Ep. 43 – Aquarius Wilkinson, Plaza Host

What is a casino host? We’ve discussed it in the past, and interviewed one of the most famous hosts in Las Vegas.

Now we get “up close and Plaza” with our newest host, Aquarius Wilkinson. He shares the path he took to hosting – and to the Plaza.

Aquarius also talks about his work week, his joy in dealing with Plaza guests, and how he prefers the Plaza to a higher-end property on The Strip.

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 41 – Paul Ryu, Food Influencer

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Paul Ryu’s body of work is reaching to infinity and beyond. He’s the guy behind RyuSauce, and can rightly claim the title of “food influencer.”

As head of the social media company JMPforce, Paul and his team help restaurants up their social media and digital marketing games.

But his personal story about coming to America alone at age 13 will grab you — much like his photos and videos of the finest food in Las Vegas!

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 40 – The Return of Vital Vegas!

Thirty episodes after his first appearance, Scott Roeben is back! The man behind the Vital Vegas blog shares some of his strong opinions about the region’s post-Covid resurgence.

Scott and Jonathan also take a deep dive into the history of Plaza’s fractious relationship with the Fremont Street Experience – especially regarding construction of “Slotzilla,” the zipline that terminates right on the corner of Main St.

Rated ‘S’ for Strong Opinions!

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 39 – Fred Mossler, Downtown Visionary

Tony Hsieh wouldn’t join a startup company called Shoesite unless Fred Mossler came along. Fred Mossler said he wouldn’t sign on until Tony Hsieh did.

Despite barely knowing each other, both said yes, and both turned Shoesite into Zappos — and helped turn downtown Las Vegas into what it is today.

Fred was also a co-founder of The Downtown Project and owns Nacho Daddy. Fred shares stories from those early days, and says downtown’s progress is just beginning.

But he won’t reveal the source of the key ingredient in Nacho Daddy’s signature Scorpion Shots!

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed


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Ep. 38 – Larry Ruvo, Las Vegas Treasure

Running the region’s largest distributor of wine and spirits inevitably makes Larry Ruvo a player in Las Vegas. But Larry never rested on his wealth. After his father died from Alzheimer’s Disease (which had been mis-diagnosed), Larry decided to do something about it.

That “something” is the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, a world-class research facility in downtown Las Vegas. In this very special episode, Larry tells that story — including how he talked superstar architect Frank Geary into designing the Center’s unique headquarters.

Larry also recounts coming to Las Vegas as a child, growing up here, and working in his parents’ restaurant, The Venetian. And he tells the REAL story about how that name went from a family restaurant to one of the most famous hotel-casinos in the world. 

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed


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Ep. 37 – Louie Anderson, Comic Legend

He’s an Emmy winner, a veteran of more than 40 years making people laugh, and the former resident comic at the Plaza. He is comic legend Louie Anderson! Louie talks about how much he loved playing Plaza’s showroom and how he coped with the past year. And he drops a few hints about his future projects.

Also: Jonathan, Lisa and Gary remember March 18th, 2020 – the day that Plaza and every other hotel/casino in Nevada shut down. 

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 36 – Anthony Curtis, The Vegas Advisor

What’s it like to make your living playing cards? Anthony Curtis did it for nearly two decades.

Along the way, he became a publisher of gaming-centric books and a collector of great deals and value in Las Vegas. He shares stories of both counting cards and diving into discounts in this packed episode.

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 35 – Paul Devitt, Fremont East Pioneer

In the early 2000s, nobody was going to East Fremont St. But veteran New York hospitality executive Paul Devitt saw something there and decided to become the area’s nightlife pioneer.

Devitt opened Beauty Bar, a Vegas version of his successful New York bar and music venue. Other bars followed, inspired by Beauty Bar’s success.

While Beauty Bar is gone, Devitt is looking for new Las Vegas opportunities. Which brought him to town. Which inspired Jonathan to invite him on the podcast to talk about those wild early days of East Fremont.

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 34 – John Curtas, Food Critic

Lawyer, by day, foodie by night. And morning. And afternoon. And pretty much every waking hour. John Curtas has been blogging about the Las Vegas food scene before most people knew there WAS a food scene!

