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November 25, 2014

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Michael Mina: From fine-dining Seablue to casual Pub 1842 at MGM Grand

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MGM Resorts International

Michael Mina Pub 1842 in MGM Grand.

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Michael Mina.

Michael Mina's New Pub 1982

Michael Mina, left,  with Brad Garrett, right, at the opening celebration of Mina's new Pub 1982 at MGM Grand, Monday, June 17, 2013. Launch slideshow »

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Bon Appetit hosts the 7th annual Vegas Uncork'd on Saturday, May 11, 2013, in Las Vegas. (David Becker for Bon Appetit) Launch slideshow »

Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach is in London before his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — plus, the Amalfi Coast this year — many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue with celebrity chef Michael Mina, who has partnered with our hometown tennis champion Andre Agassi in several hot-and-happening, hit Las Vegas restaurants.

Hello, all. This is Michael Mina, owner and managing chef of Michael Mina Bellagio, Stripsteak, American Fish and my newest venture, Pub 1842 at MGM Grand. Many people have asked me about my decision to move from fine dining to a casual gastropub concept, and I’d love to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about the process.

The culinary climate has recently been shifting toward more approachable comfort cuisine, and I wanted to respond to the desires of our guests as well as the fans we hope to attract by providing a fresh concept they can enjoy in a casual and fun atmosphere. The venue we have at MGM Grand was formerly one of my fine-dining restaurants, Seablue, which I had a lot of fun with for nearly 10 years. The space is located in the District between the main casino floor and the pool, which makes it a prime spot for a casual-dining restaurant.

This inspired me to make a change and give our guests what they want. Many are surprised to hear that the process behind creating this was actually quite similar to that of my fine-dining establishments. My team and I spent countless hours deciding every detail of the food and beverage menus as well as the restaurant design to make sure people feel good when they come to Pub 1842.

I want Pub 1842 to be a great party place that allows people to kick up their heels, loosen their ties and relax while savoring great cocktails, beers and delicious food. Everything from the decor to the TVs, bar games and music provides guests with that warm, inviting and enjoyable experience.

As for the menu, my goal is to create food that everybody wants to eat and crave after they leave, so I decided to put my spin on one of the most relatable cuisines around: classic pub fare. To take typical pub food to the next level, I put an emphasis on bold flavors with my own sensibilities.

For example, the Chinese pork chop salad is my twist on the typical chop, substituting smoked pork butt and chicharrones. The menu offers great variety where diners can find everything from snacks and small bites to hamburgers and hearty salads. I truly believe Pub 1842 has something for everyone.

The food scene in the United States has a natural ebb and flow to it, through which any great chef or restaurateur can navigate. I am fortunate that my company has a good variety of restaurant offerings that appeals to all ends of this spectrum. Creating fun, casual concepts is always a great way to connect with people, and it allows us to expand our reach and welcome more guests each day. The satisfaction of all of our patrons, whether in our fine-dining or casual concepts, will always reign supreme.

I hope you’ll join us soon at PUB 1842 for some great food, a few drinks and a round of ping, pang, pong!

Check out our other guest columns today from music man Louis Prima Jr. and Bettie Page fashion designer Tatyana, who is sewing her way to a worldwide franchise from her Las Vegas headquarters. On Thursday, it's Mirage headliner Terry Fator, “Bar Rescue” star Jon Taffer and the inside story about our Las Vegas wedding industry.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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