Voltaggio Brothers Steak House at MGM National Harbor stands out for its homey touches: plush couches and books line the library bar, and black-and-white childhood photos of the local celebrity chef owners, Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, fill the menu pages. Mgm casino.
“The photos give a chance to connect with Bryan and I in a more intimate way,” chef Michael Voltaggio says.
Executives at MGM Resorts International are banking on three of the restaurant's distinctions — celebrities, local connections and intimate surroundings — to draw visitors to the rest of the 308-room casino resort, which opened on December 8 in Oxon Hill, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C.
“It’s a homecoming for Michael and me,” says chef Bryan Voltaggio, who garnered fame with his brother when they competed together on Top Chef. The Voltaggio's grew up in Frederick, Md. and spent part of their childhood in surrounding Prince George’s County. Michael lives in Los Angeles where he operates ink restaurant, and frequently visits family in Maryland, while Bryan lives in Frederick near his restaurant empire, which includes Volt, Range, Family Meal and Aggio in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
The splashy, $1.4 billion Las Vegas-style property is the state’s fifth casino but the only one (so far) with a 3,000-seat theater, which has hosted Boyz II Men, Lionel Richie and Bruno Mars since opening less than a month ago.
“We’re an entertainment company, so all the great things we’ve learned about building a theater, it’s all wrapped up into this theater,” says the resort’s general manager, Bill Boasberg.
The theater isn’t the only detail borrowed from Vegas. The flower-filled conservatory and French-style pastries at Bellagio Patisserie are reminiscent of those at the Bellagio, and the 20-foot-tall water wall near the casino entrance reflects the one at Aria Resort &, Casino. And star chefs Marcus Samuelsson and José Andrés also opened eateries inside.
“There’s a lot of great aspects of our resorts in Vegas that we brought to here,” Boasberg says.
Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker attended the opening to promote her SJP boutique, which sells dresses, purses, shoes and other accessories in the 18,000-square-foot retail district. The 125,000-square-foot casino floor features two cocktail lounges, 3,300 slot machines and 124 table games. The resort also features 50,000 square feet of meeting space, and a salon and spa with 11 treatment rooms, an outdoor pool and a fitness center.
Fine art takes center stage in the resort’s public spaces. Legendary folk artist, Bob Dylan, created his first permanent work of art for the resort, a metal sculpture called Portal at the entrance to the casino floor. Fine arts photographer Ronald Beverly’s pictures of cherry blossoms grace the lobby while Margaret Boozer’s abstract map, made from 10,000 pounds of soil excavated from the construction site, hangs above the check-in desk.
MGM executives hope that high-end art, retail, entertainment and dining will deliver a unique experience that help it stand out from the competition.
“I firmly believe people will remember how they feel,” says Alison Bybee, MGM National Harbor’s VP of food and beverage. “We’re focused on those intangibles.”
Browse the gallery above for a virtual tour of the property, and see the dining offerings below.
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