During the later part of September and early part of October, I had the pleasure taking my first trek West and vacationing in the city of Las Vegas. I gambled a little but what I enjoyed the most was wondering around Vegas: soaking up the architecture, cultural currents, and food. Over a series of posts I am going to give you a little 411 to Vegas. I wanna kick things off with food.
If there is one thing to know about Vegas, it is not the cheapest place to vacation. It certainly isn’t a place you go to relax either. However, it is one fun vacation if you know how to take advantage of it. I recommend you start saving early and make sure you keep a gambling budget in mind so you don’t eat into your taxi/car rental, shopping, and food budget.
Vegas Eats – Fremont Area
Vegas has a lot to offer when it comes to food – some places are definitely better than others.
I think the best budget spot I came across was pizza at Uncle Joe’s Pizza in Fremont.
Uncle Joe’s Pizza (505 E. Fremont St., 385-2162; Tue.-Sun., 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.) is a pizza shop that has been serving NY Style Pizza for 18 years (LasVegasCityLife.com). It’s a small shop located in Fremont East.
During my adventure to Fremont, my friends and I stopped at Joe’s. I got pepperoni and cheese and it was cheesy good and inexpensive. Also, you get free drink refills (which is something you generally don’t get at most places on the Vegas strip). The service was fast and very welcoming. They make their pizza unlike the pizza spot in the Casino Royale (btw, which is revolting).
Across the street, there are two lounges to recommend (not for food) for drinks and nice atmospheres – Vanguard Lounge and Insert Coin(s).
Vanguard Lounge (16 Fremont St., Las Vegas, NV 89101 (702) 868-7800) has a real chill atmosphere with nice ambiance, music (i.e. Pandora’s Ratatat Chill Mixup Radio station), and seating. Also, they have unique cocktails, a good selection of beers and wine, and bonus – the bartenders are very friendly and resourceful in making drinks that you might not know the exact ingredients to – like a certain Mon Ami Gabi Cafe cocktail called a Paris Romance.
Insert Coin(s) (512 Fremont St, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101Wednesday to Sunday: 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.) opens up at 8pm and is a hot spot for the video game nerd in all of us. Packed with vintage arcade machines (some working better than others – lost a few quarters in a few machines here and there) and a long neon Beta Bar that stretches the length of the center. At the bar you can pull up, get a drink and play a designated game on a console, like Street Fighter.
There are also resident DJs that whip up some awesome mashups from various genres and decades. When I was hanging out, DJ Crykit was jamming in the DJ booth mashing up everything from old school 70s’s Boz Scaggs to early 90s Hip Hop act Pharcyde. While I am not the type to get out on the floor and bust-a-move unless I have a lot of drinks, I did relax in the provided and comfy lounge seating. After a while, I was bobbing my head, maybe tapped my toes a little too. I am a bit of introvert, what can I say. However, I do love music. 😉
The thing that will catch you off guard a little is the attendants in the bathrooms (I haven’t had this experience before) that are there to sell you cigarettes and other little items. The lady in the bathroom didn’t speak to me. She was quiet. It was a little creepy to be honest. She was sort of isolated except for the random person needing to use the restroom. I kind of felt sorry for her.
While I did not eat at the Heart Attack Grill, this infamous restaurant is located in Fremont, near the crossing to Fremont East. An interesting fact: if you weight 350 pounds or more you get your meal for free. They have a scale outside the restaurant where you can even weigh yourself. I didn’t dare venture in because the place scared me. People are given hospital gowns and nurses wait on you. No thank you – not a place for me. However, if you aren’t scared of butterfat shakes and artery clogging burgers – then go for it.
…. Next Installment — Fine Dining on the Inner and Outer Part of the Vegas Strip – Coming Soon!