John shares his thoughts about how downtown has improved, details his most memorable Vegas meal ever, and is not so kind when discussing how covering the food scene has now devolved into “influencers” looking for free meals and advertising.

Bonus: John makes up for his not-so-complementary review of Oscar’s 11 years ago by proclaiming it now has the best hamburger in Las Vegas.

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed


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Ep. 33 – Oliver Lovat, Vegas Expert

Why does one casino property flourish while the one next door flounder? That’s one of the many subjects that Oliver Lovat has tackled in more than two decades of research into the business of Las Vegas and its unique real estate market.

Along the way he’s also become a Vegas historian and expert in how it all gets done. Oliver also shares some insights from his latest project: a deep dive into the history of The Plaza!

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Gary Vickery, Lisa Melmed


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Ep. 32 – Steve Cyr, Vegas Superhost

For more than 30 years, Steve Cyr has defined and re-defined the job of Las Vegas casino host. He’s still at it, taking high rollers and ‘whales’ on gaming adventures around the world.

He shares how his plan to finish his degree at UNLV then manage the family motel in Salina, Kansas was suddenly derailed by meeting casino legend Michael Gaughan. From there, Steve took casino hosting to levels never considered by the old generation. And he looks ahead to what’s coming in a career and life that are far from over.

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Gary Vickery, Lisa Melmed


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Ep. 31 – Frankie Scinta, The Showman

Jonathan and Gary spend a fast-paced 40 minutes with Vegas icon Frankie Scinta (pronounced SHIN-tuh), who’s been performing since childhood. For nearly 20 years, Frankie’s been headlining rooms from the Rio to the Sahara… to The Plaza.

Frankie shares great stories from those wild times, gets serious about losing his brother and dealing with the Covid shutdown — and caps it off with a performance on the spoons!

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Gary Vickery, Lisa Melmed


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Ep. 30 – Jason Strauss, Tao Group

It may be a party every night in Las Vegas, but making those parties happen is hard work for Jason Strauss, one of the Managing Partners of Tao Group Hospitality.

Jason shares his journey from organizing a party for fellow high school seniors in New York to running one of the most successful hospitality companies in the country. 

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 29 – Michael Parks

Wanna buy a casino? Do you have one to sell? If so, Michael Parks is your guy. He’s put together some of the biggest casino deals in Las Vegas, Reno and beyond. Michael takes a deep dive into the complex, intriguing world of gaming properties — including the sale of The Las Vegas Club. 

Also, Jonathan shares some thoughts about Vegas legend Sheldon Adelson, who died earlier this month. 

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 27 – Ross Mollison, Spiegelworld

The “Empresario Extraordinaire” of Las Vegas, Ross Mollison, joins Jonathan, Lisa and Gary. Actually, Ross is the founder of Spiegelworld, the company that brings us “Absinthe,” “Opium” and “Atomic Saloon,” three of the biggest shows on The Strip.

Checking in from New York, Ross updates the status of the shows during the Covid closures. He and Jonathan share stories of ideas that never happened, and ideas that could still happen!

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 26 – Brett Lashbrook, Las Vegas Lights F.C.

The man who brought professional soccer to Las Vegas joins Jonathan and Lisa to talk about the journey. Brett Lashbrook, owner and GM of Las Vegas Lights F.C., explains how bringing the world’s most popular sport to the world’s entertainment capital was a “no brainer.”

He also discusses the various proposals for upgrading the Lights’ venue, and whether Las Vegas will ever have an MLS team.

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed


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Ep. 24 – Mary Myers & Memories of The Las Vegas Club

Plaza slots manager Mary Myers joints Jonathan, Lisa and Gary to talk about her job — and her past jobs at The Las Vegas Club, the old joint across Main St. from the Plaza. The Las Vegas Club closed three years ago to make room for Circa, which just opened.

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 22 – Rob McCoy, The Neon Museum

Neon Museum CEO Rob McCoy shares stories about the organization dedicated to preserving the beautiful, iconic, striking neon signs that have defined Las Vegas for decades. McCoy explains how the museum came to be, how it continues to grow – and how other neon museums have sprung up with several other cities.

