It used to be
easy as pie to get cheap food in Las Vegas, even pie. The
casinos were desperate to get you in, and they happily lost
a few bucks on dinner in hopes you'd be so full and happy
you'd be willing to gamble away your savings. It's not so
easy getting free grub anymore. The cheap eats are fewer
and farther in between these days, but these tips will keep
you and your wallet stuffed full.
The buffets in town are the most
obvious place to start, but don't limit yourself. There
are plenty of other options that don't include slimy scrambled
eggs and corn beef hash unfit for dogs
Decatur and Boulder Highway
- Both are cheap buffets, among the lowest prices in town,
but trust us when we say you get what you pay for here.
If all you want are some eggs and chewy bacon, it's probably
a fair deal, but you'd have to be a real adventurer to try
the dinner menu.
Palace, Sunset and Texas Stations
- Most Stations are away from the heavy action of the Strip
and downtown. These places offer big buffets with some okay
food. They're good for dinner, considering the price, but
steer clear of their "special" nights where they
hike the price up and serve steak or seafood. The added
food usually isn't worth the increased price.
Fiesta Henderson and Rancho
- A couple of the darn cheapest buffets in town, one on
the west side and one on the east. They offer lots of meat
and potatos, but you can stuff yourself for little dough.
Make sure you have their slot club card to get the lowest
Green Valley and Red
Rock - These two joints are a notch up from the other
Station casinos, but have the same owner, and primarily
serve the locals. The buffets cost a few bucks more, but
man, oh, man are they good. These are among the best in
Vegas, but with prices well below the fancypants Strip joints.
Main Street Station
- Okay, so it's not the cheapest buffet, but it's good enough
to prevent us from finding anything snarky to say, and it's
the best in the downtown area. The weekend champagne brunch
costs over $10 and dinner rings in around $15-$20, so try
to go for weekday breakfasts and lunches.
Terrible's - The owners
must have been thinking of this cheap buffet when they thought
up the joint's name. Skip it, even though it's cheap.The
desserts are, unfortunately, mediocre. No pie there is worth
sneaking out in your pants. Trust us on this one. We ruined
some perfectly good corduroys.
The following casinos offer
decent deals in their delis. Again, eating these meals is
a "caveat emptor" experience. Keep your litigious
notions to yourself.
Earl of Sandwich
- The Earl is at Planet Hollywood and serves some
fine sandwiches that are downright affordable. We're not
talking $2 here, but you can get a juicy sandwich for about
what you'd pay for a burger meal, and it's way better.
Want to ask your girlfriend
to marry you, but wasted too much money at the craps table
to afford a fancy ring... or a nice dinner? Try some of
these spots. Nothing says romance like a cheap meal. Look,
when we say sit-down, we really mean coffee shop, not gourmet
Also, there are a ton of great
graveyard deals in Vegas. This list ain't of those. It's
of great deals you can get at normal times, which are harder
to come by. The Graveyard deals are in the next section.
Arizona Charlie's Decatur and Boulder Highway - Unlike most
places in town, which offer only late-night specials, the
Sourdough Cafe will give you a plate of ham and eggs 24
hours a day for $3.99 (with your slot card). During graveyard,
they have a ham and eggs, too.
California - The coffee
shop has a steak and shrimp dinner for less than $10 that's
well worth it. Take the folks on their annversary! We did.
Dutch treat, of course. If you're really trying to impress
someone, the unadvertised Porterhouse special in the fancy
Redwood Grille restaurant might bust your budget at around
$20. But, heck, if it's your last day before going to prison,
live it up.
Ellis Island - This little casino east of Bally's has
home-brewed root beer (yummy!) and a bang-up $7.95 steak
special. It's not on the menu, so you have to ask for it.
But, it's there and it's delightfully good, maybe the best
steak dinner $8 can buy you in this town. Plus they throw
in a micro-brew or root beer for gratis. Thursday nights,
the pizza joint in here has two-for-one slices, and you
can fill up for a couple bucks.
Four Queens - Prime
rib, once again. For $9 this one is a pretty good meal at
dinnertime. The coffee shop is nice and the slab is a fair
Gold Rush - A few bucks will get you a steak and eggs
any time of the day. The drawback is that this little joint
is way the heck out in Henderson, where the middle-aged
yuppies build their sacred stucco communities. The good
news is the place is stinky and smokey enough that the yuppies
Rainbow Club - This
place is the little sister of the famous Peppermill Coffee
Shop on the Strip. It's got all the garish neon and flash
with a ridiculously cheap coffee shop. You can always find
a breakfast for under $5 and dinners for about $7.
Terribles - You can
get a full breakfast any time of the day and night for about
$3. And by full, we mean pancakes, eggs and bacon. it does
not include a a full lobster tail, but we can't be choosy.
We won't pretend to have a
comprehensive list of graveyard deals. That's dang near
impossible to keep up to date and keep complete. But, here
are the most consistently available deals in town that we
know about. Plus, we don't list the late night specials
that actually aren't that special. Just the dirt cheapest
ones are here.
El Cortez - For about
five bucks after 11 p.m. you get a standard breakfast. No
banana fritter, just eggs, hash browns, toast and bacon
Ellis Island - Eggs,
biscuits and gravy and bacon or sausage for under four bucks.
We guess $4 must be the magic breaking point. Late night
drunks won't travel for a meal that costs more.
Hard Rock - After midnight,
you can enjoy a burger and fries or New York steak and eggs
for under five bucks in the Mr. Lucky's coffee shop. The
New York steak doesn't really come from new York. Or at
least, not the city. Think about it: where the heck would
the cow live?
- While Ellis Island has the Widowmaker, the Orleans simply
offers the more modest Widow-enabler with their $2.49 biscuits
and gravy. They also have a few other dishes for about $3-$5
like ham or steak and eggs. Heck, at these prices, why not
get two? But only after midnight.
- Late at night, after the children are tied to the bed,
sneak away with a loved one and treat yourself to the ultimate
in romantic indulgence: a range of dirt-cheap graveyard
specials, including ham steak and eggs for two-and-a-half
bucks and a half pound burger for three. Nothing says I
love you more loudly or firmly. Well, except maybe a burp
- As though the old photos of gas stations weren't reason
enough to come out here late at night and while drunk. Late
night you can get spaghetti, a steak or half a chicken for
only about five bucks.
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