Is the Aria buffet closed permanently?

The Aria buffet, located inside the Aria Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the most popular buffet destinations in Las Vegas. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Las Vegas buffets were forced to close temporarily. This led to speculation about whether certain buffets, like the Aria buffet, would reopen after pandemic restrictions were lifted.

In the opening section of this article, we’ll provide quick answers to some key questions surrounding the current status of the Aria buffet:

Is the Aria buffet currently open? No, as of November 2022, the Aria buffet remains closed.

When did the Aria buffet close? The Aria buffet closed in March 2020 when Las Vegas resorts were forced to shut down at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Has the Aria buffet reopened at any point since initial closure? No, the Aria buffet has remained closed since its initial pandemic shutdown in March 2020.

Is there any indication if/when the Aria buffet could reopen? There have been no official announcements from Aria or MGM Resorts regarding a reopening date for the Aria buffet. Some sources speculate it could reopen in 2023 or beyond.

With the context set, we’ll now dive deeper into the history, current status, and future outlook for the popular Aria buffet in Las Vegas.

History of the Aria Buffet

The Aria Resort & Casino opened in December 2009 as part of MGM Resorts International’s CityCenter complex on the Las Vegas Strip. The resort featured several dining options including The Buffet at Aria, which offered guests a high-end, contemporary Las Vegas buffet experience.

Here are some key details on the history of the Aria buffet:

– Opened in December 2009 along with the Aria Resort & Casino

– Designed by MGM Resorts and renowned chef Matt Flanigan to offer elevated buffet dining

– Received positive reviews from travel guides and buffet aficionados after opening

– Expanded menu over the years while maintaining focus on quality ingredients and preparation

– Remained a popular spot among Las Vegas visitors for breakfast, brunch, and dinner prior to pandemic closure

The Aria buffet was known for having various food stations representing different cuisines from around the world. Some of the most popular stations included Italian, Mexican, Pan-Asian, barbecue, soups and salads. The buffet also offered rotating specials like weekday seafood dinners and weekend champagne brunches.

Overall, the Aria buffet established itself as one of the top buffet choices in Las Vegas in the decade following its opening. Its modern atmosphere, diverse food offerings, and consistency made it a favorite among visitors staying at Aria and other Strip resorts.

Accolades and Awards

During its 10+ years of operation, the Aria buffet earned positive reviews and accolades recognizing it as one of Las Vegas’ best buffet experiences:

– Named “Best Buffet” by the Las Vegas Review-Journal every year from 2010 to 2017

– Received 4 out of 5 stars from Forbes Travel Guide for several years running

– Included in “Best of Las Vegas” buffet lists by USA Today, Condé Nast Traveler, and Eater Vegas

– Lauded for quality and freshness of ingredients, variety of cuisine choices, and consistency

The Aria buffet’s reputation for having high standards set it apart from many other Las Vegas buffets and made it a go-to choice for visitors looking for good value and quality when dining on the Strip.

Dining Experience Prior to Closure

Prior to its pandemic closure in 2020, here’s what customers could expect when dining at the Aria buffet:

– Breakfast options included made-to-order omelets, breakfast meats, pastries, and breakfast cocktails

– Lunch and dinner featured a rotating selection of dishes at food stations (Italian, Asian, barbecue etc.) plus soups, salads, and desserts

– Menu changed seasonally with daily specials like fresh seafood on Fridays or champagne brunch on Sundays

– Seating in a contemporary dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows offering natural light

– Typical prices were $22-$35 per adult depending on time of visit, with discounts for children

– Received consistent positive feedback on value, variety of food, and quality of ingredients

The Aria buffet aimed to deliver an elevated buffet experience focused on quality, attention to detail, and customer service. Its diverse menus, flexibility for different meals and occasions, and consistent execution built its reputation among Las Vegas visitors.

Closure During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a heavy blow to Las Vegas buffets, including the popular Aria buffet. Here is a timeline of how pandemic closures impacted the Aria buffet:

– March 2020 – Buffets across Las Vegas ordered to close as Nevada enacts pandemic restrictions

– Summer 2020 – Some buffets reopen but Aria buffet remains closed

– March 2021 – After brief reopening, Governor Sisolak orders Las Vegas buffets to close again

– June 2021 – Capacity limits lifted but many buffets stay closed, including Aria

– Early 2022 – Pandemic conditions improve but Aria buffet still does not reopen

– November 2022 – Aria buffet still closed as most other MGM buffets have reopened

The Aria buffet has not been open for business since its initial pandemic closure in March 2020 over two and a half years ago. During that time, nearly all other Las Vegas buffets have reopened, at least on a temporary basis at some point. However, the Aria location has remained shuttered.

