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Pala Starts Construction of $5 Million Renovation

Published: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 | 3:40 PM

Pala Casino Spa & Resort has started a $5 million construction project that will add new venues to the property and renovate several existing restaurants. It also will add a permanent outdoor stage to Pala’s popular Starlight Theatre. All elements are slated to be completed and open to the public just ahead of the Memorial Day week end. Specific opening dates will be announced.

The cornerstone will be CAVE, a new 6,000-square-foot, full-service dining experience, bar, lounge, underground wine cave and entertainment complex. CAVE will build on the success of Mama’s Cucina Italiana, the restaurant it will replace. Mama’s popular Italian Chef Luciano Cibelli and his entire staff will remain to ensure the quality of CAVE’s “Mediterranean cuisine with an Italian flair.” CAVE also will offer an extensive wine list from Napa Valley, Sonoma, France, Italy, and Australia, a wide variety of wines by the glass and a creative selection of large format bottles. The CAVE lounge also will provide an imaginative menu of craft cocktails.

The subterranean wine cave will be one of a kind and will provide a unique, elegant setting for wine enthusiasts to enjoy their favorite selection. Atop the wine cave Pala will build a permanent, outdoor concert stage which will host a diverse schedule of head line entertainers in the Starlight Theatre. The spring/summer concert series will kick-off Saturday, May 23 with Queen Nation and Zeppelin USA followed on Friday, May 29 with Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

“Chef Luciano’s new CAVE menu will offer many of the authentic Italian dishes for which Mama’s was well- known, but will add many, new, Mediterranean specialties as well,” said Bill Bembenek, Pala’s chief executive officer. CAVE’s menu will include “small bites” of Beef Tartare, Tuna Crudo, Lamb Carpaccio, Chicken Liver Cognac Pate, Bruschetta and Charcuterie selections of Cured Meats and Cheeses. Appetizers will include Chef Luciano’s family recipes for Octopus, Mussels, Clams, Escargot, Quail and Foie Gras. Cave will also offer fresh pasta dishes and salads while entrées will include Carbonara with Pancetta, Chef’s Daily Ravioli, Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu, Muscovy Duck, Luciano’s Daily Risotto, Prime Filet or Rib-Eye Steaks and daily selections of fresh fish, Shrimp and Lobster.

In conjunction with the opening of CAVE, Pala also will unveil Luis Rey’s, a new indoor-outdoor entertainment venue with a patio lounge and bar. Luis Rey’s will bring the scenic, mountain views that are unique to Pala into a comfortable, casual patio bar with live entertainment. Its menu will offer a blend of appetizers from around the U.S. and Mexico to include Pala’s famous Street Tacos, Carne Asada Nachos, Taquitos, Empanadas, Grilled Halibut Tacos, Ahi Tuna Carnitas, Ahi Tuna Poke, Oyster Shooters, Dungeness Crab Cakes, Coconut Shrimp, a selection of Sliders, Wings and Specialty Burgers, Fish and Chips, Beer or Chicken Satay, Egg Rolls, Lettuce Wraps, Fried Frog Legs and additional bar appetizers. Luis Rey’s will also feature a wide variety of local craft beers from San Diego and Mexico, craft cocktails and Tequila. Luis Rey’s guests also will enjoy live bands performing on stage during weekend evenings and holidays.

About Pala Casino Spa & Resort

Pala Casino Spa & Resort includes a Las Vegas-style casino with 2,000 slot machines, 87 table games and 13 poker tables; a 507-room hotel; a 10,000-square-foot, full-service spa and salon that features 14 treatment rooms; a state-of-the-art fitness center; swimming pool with 12 private poolside cabanas, and dual-temperature outdoor whirlpool hot tub. Pala also offers 11 restaurants and 40,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. Pala Casino Spa & Resort is an AAA Four-Diamond Award winner for 12 consecutive years. Its state-of-the-art Pala Spa was named the one of the Top 10 spas in California, one of the Top 10 in the casino industry and one of the Top 100 in North America for 2014 by Spas of America. Pala Spa also was named the number one spa on the West Coast and one of the top 100 spas in the United States for 2013 by Spas of America. Previously, Pala Spa was named the 2009 Best Casino Spa by Spas of America; the 2009 Best Casino Spa by the Southern California Gaming Guide and in 2012 received a spaAward and was selected by Spas of America as one of the top 100 spas in the United States. In 2011, Pala Casino Spa & Resort was voted Best Casino in San Diego by the public in the annual A-List poll sponsored by KGTV-TV 10 News in San Diego. For more information, visit

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