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Tour Blue Diamond Road’s culinary offerings

In recent years, restaurants and other businesses — let alone whole neighborhoods — have sprung up along once mostly desolate Blue Diamond Road like desert poppies after a rainy spring. But, until recently, there was virtually no public transportation available for people living on the far southwest edge of the Las Vegas Valley. If neighborhood residents didn’t have a car, or perhaps if they wanted to safely indulge in a few adult beverages nearby, they had limited options, mostly Lyft and Uber with their frequently increasing fares.

So RTC stepped into the marketplace with a technology-forward ride-share program: RTC-OnDemand.

It’s phone app-based, but instead of a huge city bus or a private SUV with disco lights pulling up to your driveway after you hail a ride, a paratransist-style, 12-person bus (ADA-compliant and complete with a bike rack) is dispatched with AI-powered alacrity to your pinpoint.

The cost? $2 a ride. The same as a bus fare.

We recently took a tour with RTC staff of the Blue Diamond food and drink scene using the service and visited a number of establishments. Fittingly for its Southwestern setting, there was plenty of delicious Mexican fare to be had at Bajamar, El Luchador Mexican Kitchen & Cantina and Sharky’s. There was also a little Italian action at Locale, plus one of the most unexpected fusion places in the Mojave: Mountain West Eatery, which serves Chicago-style soul food along with Filipino cuisine. All these establishments offer some sort of discount or bonus for using the service. And it’s not all food and drink — Jiffy Lube, Bouncy World Indoor Mega Playland & Café and a few nail lounges have also partnered with the program.

And, in Super-Vegas mode, Lion Habitat Ranch has, too, so you can visit wild critters and watch while they eat their lunches.

For more information, visit www.rtcsnv.com/rtcondemand.

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Restaurateur Elizabeth Blau and chef Kim Canteenwalla are at it again. The culinary power couple, hot off the debut of Lumin Café and word of their expansion to Nashville, Tennessee, have inked a deal to open Noble Heights restaurant in the Pinnacle Residences set to open in 2025 in Henderson. The restaurant, open to Pinnacle homeowners and the dining public, will feature views of the Strip; ingredients from ocean, farm and ranch; and room service (OK, on-demand in-suite delivery) to the chi-chi residences.

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It’s been a monumental year for Piero’s Italian Cuisine, 355 Convention Center Drive. The vintage Vegas restaurant celebrated its 40th anniversary in March. Now, it’s expanding its dinner service to six nights a week by adding Mondays starting this week. As a bonus, this means Monkey Bar gets an extra night to shine.

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Good news! On May 29, Circa will debut Rosé Garden. On the last Sunday of every month through August, it will feature bottomless rosé glasses for ladies from noon to 4 p.m. Furious matches of pink pong — a wine-filled version of beer pong — are planned. Bring your A-game.

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Get your tickets soon for the ongoing Somm Sundays series at Ada’s Wine Bar. Looking to June 5, wine wizard Charles Butler will pair varietals with dishes from Jackson Stamper, chef de cuisine.

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Sahara Las Vegas recently named Juan Villa as its executive chef. Villa, a native Nevadan from West Wendover, got his start nearly 20 years ago after graduating from culinary school in Portland, Oregon. His previous Las Vegas gigs include the Westin (executive chef), SLS Las Vegas (executive sous chef) and the Tropicana (executive chef of Beach Café). Kudos, chef!

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In the kudos zone, chef Brian Howard’s Sparrow + Wolf marked its fifth anniversary last week. It was certainly a gamble to open, but the avant-garde yet approachable eatery has become an essential element of Las Vegas culinary culture. Chicken sandwich fans await the imminent opening of Howard’s Half Bird casual eatery just down the street.

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The founders of Las Vegas’ much-lauded Naked City Pizza are Buffalonians, and through Monday, they are offering a special to benefit the Buffalo Community Fridge in response to the New York city’s recent tragedy. Dishes include lobster rolls, steamer clams and clams casino.

On the Side runs in Sunday’s Taste section. Email tips, questions or feedback to ontheside@reviewjournal.com.

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