Challenges for Buffets During Pandemic

Las Vegas buffets faced unique challenges trying to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic:

– Restrictions on self-serve dining and difficulties enforcing distancing guidelines

– Lower visitor volumes with less demand for buffet dining

– Safety concerns around shared serving utensils and close customer interactions

– Smaller profit margins due to capacity limits and higher operating costs

– Lack of appetite from tourists for buffets with unease about contamination risks

These factors made it tricky for many Las Vegas buffets to restart operations during the pandemic, especially at a large scale. The extended closure of the Aria buffet seems to indicate concerns specific to its location and business model.

Gradual Buffet Reopenings

Most other MGM Resorts Las Vegas buffets eventually reopened on a limited basis during 2021 and 2022 as pandemic conditions improved:

– Bellagio – Reopened breakfast in 2021; full service resumed in 2022

– MGM Grand – Reopened lunch and dinner in early 2022

– Mandalay Bay – Returned summer 2022 with limited hours

– Mirage – Reopened 2022 with modified layout and fewer stations

The phased return of MGM buffets indicates they are monitoring customer demand and appetite for buffet dining. The continued Aria buffet closure suggests its reopening may require more planning and evaluation.

Current Status of Aria Buffet

So what is the current status of the Aria buffet as of November 2022? Here are the key details:

– Remains completely closed since initial pandemic shutdown

– No announcements from Aria or MGM Resorts regarding reopening plans

– Listed as “temporarily closed” on Aria’s website without indication of return

– Employees apparently told it could reopen in 2023 but no confirmation

– Other Aria restaurants have reopened but not the buffet

– Development plans for adjacent land raise questions about buffet’s future

The ongoing closure has left the Aria buffet’s status in limbo. With all signs pointing to it remaining shuttered for the time being, many are wondering if it will ever resume operations.

Customer Reactions

The continued closure of the Aria buffet has elicited disappointed reactions from customers:

– Longtime patrons eager for its reopening after enjoying it for years

– Visitors stating the Aria buffet was a major reason they stayed at the resort

– Buffet fans lamenting the loss of one of the city’s buffet favorites

– Commenters on forums speculating about the reasons for its ongoing closure

– Social media posts expressing hope it will return or requesting updates from Aria

There seems to be considerable interest in the Aria buffet reopening. However, with no replies from Aria or MGM, customers remain frustrated and in the dark.

Impact on Aria Dining Options

The indefinite closure of the Aria buffet has impacted the resort’s overall dining mix:

– Removes a high-capacity, mid-range priced dining choice from Aria’s offerings

– Puts more pressure on Aria’s other restaurants like Sage and Javier’s to serve visitor volume

– Leaves Aria without its most family-friendly, budget conscious dining option

– Creates a gap in the lineup for a more casual eatery compared to Aria’s fine dining venues

While Aria still offers multiple upscale restaurants, the lack of its buffet leaves a hole in the portfolio, especially for budget-minded visitors.

Why Hasn’t the Aria Buffet Reopened?

Given that nearly all other Las Vegas resort buffets have resumed operations, why has the Aria location remained shuttered for so long? Here are some potential explanations:

– Stricter safety protocols – Its size and layout may make safety measures harder to implement.

– Less demand – Groups and conventions drive buffet traffic, still lagging pre-pandemic levels.

– Staffing challenges – Many hospitality venues are short-staffed, especially for large operations.

– Financial reasons – Buffets operate on thin margins and may not be profitable enough currently.

– Space reuse – The resort may be re-evaluating how to utilize the buffet space going forward.

– Low priority – Focus may be on maximizing revenue from Aria’s nightclubs, pool club, and other venues first.

With numerous possibilities behind the continued pause in operations, it seems restarting the buffet is not a top priority for Aria in Las Vegas’ post-pandemic tourism recovery.

