Ellis Island Casino Proposes Rebuilding Mt. Charleston Restaurant with Hotel

Residents of Mt. Charleston, a mountain hamlet just outside Las Vegas, are reportedly opposed to the Ellis Island Casino’s plans. Those include replacing the restaurant and bar at Mt. Charleston Lodge, which burned down in 2021. At a recent meeting with the community, representatives of Ellis Island unveiled an artist’s rendering of a new restaurant and bar that adds an attached 14-room hotel.

Mt. Charleston Lodge replacement proposal
Mt. Charleston Lodge replacement proposal
An artist’s rendering of the replacement proposed by the Ellis Island Casino for its Mt. Charleston Lodge restaurant and bar, which burned down in an accidental fire last year. (Image: reviewjournal.com)

Residents interviewed by KLAS-TV said they oppose the proposal because of the extra traffic it would generate on the lone road up to the lodge – which is already unsafe during the snowy winters. They said they would fully support a plan to replace the restaurant and bar, but not to add a hotel.

The restaurant and bar, built in 1962, were housed in a wooden A-frame structure with a 20-foot loft ceiling and high windows. The structure sat up to 200 people.

A fire destroyed that building in September 2021. According to fire investigators, it started in a storage room under the patio deck. Blamed on one of several possible electrical or mechanical issues, it was ruled accidental. No one was injured.

The lodge’s 23 adjacent cabins were unaffected by the fire and have remained open.

A Favorite of Tourists and Locals

The restaurant at Mt. Charleston Lodge was destroyed by an accidental fire in September 2021. (Image: Pinterest)
The restaurant at Mt. Charleston Lodge was destroyed by an accidental fire in September 2021. (Image: Pinterest)
The building housing the restaurant and bar at Mt. Charleston Lodge was destroyed by an accidental fire in September 2021. (Image: Pinterest)

Mt. Charleston, a 40-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip, has been a favorite destination for tourists and locals for more than 100 years. Located near the top of Kyle Canyon, it’s popular in the winter, since it offers the closest ski resort to Las Vegas. It’s also popular during the scorching Las Vegas summer, since it’s always 20 degrees cooler than on the Strip.

The Ellis Island Hotel, Casino, and Brewery – located a block from the Las Vegas Strip – purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in April 2018.

For the past year, we have been working on our plans to re-establish the Mt. Charleston Lodge,” Christina Ellis, Ellis Island’s vice president of development, said in a statement. “This past week, we shared our vision, including conceptual plans and renderings with the Mt. Charleston community. We are at the initial stages of this process and we look forward to working with the community and Clark County to re-establish the Mt. Charleston Lodge.”

This summer, Ellis Island’s owners erected a tent where the Mt. Charleston Lodge’s restaurant and bar once stood, offering pop-up weekend events, such as its $95-per-plate “Pine Dining,” for up to 250 people at a time. The last event was held in October.

Fire also destroyed the first Mt. Charleston Lodge restaurant and bar in 1961, when the property was owned by the owners of the Hacienda resort. That structure, in operation since at least 1948, was built on the site of the old Griffith’s Camp, a dude ranch where people stayed to establish their Nevada residency in order to get a quickie divorce. At one point, that building was leased to the Frontier Hotel, which ran a casino out of it called The Ponderosa.

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