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 21 – Doug Stanhope

Live from his home in Bisbee, Arizona, The Plaza’s favorite standup comedian, Doug Stanhope, joins Jonathan, Lisa and Gary. Doug played a sold-out Plaza showroom on New Year’s Eve, and we’re all ready to have him back as soon as possible. Gary finally gets an answer about why so many bibles went missing during Doug’s stay.

He reveals the history of his wacky 70s vintage performance wardrobe. And Doug tells the tale of his first job in Las Vegas — and who personally fired him. (Hint: If you live in Nevada, you may have voted for him) And, Doug being Doug, this episode is rated “E” for Explicit. 

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 20 – Myron Martin

Jonathan and Lisa talk to Myron Martin, the man who brought a world-class performing arts center to Las Vegas. Myron recounts how he came to Las Vegas to work for Liberace, how he inadvertently insulted the fledgling arts community – and how that comment put him square in the middle of the two-decade effort to build what’s known as The Smith Center. 

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed


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Ep. 19 – Dr. David Schwartz

Jonathan and Gary take a deep dive into Las Vegas history with Dr. David Schwartz of UNLV, who’s focused most of his academic career on the history and psychology of gaming. Dave shares stories from his new book “At the Sands,” including those weeks in the winter of 1960 when The Rat Pack performed by night and shot “Ocean’s Eleven” by day.

There’s also the tale of Carl Cohen – the Sands executive who was regarded as a great boss, but who’s infamous as the man who slugged Frank Sinatra!  


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Ep. 18 – James Trees, Esther’s Kitchen

Just a short ride from The Plaza is Esther’s Kitchen, in the heart of the Arts District. Among the funky bars and eclectic shops, owner/chef James Trees brings 20 years of fine dining experience to the table for his take on seasonal Italian cuisine.

The Las Vegas native, who worked in some of the best kitchens in the world before coming home, shares his journey with Jonathan, Lisa and Gary — including the tale of being suddenly deported from England! 


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Ep. 17 – Brian Christopher, YouTube Slots

Brian Christopher is the host/founder/genius behind BC Slots, the YouTube channel that has millions of people watching Brian… play slot machines. In his visit with Jonathan, Lisa and Gary, Brian says he’s as surprised as anyone that he’s able to make a nice living producing videos of him at slot machines all over the country: sometimes winning, sometimes losing. Brian’s grown that simple concept into a huge community that includes weekend gatherings, ‘group pulls’ and supporting charity. 

Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 16 – Ryan Growney, Our Neighbor to the South (Point)

Jonathan and Lisa confess their love for all things South Point, the huge hotel, casino, bowling, movie, rodeo, restaurant, sportsbook, and showroom complex at the very south end of Las Vegas Blvd.

South Point General Manager Ryan Growney, Las Vegas born and bred, shares his journey – which includes Georgetown University (and the late, great John Thompson), the Gaughan family, mergers, moves, doing every job from the front desk to the horse stalls, and now a decade as the property’s GM. It’s a fascinating, fast-moving tale – and our best episode yet! 

Hosted by: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed


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Ep. 15 – Kelly Fairchild, Las Vegas Walking Tours

Jonathan, Gary and Lisa get the lowdown on Fremont St. from the man who knows all: Kelly Fairchild, owner of Las Vegas Walking Tours. Every day, Kelly begins his tour at the Plaza, then takes people on a two-hour guided walk tour that concludes at The Container Park at 7th & Fremont.

In this episode, Kelly shares some local history, how he came to Las Vegas and why the tour begins at the Plaza. There’s even a ghost story!

Hosted by: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Gary Vickery


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Ep. 14 – Flavor Flav!

Jonathan and Lisa welcome music legend, Las Vegas resident and good friend of the Plaza, Flavor Flav! He talks about new projects, coping with Covid-19, and where he got his stage name.

He also takes a call from a friend and samples Plaza’s famous Pop-Up Pizza – both New York and Detroit style. And yes, this is Flavor Flav, so this show is rated ‘E’ for EXPLICIT. 

Hosted by: Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed


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Ep. 13 – Jonathan Ullman, The Mob Museum

The gang hears great gangster stories from Jonathan Ullman, President & CEO of The Mob Museum – aka The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. The museum professional says he knew nothing about the mob before coming to Las Vegas a decade ago. Since then, he’s lead the team that’s made the Mob Museum into one of the most popular attractions in Las Vegas. 

