By VERNON ROBISON
It will be a tough act to follow, but famous Las Vegas illusionist Criss Angel feels up to the challenge.
This week, Sugar’s Homeplate restaurant is closing its doors after being a beloved mainstay in downtown Overton for more than 30 years. But over a period of about six weeks, a transformation will take place on that property which promises to be almost magical.
“We will start the transformation on May 19,” Angel said in an interview last week. “We have some big plans. But it is all really just keeping the charm of Sugar’s, while bringing it into 2021 – and with a purpose to try and be a positive force in the community to help others.”
The new restaurant will be called CABLP (which is pronounced Ca-BLIP). The acronym stands for Criss Angel’s Breakfast, Lunch, and Pizza. And it promises to be quite an attraction.
“It is going to be a really wonderful, comfort food, casual dining experience,” Angel said.
Angel added that the project will begin by giving the entire place a makeover, inside and out. That includes opening up the dining area, doing a deep clean, installing new booths and tables, new decor, new colors, new flooring and more.”
The kitchen will be updated as well, bringing in an all-new state-of-the-art pizza oven.
“I’m bringing in pizza from the East Coast with a guy that is an absolute pizza master,” Angel said. “I love his pizza so much that I just had to bring it to the Moapa Valley!”
Angel has also brought in a new executive chef who has reportedly worked under the famous Wolfgang Puck. She has been helping Angel put together an innovative new menu.
Angel himself has been working on writing a set of clever descriptions that will introduce each item on the menu. These brief intros are nearly as entertaining as Angel himself.
He gave away just a few of the highlights as teasers. The Rock and Roll Zinger will be grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, bacon, avocado, chipotle ranch served either on grilled sourdough bread, or as a wrap.
The MindFreak burger will be a signature item created especially for CABLP: an 8 oz. burger served on toasted bun loaded with cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce and beer battered onion rings. The Overton Wrap will be a warm flower tortilla with grilled chicken breast, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, lettuce and house-made ranch. There will also be plenty of “desserts to die from,” Angel said.
The restaurant will also be adaptable to whatever kind of day its diners are having, Angel said.
“If you have time to relax and sit down, you’ll be able to do that in our dining rooms,” he said. “Or you can sit outside on our patio. Or if you are on the go, you can visit our walk-up window and get something fast. And lastly, you can even use our curbside services where you’ll be assigned a stall and we will bring it out to you.”
CABLP will also have a strong entertainment aspect, setting it apart from any other dining experience out there. In short, it will have Angel himself in residence.
“I will be out there on the weekends, eating there with my family and such,” he said. “We love that community and we want to interact with the folks out there.”
Angel said that he also plans bringing some of his famous friends out to join him in weekend performances periodically throughout the year.
“For those folks who want to come and have a night out of laughs and good times in an intimate setting, CABLP will transform into The Magic Room where you’ll see crazy shows, fun times and we will even throw in the kitchen sink,” Angel said.
Angel emphasized that the driving force of opening a restaurant, for him, is not to make money.
“My motivation is philanthropic purposes,” he said. “My living is being a performer at Planet Hollywood with MindFreak. But this is something I’m doing to help others.”
Angel has a particular soft spot in his heart for families that are going through the ordeal of childhood-onset cancer. That is because his own family has gone through that ordeal as well. Angel’s 7-year-old son, Johnny Crisstopher, was diagnosed with pediatric cancer at the age of two and has undergone a long, difficult treatment process. Because of this harrowing experience, Angel and his family established the Johnny Crisstopher Childrens’ Charitable Foundation designed to help other families going through similar trials.
So, the purpose of CABLP is a dual one. In addition to serving the Moapa Valley community, the restaurant will also tie in to a larger concept Angel has of an outdoor resort/ranch to be developed here.
Angel recently purchased a large parcel of land on the west side of Logandale which he plans to set up as a retreat for underprivileged children and families going through the tough time of childhood cancer.
“My goal is to create an escape adventure for those families,” Angel said. “That way, through the Make a Wish foundation and Cure for Kids, people who are going through that hell can get away, spend some time together on the trails, around a campfire, maybe stay the night in a brand new 5th wheel, and be able to have a good meal – and everything will be completely free to them.”
Since Sugar’s is closing this week, Angel is now urgently pushing to get the building updated and prepared for a quick reopening, hopefully by early July.
“We are working at warp speed on this because I know that the community has limited dining options out there and this place is important to Moapa Valley,” Angel said. “I am also trying not to let the staff that Judy (Metz) has had working there for so long, be out of work for a long period of time.”
Angel plans to keep all of the old Sugar’s staff in place and train them for the new menu and offerings.
Angel hopes that the community will enjoy CABLP as a dining experience and that it will also adopts the restaurant as a good cause endeavor.
“We are really excited about the transformation and we hope that Moapa Valley will embrace CABLP just like they have embraced my son and my family,” Angel said. “It is an absolutely amazing community.
The lifestyle there, only 45 minutes from the Strip, is like you’re in a whole different place. Life there is simpler and it is because the values are important. We are just so happy to be a part of that!