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VegasEats: Sourdough Cafe at Arizona Charlie's Decatur

By Chuckmonster on Monday, 27th December 2010 4:14pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 4


Arizona Charlies Sourdough Cafe

One day, while killing a coupla hours between checking out of The Stratosphere and heading to Cosmopolitan for my meeting with CEO John Unwin, I went out searching the local countryside for casino cafe breakfast. Through no fault of my own, I ended up at Arizona Charlie's (on Decatur, not the other dump.)

I generally try to avoid the locals casinos. Not because I don't like the joints or have an aversion to locals, but because the folks who live in Vegas need a place to go that isn't filled with stop walking, fat assed, nincompoop know nothing tourists. I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible... I left my camera bag and iDevices in the car and adopted a very thin disguise - a ripped Black Sabbath t-shirt, curly brimmed Jumbo Jackpots trucker cap festooned with an abandoned-slot-side, quarter-smoked-but-snuffed Winston light cigarette behind my ear. Ok, I didn't do any of that, but I did try to "look like I fit in" which I guess I did, or didn't. Meh.

Arizona Charlie's (Decatur) is a fascinating place. Each one of its outcroppings is adorned with a keystone that trumpets the year which it was built. "Established 1986" just doesn't mean much, particularly when placed in 40 yard proximity to an auxiliary shed that trumpets "1994" as the year of its addition. The good news is that Arizona Charlie's is having regular erections.

Inside, the casino is dark, deathly dark. So dark that when you leave, you wander around the parking lot squinting for your car for 15 minutes, dark. So dark that the local Las Vegas Chapter of GMILFs has their bi-weekly bi-curious mixers here, dark. So dark, that groping is the preferred method of way finding. The interior decor is of an 1800s flop house, but I'm reasonably convinced that other than the casino stuff it is 100% authentic. Wait... is that Al Swearengen over by the casino cage? I'm about to go talk to him, but while scanning a path through the darkness I've caught sight of the Chuck Wagon - Arizona Charlie's Sourdough Cafe. Must. Lick. Greasy spoon.

There are two lines to enter the Sourdough Cafe. Those with an "ACE Card" (the short line) and those without (the long serpentine rope maze.) Despite not having said card, I get on the ACE line and within minutes I'm in, nobody asks for a card. I'm seated at a horseshoe shaped counter - I fucking love eating at the counter - and one of the waitresses asks me straight away if I know what I want. Mouth agape, I release an "Uh... ." She responds to my indecision with the decision to give me a menu, which she opens and points directly at the "ACE Card Special Menu" and highly touts my deciding on ordering the $3.99 Steak & Eggs. A quick panoramic scan reveals that everybody sitting at the counter is sawing away at the Steak & Eggs Ace Card Special. "Coffee," I blurt assuredly, hoping it will buy me some time. She grabs a cup from the cupboard flips it over and pours the coffee, barely moving, barely blinking, barely taking her order awaiting gaze off of my incredibly ripe and confused melon. "Uh... " I reiterate. "I'll give you a minute." One thing is for sure, nonsense is not served here.

Precisely one minute later another waitress - whom I surmise is the mother hen - approaches another recently seated customer on the far side of the 'shoe. Over the din, I can only hear her side of the conversation.

"Hello, welcome to Sourdough Cafe, what can I get you?" "How would you like your eggs?" "Toast?" "Bacon or Sausage?" "Thank you."

She moves two feet to the left.

"Hello, welcome to Sourdough Cafe, what can I get you?" "How would you like your eggs?" "Toast?" "Bacon or Sausage?" "Thank you."

She moves two feet to the left.

"Hello, welcome to Sourdough Cafe, what can I get you?" "How would you like your eggs?" "Toast?" "Bacon or Sausage?" "Thank you."

By the time Machine Gun Mary gets to my seat, I've got the whole spiel memorized and consider reciting it with her, to me. My better sense takes over and I decide to hold the smartass and answer the questions. "The French Toast Combo special" "Over easy" "Bacon." Done.

Looking around, it seems like this place is popular with sports bookies. Everyone has printouts of the betting lines at hand, making notes, discussing last nights games, inside skinny on this or that player, and spinning yarns about big bets that won and how to deal with the lean times. One pair of diners are having a Casino 101 discussion - not gambling, the movie - connecting the dots between Nicky Santoro and Tony Spilatro, Ace Rothstein and Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal. People in different dining parties jump in on bits of everybody elses conversations, add factoids or opinions on how todays games are going to pan out. This isn't a dingy coffee shop, it is the community breakfast table. I feel strangely honored to even be here, silently eaves dropping while scanning through an endless stream of breakfast conversations amongst my virtual friends. Did someone put MDMA in the coffee creamer?

Arizona Charlies Sourdough Cafe

The food arrives. French toast adorned with plast-i-paks of syrup, margarine and an 8 ball of powdered sugar.

Arizona Charlies Sourdough Cafe

Eggs, as promised - over easy - industrial shoe leather bacon, greasy hash browns and an orange that looks so orange that it has to be spray dyed or genetically modified.

No frills. No nonsense. A fill-your-gut-for-a-song cafe breakfast delivered with military precision.

Arizona Charlies Sourdough Cafe

Perhaps I should put some money on "Yo"?

Tagged: vegas eats   arizona charlies   casino cafe   


Comments & Discussion:

AZ Charlies east is a dump compared to the one on Boulder. Not that the Boulder one is anything amazing, but much more well-lit with Tuscan-inspired colors.

It is really the only local's casino for a pretty significant middle-class area of older Las Vegas. Hence, they don't have to kill themselves to do much upgrading to the property.

Hey, at least you are checking out some of the local joints. To me, there is something cool about gambling in an old-school, dark, smoke-filled casino. Las Vegas the way it was when I moved here!

I really haven't made my way out to any locals casinos either. Other than Red Rock and I loooove that place.
My husband and I have this thing going..where we're trying to get players club cards for every last casino out there. Next up we've got the Boulder Strip to cover. I think once we've hit that up along with AZ Charlies, Cosmo, and the Fiesta chains we'll have all of them!!

Sam's Town is worth a visit even if only to check out Mystic Falls Park.

I stayed at an Arizona Charlie's about 10 years ago. There were about 5 of us in one room. The only thing that I remember is housekeeping walking in without even knocking. I said "what if someone was naked?", then we all took turns masturbating in the bathroom contemplating that situation.

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