Joe Downtown: Food court’s success raising hopes for Neonopolis’ owner

Maybe this time Rohit Joshi has a Neonopolis hit on his hands.

Neonopolis, long maligned because of the numerous businesses there that have started then folded, saw its newest tenant, the International Eatery, packed Thursday afternoon. Outlets for Italian, Asian and Mexican cuisine served lines of people who filled tables in space that was formerly occupied by Luna Rossa Italian restaurant.

“I think this is what we need,” said Joshi, who was with Mayor Carolyn Goodman, a representative from U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s office and others for the food court’s grand opening.

Joshi bought the building, built more than a decade ago to spark downtown redevelopment, eight years ago. He pointed to the food court prices for some of the main course and side dishes – rice & beans, $3.15; cheese pizza slice, $2.99; hamburger, $4.99 ($7.99 with fries and drink); a three-entree Asian platter, $7.99; two entree platter for $6.99.

“Price point and value,” he said. “This is downtown. Price point is important.”

Beaming, Joshi added, “It’s been this busy since it opened.”

With its main entry at the intersection of Fremont and 4th streets, Neonopolis is visible to thousands of tourists at the Fremont Street Experience, but businesses there have had a difficult time gaining a lasting foothold.

Goodman turned to Joshi: “You’ve got a winner,” she said.

“Don’t stop,” he told those at the ceremony. “Keep eating!”

Joshi said he is expecting to expand the food court concept in his building.

“This is only the beginning,” he added.

The food court is the product of the same company that operates Sugar Factory and Rice & Company on the Strip.

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