Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009 | 2:05 a.m.
The Las Vegas Strip just got a little more rock ‘n’ roll.
Hard Rock International opened its second Las Vegas location on Saturday, bringing its comfort food and rock star relics to the Strip for the first time.
Anchoring MGM Grand’s Showcase Mall, the new three-story, 42,000- square-foot cafe will be one of the company’s largest locations, second only to the Hard Rock Cafe Orlando.
Hard Rock’s Strip location features a 950-seat restaurant, a live concert venue and the world’s largest Rock Shop, complete with Hard Rock merchandise.
Hard Rock is opening with new technology to expand the reach of its extensive rock memorabilia collection.
Located in the restaurant’s lobby is the company’s trademarked, interactive Rock Wall, which allows visitors to blow up images and videos in Hard Rock’s collection to a larger-than-life size. The 18-foot wide by 4-foot tall touch screen gives users the chance to browse memorabilia at the company’s 156 venues around the world.
Inside the main dining area, each dining booth features a 19-inch touch screen, giving diners a more personal look at some of Hard Rock’s 70,000 (and counting) pieces of rock history. The screens run Hard Rock’s Memo 2.0 application, which allows users to browse memorabilia by featured artists, genre, type, decade and location.
With the application’s deep zoom feature, users can take in every scratch on John Lennon’s glasses, every knick on Jimi Hendrix’s 1956 Gibson Les Paul and every thread on Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” wedding dress. A background story is paired with every piece, giving diners a mini rock history lesson with their meal.
As planned, Hard Rock hired just more than 500 full- and part-time employees for its Strip location.
Greg Thomas, general manager of the other Las Vegas Hard Rock Cafe location, on Paradise Road next to the Hard Rock casino, will lead the staff at the new location. The Paradise Road location will remain open.