Hosted by: Lisa Melmed

Co-Hosts: Jonathan Jossel and Gary Vickery 


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Ep. 12 – Esme Gonzalez, Queen of the Casino

Plaza’s Director of Casino Marketing, Esme Gonzalez, joins the gang to share stories from her career — from being a bad**s overnight front desk manager to running the ‘Plaza Rewards’ program and the property’s casino hosts.

Along the way: some very memorable promotions – for very different reasons! 

Hosted by: Lisa Melmed

Co-Hosts: Jonathan Jossel, Gary Vickery and Russell Aaron


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Ep. 11 – Derek Stevens and big changes downtown!

Derek Stevens, owner of The D and Golden Gate, shares how a successful Detroit auto parts manufacturer turned his love for Las Vegas into owning two casinos.

Derek and Jonathan Jossel also discuss what’s happening right across Main Street: Circa, the most ambitious project that downtown has ever seen.

Hosted by: Lisa Melmed

Co-Hosts: Jonathan Jossel


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Ep. 10 – Vital Vegas, lover of all things Las Vegas

Scott Roeben, the man behind one of the top Las Vegas blogs, Vital Vegas, is our guest for an extensive conversation about the joys of Downtown, the history of the blog (and Scott), and his hopes for the entire area when it comes to recovering from the shutdown. 

Hosted by: Lisa Melmed

Co-Hosts: Jonathan Jossel and Gary Vickery 


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Ep. 7 – Joe Asher

We welcome the CEO of William Hill US, Joe Asher.

William Hill is the largest sports book operator in the country, and is our sports book partner at Plaza. 

Joe and Jonathan Jossel talk about the history of Plaza sports books, and Hill’s efforts to become a presence in states that have legalized sports betting. 

Hosted by: Lisa Melmed

Co-Hosts: Jonathan JosselRussell Aaron, Gary Vickery 

 


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Ep. 6 – Shut It Down!

What’s it take to close a building that never closes?

Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel takes a deeper dive into the final hours before we shut our doors on March 17th. Lisa Melmed shares the challenge of helping check every single room at closing.

And Jonathan answers more email and social media questions, as he, Lisa and Russell Aaron record a second episode from their homes. 

Hosted by: Lisa Melmed

Co-Hosts: Jonathan Jossel and Gary Vickery 


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Ep. 5 – We’re Back… Sort Of

Jonathan, Lisa and Gary have connected from their homes for this episode. They share how they’re coping these days, and what’s happening at the Plaza during the closure.

Jonathan also talks about the 2011 shutdown in which the property underwent a major upgrade. And he tells tales about two floods that hit the Plaza. 

Hosted by: Lisa Melmed

Co-Hosts: Jonathan Jossel and Gary Vickery 


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Ep. 4 – Oscar B. Goodman.

Oscar B. Goodman needs no introduction. He is responsible for making downtown Las Vegas what it is today. More importantly he was the Mayor of Las Vegas and a former lawyer for organized crime.

On this episode of the podcast, Oscar shares stories of moving to Las Vegas, representing individuals who were reputedly involved with organized crime, and details about the case of the century.

Hosted by Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Russell Aaron, Gary Vickery.


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Ep. 3 – Well done… Weldon.

Weldon Russell. The godfather of Bingo. Vietnam Veteran. Weldon came to Vegas when he was 14 years old. He has worked along side Steve Wynn, Jackie Gaughan and Jonathan Jossel. Weldon helped introduce Keno to Australia, where he lived for 15 years. His knowledge about the game is unrivaled.

Hosted by Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed, Russell Aaron, Gary Vickery.


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Ep. 2 – A young guy making downtown better.

Downtown Las Vegas, 2005. Sam Cherry, developer and head of the City of Las Vegas Planning Commission, sets his sights on building a high rise building in Downtown Las Vegas. Sam shares his story of building Soho Lofts. He also shares his story of the first time meeting Former Mayor Oscar Goodman. It’s a good one.

Hosted by Jonathan Jossel, Lisa Melmed and Gary Vickery


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