USA Old-school appeal at Piero's Italian restaurant By JoAnna Haugen / August 14, 2014 Share 1 -- If I wasn't looking for Piero's, I might have driven right past it. The Italian restaurant isn't housed in a building that demands attention; it isn't big or splashy as is often the case in Las Vegas. But it is Piero's, and that alone makes it a magnet for people seeking out a time-tested Italian meal seasoned with a heavy sprinkling of history.After leaving the car with the valet (the only option), I was led to a table in the "A" dining room where notables and locals tend to dine and slid into a booth with my husband. I wondered who may have eaten at this table in the past. Opened in 1982 and moved to its present location on Convention Center Drive five years later, Piero's has become a go-to restaurant for VIPs who want to dine in peace. "When it opened, it immediately became a hangout for all the good ol' boys in Vegas," said Evan Glusman, operating partner of the restaurant and son of Piero's founder Freddie Glusman. "All the casino owners, the Rat Pack, anybody who was somebody ate at Piero's." Because it's off the Strip, average tourists don't wander in by accident. A fair number of convention attendees stop by, but the restaurant tends to be a destination for celebrities, politicians, athletes, philanthropists and locals who have grown to love the food, service and environment.Piero's is intimate and unpretentious, with dimmed lights, a dark wood bar and a seasoned staff. It doesn't try to compete with restaurants on the Strip, nor does it have to. "We've been in business for 32 years," Evan said. "There's still that aura of old Vegas, and we pride ourselves in being old Vegas."Our server told us about the daily specials ("handmade noodles like your grandma used to make") and our eyes wandered over the wine list before I settled on the linguine Portofino and my husband the osso buco with fettuccine. He got tomato with Roquefort for his salad choice and I ordered the garbage Caesar salad, one of Evan's contributions to Piero's; he believes you can tell a lot about a restaurant based on its Caesar salad, and his version contains tomato, avocado, shrimp and hearts of palm. As we made our way through our leisurely meal, a group of three congressmen and their security guards were seated. As a place where many dignitaries, mobsters and casino businessmen and investors have dined over the years, Piero's is rich with colorful stories. In fact, scenes from the movie "Casino" were filmed there, and people still seek it out for that reason. One of the most notorious occurrences took place in 2005, when two retired New York detectives who had moonlighted as Mafia hit men were arrested in Piero's for eight murders. Awesome food and celebrity sightings (notorious or otherwise) go together like spaghetti and meatballs in Las Vegas, and Piero's delivers both in a way that makes everyone feel comfortable and welcome. See www.pieroscuisine.com.New restaurants, from French to friesVintage eateries like Piero's are not for everyone. For visitors who prefer the newest and hottest culinary offerings, Las Vegas never disappoints with a food scene constantly writing new pages in history. Here are four of 2014's most buzzed-about restaurant openings from celebrated chefs. DB Brasserie at the VenetianThe Chef: Daniel Boulud The Story: Boulud ran a four-star restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas that closed in 2010, but he's back with a 280-seat French restaurant. Giada at the CromwellThe Chef: Giada De Laurentiis The Story: De Laurentiis opened her first restaurant in the newly renovated boutique hotel, the Cromwell. Menu offerings include California and Italian cuisine inspired from her Food Network shows and cookbooks. Yusho at Monte CarloThe Chef: Matthias Merges The Story: The Japanese-inspired grill and noodle house loved in Chicago made its Las Vegas debut with enviable seating on a patio as part of the resort's front facade transformation. Vegas Kitchen & Bar at the QuadThe Chef: Guy Fieri The Story: University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) graduate Fieri serves tacos, burgers, wings and fries in a restaurant that has patio seating, late-night nosh and lots of UNLV memorabilia on the walls.