Restaurants from Long Ago

By Mary DeZarn and Joey Herkert

The landscape of restaurants in the Las Vegas area has dramatically changed over the last 106 years. One restaurant that has gone through many changes throughout the years is our featured restaurant, the Golden Gate Casino.

The Golden Gate’s History

Old TelephoneGolden Gate CasinoFor the Golden Gate Casino, the beginning started with a land auction in 1905 at the corner of Fremont and Main Streets. By 1906, the Golden Gate (originally called the Nevada Hotel) opened its doors to the public with rooms and a casino. John F. and Rosa Miller were the original owners. The first telephone for Las Vegas, an original Kellogg, was installed at the Nevada Hotel with “Ring # 1 “. Gambling was outlawed in 1909 and stayed that way until 1931. The name was changed to “Sal Sagev” and Fremont was the first street to be paved and neon lights installed. Later the hotel changes its name to Golden Gate.

By 1931, gambling was legalized again and a motorcade down Fremont Street by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 to dedicate the Hoover Dam was part of the main event of the Golden Gate’s new ownership by Italo Ghelf and Robert Picardo from San Francisco. They brought with them the famous “Shrimp Cocktail” that is still the “Best in Las Vegas” today.

New hotels and casinos opened in the 1940’s and 1950’s with restaurants from long ago. Many have been restored in different hotels and are the restaurants we know today.

Golden Gate Hotel1941 – El Rancho Vegas – Opera House
1942 – Last Frontier – Venus Room
1946 – Golden Nugget – Chart Room
1950 – Desert Inn – Painted Desert Room
1952 – Sands – Garden Room
1952 – Sahara – House of Lords
1955 – Dunes – Dome of the Sea
1955 – Riviera – Hickory Room
1958 – Stardust – Moby Dick and Aku Aku

Shrimp Cocktail signBy 1964 Fremont Street gets a new face with “Strip Lighting” and remained so until 1995 when the 2.1 million bulbs lit up the new Fremont Experience with a light show set to music that we see now. In 1990, Italo, having 40 years at Golden Gate in the gambling industry, is bought out by his sons Craig and Mark. At that time the casino celebrated its 25 millionth shrimp cocktail.

To date, the Golden Gate has served 40 million Shrimp Cocktails and Du’pars restaurant continues to be one of the Best of Las Vegas.


Slot MachineIf it weren’t for our casinos and restaurants today, many of which have been revived and restored, our economy would be worse than it is. What would happen if gambling was outlawed for the next twenty-two years? Complete lay-offs would happen, casinos would close their doors for gambling, no new jobs would be created, and people would move away from Las Vegas. Presidents have come and gone, The Fremont Experience has boosted our economy, and gambling is a part of our lives! Let’s work together to keep our economy up, and keep our casinos and restaurants alive and well!!!!!