Safety Concerns

Many experts feel buffets present unique COVID-19 safety challenges that may explain Aria’s hesitancy:

– Difficult to enforce distancing with shared serving areas

– More chances for cross-contamination with numerous guests

– Customers uneasy about exposure from common utensils and food areas

– Requires extra staff for frequent cleaning and monitoring customer counts

Until tourism rebounds to pre-pandemic levels, Aria may find it too risky to reboot their buffet.

Labor Shortages

Like many Las Vegas venues, Aria appears to be grappling with labor shortages:

– Hospitality industry struggling with fewer workers post-pandemic

– Challenge of staffing a large buffet operation like Aria’s 200+ seat venue

– Would need to hire cooks, servers, managers, and cleaning staff to fully reopen

– Competing with other Strip venues also trying to fill positions

With current staff stretched thin, Aria may be putting the buffet reopening on hold until the labor pool deepens.

Reduced Visitor Demand

Groups and conventions are key traffic drivers for Las Vegas buffets. Until these fully recover, demand may be insufficient for Aria:

– Convention attendance down 27% in 2022 versus pre-pandemic

– Group meetings picking up but still trailing historical levels

– Younger demographics less likely to seek out buffet dining option

Without its core customer base back in full force, reopening the buffet may not make financial sense yet for Aria.

Potential Future of the Aria Buffet

Looking ahead, what could be next for the Aria buffet given its extended closure? Here are some possibilities that have been speculated about:

– Remains closed permanently – After years shuttered, it may not return at all

– Reopens temporarily – Could return on limited basis for weekends or special events

– Returns in revamped form – Possible redesign to address safety concerns

– Replaced by new concept – Buffet could get scrapped for different restaurant idea

– Repurposed space – Real estate may be used for convention area instead of buffet

– Moved to different location – A pared down version could open elsewhere in Aria

– Sold to other operator – Another hospitality company may buy and reopen concept

The uncertainty has left the buffet’s fate unclear. But after over two years dark, substantial changes seem inevitable if it resumes operation.

Permanent Closure?

The extended shutdown has some speculating the Aria buffet may never return:

– Normally, lengthy closures precede permanent shutdowns for restaurants

– No reservations available and website gives no hint of reopening

– Other major Vegas buffets that remain closed have indicated they are closing for good

– If not reopening by 2023, mark of 3+ years dark would signal closure

The continued silence from Aria on the buffet’s status does not provide much hope of it coming back.

Space Redevelopment

Another possibility is Aria repurposing the buffet space for a different use:

– Prime real estate within Aria could be utilized for more revenue-generating venues

– Convention or meeting areas could take over space if group business rebounds

– New upscale restaurant concept may take its place at Aria aimed at high-end diners

– Casino floor or lounges could be expanded into the vacant buffet footprint

With its central location, the buffet venue may offer more value to Aria renovated for groups or other uses rather than continuing as a buffet.

Limited Reopening Scenario

If the Aria buffet returns, it could be in scaled back form:

– May reopen on weekends only to test demand

– Could have reduced hours such as dinner-only instead of all day

– Streamlined menu with fewer stations

– Smaller venue footprint with less seating capacity

– Only certain parts of the buffet open initially (breakfast bar but not full food stations)

– Require reservations with no walk-ins allowed to limit crowd size

This type of soft opening may allow Aria to evaluate customer appetite before fully committing to reactivating the large-scale buffet operation.


The long-running closure of the Aria buffet comes as a disappointment to many visitors who enjoyed this top Las Vegas buffet over the years. While other Las Vegas resort buffets have reopened, the silence surrounding the Aria location’s status does not provide much optimism of its return in the near future.

Given the continued pause in operations, the most likely possibilities seem to be a complete shutdown, a potential repurposing of the space, or a vastly scaled back version reopening under a new operating model. With Las Vegas tourism still ramping back up after pandemic declines, the prospects for the buffet returning anytime soon in its original form unfortunately appear rather dim.

However, only Aria and MGM Resorts executives know what is truly planned for the Aria buffet venue. Fans of this beloved Las Vegas buffet can only hope that once the resort determines the time is right, some form of the Aria’s acclaimed buffet may yet rise again. But until any concrete announcements are made, visitors eager to experience its offerings once more will simply have to wait and see.

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