Half bar and half restaurant, Rock & Rita’s is all fun
By Brock Radke
Photos by Sam Morris
If you’re sipping a cocktail of Blue Curaçao, rum, vodka and gin from a souvenir glass shaped like a toilet bowl, and deciding whether to order a Philly cheese hot dog or a burger called the Ulcerator, then you’ve found it. It’s called fun, and it’s probably why you’re here. And where you are is Rock & Rita’s, described as the Great American Party Bar, located in Circus Circus.
The bars are always on fire here, populated by flying bottles of booze and a world-famous, award-winning crew of flair bartenders. And don’t worry, you don’t have to order one of the signature toilet bowl cocktails. Choose the namesake Rockin’ Rita, a tasty blend of Sauza tequila, orange liqueur and fresh fruit juices, in your favorite flavors of strawberry, banana, mango, melon, peach or blue. Wait, is blue a flavor? Rules are broken at Rock & Rita’s, and nobody cares. It’s called fun, remember?
The menu is all fun, a cavalcade of bar food staples and classic American favorites. That Philly dog may sound interesting, but the traditional Philly cheesesteak sandwich is a beauty, with an authentic Amoroso Italian roll. If you really want a wild wiener, experience the Junkyard Dog, a quarter-pound beef link with so many extra toppings, the kitchen uses a submarine roll to hold it all. There’s ham, bacon, crispy onions, jalapeños and a blend of melty cheeses on this beast. Of course, the dangerous masterpiece on this menu is the Ulcerator, a 10-ounce Cajun-spiced burger with smoked ham, jalapeños, mozzarella and provolone cheeses and a spicy-sweet sauce.
You might think there are no refined offerings to be had in a restaurant with a flaming bus and murals of Mexican lucha libre wrestling masks. But that’s part of having fun, too. The steak salad boasts a perfectly grilled flat iron on fresh greens, roasted red peppers, toasted pecans and blue cheese crumbles. Cajun chicken penne is spicy and creamy, and the ribeye is 16 ounces of tender, juicy beef with those same zesty Cajun seasonings, served with a mountain of irresistible cream cheese-and-chive mashed potatoes.
One of the newest additions to the menu is the fiery Bang Bang Shrimp, tender little sea morsels dusted in spices, fried to a light crisp and served in a creamy sauce, creating a wild variation of flavors. The shrimp come as an appetizer or as an entrée over rice with smoked bacon and sauteed vegetables. Despite the powerful flavors, it’s one of the lighter appetizers on the menu. Rock & Rita’s also serves up some mean chicken wings, sliders and soft pretzels to start your meal. And to finish it, select a classic milkshake alongside some truly nostalgic desserts; there are deep-fried Twinkies with strawberry sauce—really the only way you could improve on your favorite childhood treat—and a homemade version of a Moon Pie with sticky, sweet marshmallow filling. If that’s not enough fun, maybe an ice cream waffle with caramel and whipped cream will do the trick, or a Krispy Kreme doughnut ice cream sandwich.
7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; bar open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. 702.691.5991