Lynyrd Skynyrd Restaurant Opening in Las Vegas

Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer is slated to open in the Excalibur Hotel & Casino in December

Lynyrd Skynyrd Restaurant Opening in Las Vegas

A restaurant and entertainment concept based on the 1970s Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd is scheduled to open on the Las Vegas Strip later this year.

Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer is scheduled to open in the Excalibur Hotel & Casino in early December, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner and live music at night.

Multi-concept operator Drive This! Entertainment developed the restaurant.

The menu will feature barbecue from the 111-year-old Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas, which is known for its brisket and sausage.

The barbecue will be served “carvery style,” with guests moving down a service line, said Craig Gilbert, managing partner at Drive This!

Beverages will include handcrafted, freshly made cocktails, as well as a “shot menu” and specialty drinks made with Jack Daniels brand liquor, which matches the concept’s Southern barbecue theme, Gilbert said.

The average dinner check will be about $25 with beverages.

The concept is the third from Drive This!, which plans to open a fourth restaurant next to Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ, also in December, called American Burger Works, or ABX, a fast-casual burger concept with Belgian-style fries, shakes, and floats.

The group first opened Tacos & Tequila at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in 2008, a Mexican-theme concept, followed by RHUMBAR, a stylized cocktail lounge and patio with a Caribbean feel at The Mirage.

Drive This! aims to bring the Lynyrd Skynyrd concept to other cities, Gilbert said, a first for the group.

Although the band’s heyday was in the 1970s, Gilbert said the music has lived on and still appeals to younger audiences around the world, thanks in part to contemporary artists like Kid Rock, who brought back the Skynyrd classic “Sweet Home Alabama.”

“People of all ages have an affinity for their songs, which epitomize the Southern rock lifestyle,” Gilbert said. “And you still hear people in a crowd yelling out ‘Freebird.’ I don’t know if they even know what the song is, but yelling that is really popular.”

A plane crash in 1977 killed three band members, and other original members have since died over the years, but the band has continued playing with the core musicians Johnny Van Zant on vocals and Gary Rossington and Rickey Medlocke on guitar.

Gilbert said band members, who will occasionally perform at the venue, helped design the concept. The atmosphere is meant to evoke the backwoods cabin named “Hell House,” where the band wrote many songs, with walls of reclaimed barnyard wood, concrete floors, and aged brick.

“It’s the kind of place that we’d like to hang out at,” Van Zant said. “With Southern-style barbecue and great music, this will be the perfect spot for rock and barbecue fans to kick back and have a great time in Vegas.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd “relics,” such as original album covers, guitars, artwork, and photos will be on display, and the staff will be trained to perform choreographed routines and sing-alongs to the Southern rock music, Gilbert said.

Later at night, the 8,000-square-foot venue will serve as a rock club featuring music and entertainment.

Gilbert said the concept is designed for a “mid-market,” audience, what Drive This! sees as about 80 percent of the current Las Vegas tourist population.

— Lisa Jennings

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