2011.

Map of BK Whopper Bar

BK Whopper Bar

3700 W. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas

If there is anything that could match the number of casinos in Las Vegas, it’s the number of fast food restaurants.

McDonald’s and Burger King operate a combined total of more than 80 restaurants in the Las Vegas Valley, with smaller brands scattered in between. Las Vegas probably needs another fast food restaurant as much overweight Americans need their high-calorie offerings.

But Burger King’s new Whopper Bar at the Rio puts a different spin on its traditional offerings, serving up burgers and booze 24 hours a day, a seemingly perfect fit for Las Vegas.

The Rio location, which celebrated its grand opening Friday, is the company’s first Whopper Bar in the western market. Burger King currently has other Whopper Bar locations in Orlando, Miami, Memphis, Kansas City, New York, Singapore, Spain and Venezuela.

“When we are opening these locations, we are looking at high-profile, unique areas that can reach a wide variety of consumers. Las Vegas is a really great example, because it has millions of tourists who come through the city each year. It’s an opportunity to showcase the restaurant to people from all over the world,” Robert Burns, manager of field brand activation for Burger King, said.

The restaurant offers what the company calls “premium burgers” with more than 22 toppings such as guacamole, bleu cheese and grilled onions. Diners can either build their own sandwich or choose from pre-built ones like the “black and bleu burger” or the “California Whopper.”

Want fries and a Miller Lite with your sandwich? That’s $2.99 extra for a total of about $8 on average for a meal.

The sandwiches are made right in front of guests by “Whopperistas,” instead of in the back kitchen like most of the company’s standard restaurants, taking some of the mystery out what goes into a fast-food burger.

The new restaurant is in the Masquerade Village shopping area at the Rio. Because of a lack of a food court at the resort, the Rio has few quick options for guests, except for a Starbucks and a deli. The addition of the Whopper Bar helps solve that.

“Fast casual really seems to be a growing segment, and we don’t have a whole lot of that at the Rio. We get a big retail crowd in this area. We feel like this rounds out our offerings,” Rio Assistant General Manager Jeff Solomon said.

Solomon said the Whopper Bar has already proven a hit with the resort’s club crowd, with clubgoers arriving about 3 a.m. Luckily, the restaurant serves sandwiches and beers around the clock.

“Their sweet spot customer is our sweet spot customer. It’s the 20- to 30-somethings that want something quick,” said David Mitchell, who owns the Whopper Bar and 24 other Burger Kings in Las Vegas.

Designed with a gray and red color scheme, the restaurant has more of a contemporary feel that resonates with young customers. Instead of booths, the restaurant has bar-height tables.

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  1. A Whopper with Bleu Cheese, Guacamole, and a beer!
    I don't even drink, but i like this idea, it does bring a new meaning to the old slogan: "Have it YOUR way".
    Shoold be a hit for sure, and a casino location assures that the crowd will be an adult crowd, so underage drinking shouldn't be a problem. Truly genious marketing. Sounds like their pricing will work too, a few bucks higher than traditional burgers and fries, but definitely in the reasonable range for what you're getting. That same $8 will barely buy a beer at strip casinos.
    I'll pass on the beer, but I'll try the bleu cheese whopper next time I'm in the neighborhood!
    The late night hours are great marketing too, even in late night friendly Las Vegas, there's not a lot to choose from if you'r e a late eater.
    Something tells me the others will follow.