Cheap Dining In Vegas: Downtown
It was easy to see my excitement in this week’s edition of Sunday News. DuPar’s and Nacho Daddy expanding to Summerlin and the Vegas Strip, respectively, marked growth for two of my favorite downtown Las Vegas restaurants. I wouldn’t say that I love either of these restaurants but I absolutely love a very specific dish that each restaurant offers.
When I’m in downtown Las Vegas you’ll very often see me dining at one of these two restaurants or enjoying Happy Hour at Pizza Rock. I don’t look for “cheap eats” but I like when food that I enjoy is tasty and inexpensive. Each restaurant has a specific menu item that costs less than $10 that is both a good value and tastes great. Adding a beverage, adult or otherwise, might take the bill over $10 but not by much. Let’s look deeper at the specific dishes that make these 3 restaurants a regular part of my visits to downtown Las Vegas. These dishes are fantastic for cheap dining in Vegas:
DuPar’s Restaurant and Bakery started in California in 1938. Their original Las Vegas location is at Golden Gate Hotel and Casino. Quality meat, fresh fruit and vegetables are a mainstay of their kitchen but it’s the pies and pastries, which are all prepared by hand every day, that are what capture the attention of most people I know. The bakery is where the only dish that matters at DuPar’s comes from.
I’m not a pancake aficionado but the pancakes at DuPar’s are easily the best I’ve ever had. The combination of delicious pancake batter, a ladle of their grade AA melted butter and a thin layer of maple syrup make this an order of pancakes for the history books.
The pancakes aren’t just a breakfast food, a short stack (2) or Vegas stack (3) from DuPar’s are good any time of the day and cost under $10 at both Las Vegas locations.
The Golden Gate location is open 24 hours a day and there’s nothing like a 3am “fourth meal” before passing out from a long day in downtown Las Vegas.
(Update: The Golden Gate location has closed since this article was written. The only remaining DuPar’s location in Las Vegas is at the Suncoast and as good as the Golden Gate. Unfortunately, this is about a $13-$15 Lyft or Uber ride to and from downtown Las Vegas)
I’m happy to say that a recent trip to the new DuPar’s restaurant at Suncoast yielded the same delicious pancakes. Almost as important as the delicious pancake is that the coffee is about 100x better than the downtown Las Vegas outpost which essentially serves brown water.
There are Nacho Daddy locations in Henderson, Summerlin and downtown Las Vegas. As I mentioned on Sunday there’s a new Nacho Daddy restaurant opening later this year on the Vegas Strip. I’ll likely visit the new Nacho Daddy inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood is convenient when on the Vegas Strip but I really only have eyes for one location.
I used to live around the block from the Summerlin restaurant and never visited. The downtown Las Vegas location is the only Nacho Daddy for me. I ordered chicken street tacos the first time I visited Nacho Daddy on 4th street and haven’t looked back. The occasional breakfast scramble is sometimes necessary (unlimited iced coffee refills!) but 95% of my orders at Nacho Daddy have been 3 small but filling street tacos that are often, but not exclusively (see above), accompanied by a cold cerveza.
My unrefined palate doesn’t know if this is the best Mexican food in Las Vegas. My stomach knows that an order of street tacos is the perfect dish for lunch or when in a rush to enjoy the fun on Fremont Street. The tacos cost under $10 and are just filling enough to satisfy any kind of hunger without weighing me down for the day or night. Pro tip: Visit during Happy Hour and save a couple dollars.
Let me shed some light on Pizza Rock that might not be so obvious. This is more than just a pizza restaurant. The burrata burger at Pizza Rock is one of the best anywhere in Las Vegas. Sure they have excellent pizza but the fresh ingredients in all of their dishes are what makes this an excellent all-around restaurant. Oh, about pizza…it always satisfies this snobby New Yorker.
There are a few items on the menu that are particularly good but I’d say that the majority of my visits to Pizza Rock are during one of their two daily Happy Hour’s (3pm-6pm and 10pm-close Monday-Friday). The Happy Hour menu has a limited number of dishes but it still offers two specific items that, when paired, make for almost too much food for under $10.
The $3 order of meatballs (3) and a $5 personal pizza (with one topping) are more than enough food to hold you through the night. You could probably be full with either item but they’re each so inexpensive that it’s nice to have a couple different flavors. Beer drinkers will love that all drafts are $2 off. This is around a 30% savings per beer.
Last year Pizza Rock opened a location at Green Valley Ranch and an offshoot called Little Tony’s at Palace Station to give you different location options. The Pizza Rock recipes are followed perfectly so you’ll get the same great food at each location. Having said that, the only location I need is in downtown Las Vegas on 3rd Street right across from Downtown Grand and one block away from The D, Fremont and Four Queens.
One of the best things about downtown Las Vegas is the prices. You can stay in a hotel room for under $50 per night and eat three or four different meals for under $10 each. There’s no denying my love for the Vegas Strip but there’s a different value found in downtown Las Vegas that appeals to me too.
Check out these other dining & drinking venues:
Welcome To The Sage Bar: Home To One Of The Best American Whisky Selections In Vegas
L’Atelier at MGM : A Culinary Performance
Photo credit featured image @ Thrillist