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Memorable Flavors and Excellent Hospitality at Ditka’s Restaurant

If you haven’t already heard, the all-new Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino in the West Valley is home to the first Ditka’s Restaurant in the Western United States. I was fortunate enough to experience the top-notch service and mouthwatering cuisine at this one-of-a-kind eatery.

Although not normally a casino-frequenter, Ditka’s won me over. Our waiter, Virgil, was professional yet personable and provided us with excellent recommendations and expertise about each dish.

Not normally a sushi-eater (apparently this restaurant pushed me out of my comfort zone – in a good way), the Crispy Tuna Avocado Rolls that we enjoyed for an appetizer might have been my favorite dish of the evening. Tempura-battered and served with a Yuzu Ponzu sauce, they were light and flavorful, without being too “fishy” tasting. My dining companion and I also enjoyed the Slider Combo for a second appetizer, which featured two mini cheeseburgers and two filet mignon sliders. Although my friend preferred the simple yet tasty cheeseburger, I enjoyed the sautéed onion-topped filet mignon slider.

Although we were practically full after the appetizers, we didn’t shy away from the main course. Possibly tied with the tuna rolls for the favorite dish of the evening, the Tortilla Crusted Halibut that I chose for an entrée rested on a sweet corn tamale cake with corn relish and was topped with lemon butter and a chipotle drizzle. The sweet tamale cake mixed with the perfectly cooked halibut was to die for.

For his entrée, my friend chose “Da Pork Chop,” one of the signature dishes on the menu. Paired with an apple chutney, a cherry jus and sitting on mashed sweet potatoes, the pork chop was cooked well and boasted a unique flavor. He described it as “done just right, flavorful, and with an excellent glaze sauce.”

Since of course this was not enough food already, we decided to order a side of Ditka’s Jalapeño Hash Browns. “[They] made this New Mexico-born chile aficionado stand up and take notice. [They had] just the right amount of ‘kick,’” said my dining companion.

We were officially stuffed after the entrées, but we still couldn’t resist dessert.Virgil told us if we wanted to have a memorable dessert experience, we needed to order Mike’s Big Ice Cream Pie. Although my description will not do it justice, this “pie” was three or four thick layers of different ice cream flavors, coated with a crust of M&M’s, nuts and caramel, all sitting on an Oreo cookie crust. Neither of us could finish our half of the dessert, but we had fun in our attempt.

In addition to Virgil, the rest of the staff at Ditka’s displayed warm hospitality. The general manager, Mike, came by our table a few times to check on us, and the executive chef, Andy, was also kind enough to come introduce himself.

The excellent hospitality paired with the unique and exceptional flavors at Ditka’s made for an enjoyable and memorable dining experience. I would highly recommend a drive down to Laveen to enjoy Ditka’s restaurant as well as the all-new casino and boutique hotel that make up Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino.
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Vee Quiva VIP's

An All-Encompassing Entertainment Experience at Vee Quiva Hotel and Casino


Vee Quiva entrance

As we drove past the former Vee Quiva casino on our way to attend the grand opening of the all-new Vee Quiva Hotel and Casino, the difference in size and grandeur between the two was astonishing to me.

The new Vee Quiva Hotel and Casino, which opened on July 2, is all about offering an all-encompassing entertainment experience. As Public Relations Manager Melody Hudson commented, “It’s no longer the day of a casino floor and a buffet; it’s offering a wide variety of amenities from dining to entertainment to a hotel, etc.”

There was excitement in the air as the CEO of Gila River Casinos, John James, thanked those who contributed to the project and counted down to the ribbon cutting, officially opening the new facility to the public. There has been great anticipation leading up to the unveiling of this state-of-the-art entertainment facility, and it did not disappoint.

As you walk in the main entrance, you notice the elegant, changing lights in the ceiling that are illuminating the casino floor. The room is also adorned with Frank-Lloyd-Wright-style décor, making it uniquely Arizonan. The casino area is extensive. Gamers can choose from over 950 slot machines, 36 table games, a 550-seat bingo hall and a 16-table poker room.

Vee Quiva DitkasJust off the casino floor is the first Ditka’s restaurant in the Western United States, founded by NFL head coach Mike Ditka. A local favorite, Los Reyes de la Torta, is also a featured dining option. Vee Quiva is one of three valley locations for this authentic Mexican restaurant. Man vs. Food’s Adam Richman came all the way to Arizona to try their “Torta del Rey.” A cozy coffee shop, Panda Express, Fat Burger and Dunkin’ Donuts make up the remainder of the food court area.

Guests can also enjoy live music at two different entertainment venues: VQ Live, a luxurious yet comfortable lounge, and a separate event center that will host various performances. Both venues have the capability of opening up to the outside so guests can enjoy entertainment under the stars during the cooler months.

In addition to the gaming, dining and entertainment features, guests can relax in the 90-room boutique hotel that accompanies the casino. A fitness center and pool are also available. As Hudson mentioned, there are not many boutique hotels on the West side, making Vee Quiva, located just south of Laveen, especially unique.

With the endless casino games, both local and familiar cuisine, live entertainment and a luxurious place to relax, the Vee Quiva Hotel and Casino definitely delivers on its promise to provide an all-encompassing entertainment experience for both Arizonans and out-of-state visitors alike.