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By Shawn Tempesta

When I moved to Las Vegas in 2006, I fell in love. The city has nearly everything I could want. 24-hour grocery stores and restaurants scattered everywhere. Low cost of living. A martini-drinking mayor. It was a dream!

Yet, for many in the valley there were always “buts”. “But we need an IKEA.”  “I wish we had Cracker Barrel.”  “We need Dunkin Donuts!”  “Why is Dave & Busters not here?!”

The past couple years have spelled the end of many of Vegas’ needs! Let’s take a look at the what and when…

Credit: IKEA USA

Credit: IKEA USA


For years, Las Vegans had dreams of Swedish Meatballs and MALM bed frames. Yet the nearest IKEA was 4 hours away in West Covina, California (I know because I’ve made too many trips to count).

What’s worse, shipments to their Salt Lake City location were driven through Las Vegas, and rumors circulated that IKEA wouldn’t build here because of a lack of college educated residents. (A rumor an IKEA rep squashed for me last year).

Then, last year, SUCCESS! IKEA announced a location at South Durango/215, and it opens in mid-May! #RIPDurango215Exit

Credit: White Castle

Credit: White Castle

White Castle

Ever since Harold & Kumar went to White Castle, Las Vegas yearned for the teeny burgers that seemed to favor the east coast.

Last year, they finally opened – albeit on the strip. While we are waiting for a locals location, we know the first place we stop when tourists visit town. Delicious morsels of meaty goodness… yum.

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Dave & Busters

Las Vegas has Gameworks at Town Square, but in the several years between it’s departure from the strip and it’s new home, Las Vegans were puzzled as to why we still don’t have a Dave & Busters.

Worry no more. Downtown Summerlin gets the arcade/sports bar on steroids later this year, directly across from Regal Theaters. Skeeball and chill?

Photo Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Photo Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images


“They’ll never build here. They hate Las Vegas because we are ‘Sin City'”. That was the common refrain whenever seemingly anyone would talk about the chicken joint. Which is a ridiculous statement considering Las Vegas has the most churches per capita in the country… but alas.

Our prayers were answered late last year with multiple locations set to open in the coming months. We will Eat-Mor-Chikin every day, except Sunday of course.

Credit: AEG/MGM

Credit: AEG/MGM

A State Of The Art Arena

We love our Thomas & Mack. We love our multiple strip arenas. However, looking at major cities surrounding us, you couldn’t help but get envious. Huge, state of the art facilities. Massive HD screens. Sick suites.

Well – it’s finally here. The T-Mobile Arena opens in less than a month. I just took a tour of the construction this week, and this think looks sweet. Now other cities will look at us with jealous eyes.

The Rest… and What’s Next?

Cracker Barrel, water parks (we got TWO of them!), and even Mountain’s Edge is finally getting a grocery store of their own this summer. So… what else do we “need”? The list is shrinking…but there are some biggies.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

WE NEED… A Pro Sports Team

The linchpin to many a major city is a cause to rally around… and we love UNLV. But we long for the “big leagues”.

NHL Hockey is so close we can taste it, with a solid showing in Vegas Wants Hockey’s season ticket deposit program. The 2017-2018 season could spell the beginning of Pro Sports in Las Vegas.

The T-Mobile Arena is building their dressing rooms to NBA specs, which will make an NBA team appearing in Vegas even more likely as well (despite one bad weekend during the All-Star game, which was, lets face it, tourist stupidity).

Even the NFL’s Oakland Raiders teased the idea of possibly heading to Las Vegas to set up shop in the stadium being proposed by Las Vegas Sands. Although they never bit, and the city has heartburn at the estimated $780 million dollars in public funding it would take to build the joint.

Major League Baseball? It’s the least likely to set up shop here. 81 home games a year. 40,000+ seats. It’s difficult for cities like Tampa Bay and Cleveland to fill their stadiums to half-capacity on a regular basis, and they have minor markets within driving distance! We have Pahrump. (We love you Pahrump). It’ll be a while until they come knocking.

(Credit: GettyImages)

(Credit: GettyImages)

WE NEED… A Better School System

This is not a condemnation of the valley’s teachers. They do an incredible job considering the lack of funding they face. This is a reality. Year after year, Nevada ranks dead last (or incredibly close) in education, a sin with such a large tax base coming from one street – nevermind the whole valley.

The Clark County School District is the fifth-largest in the country, and it’s perhaps not a great thing. Governor Sandoval signed a bill to break up CCSD into several smaller districts (as cities with many suburbs tend to do). Smaller class sizes, a less transient workforce, and a community that puts education at a priority are all long over-due and will turn a great city into a world-class city. The ability to diversify from a mainly gaming-based economy to a richer, wider gamut will only benefit the city.

WE NEED… To Keep Free Parking

#MicDrop #FreeParking

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Vegas has been incredible at conserving water through the years. Population boomed, yet the SNWA’s efforts kept the increase in water usage minimal. Yet, with Lake Mead in our own backyard, we forget that we don’t see most of it. The Colorado River Compact signed back in the 20’s divvied up the water usage in the river, and therefore Lake Mead – and we see only a sliver. 4% of the water, compared to nearly 60% going to California and the rest going to Arizona.

Which seems unfair, considering just California’s alfalfa crop uses as much water as Cali’s entire Lake Mead allotment, and 17 times as much water as Nevada gets from Lake Mead. Alfalfa. Never liked him in The Little Rascals. Don’t like it now.

And yet…

With all that we “need”, we are incredibly fortunate to live in an amazing city like Las Vegas. Low cost of living, always exciting, and growing before our very eyes. Here’s to the future…


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