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Cafe at El Cortez closed

Discussion in 'Restaurants & Buffets' started by 16gauge, Jan 2, 2016.

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  1. 16gauge

    16gauge Low-Roller

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    Recently returned from Vegas, spending our last three nights downtown. We were looking forward to the good, inexpensive, hamburger deal at the El Co Cafe for lunch one day. When we got there, the Cafe was completely closed and blocked off. Does anyone know if this is a permanent closure or is it closed just for remodeling? The Cafe always had good food for a good price. Hopefully they will bring it back as it was. The now restaurant that replaced the Flame is no where near as good as the Flame was (and is more expensive as well).
     
  2. gambler

    gambler VIP Whale

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    I'm pretty sure it's a permanent closure. I've heard various rumors as to what's going in the space but I don't think they've confirmed anything other than it will NOT be a restaurant.

    I never did get to eat at the Flame but I agree that the new Siegel's doesn't do much for me either. It's a coffee shop, nothing more. After hearing so much about the Flame, I guess I was expecting more.
     
  3. merlin

    merlin VIP Whale

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    The cafe closed when the new flame(siegles) opened, Haven't been to the new place but I haven't heard anything good about it either, sounds like it's the same as the cafe, but a few bucks more for everything, not really what their demographic want's IMO.
     
  4. Grasp

    Grasp Low-Roller

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    The new place is a combination of the Flame and Cafe. It's decent and offers many of the same selections you would have found at either joint. However, it's a little more expensive than the cafe and doesn't offer the same atmosphere of the Flame. Of course the Flame was always had a bizarre atmosphere. The good thing is most of the previous specials are still available, you can still get 2-1 coupons fairly easily and they still have liberal comps. Overall it's an okay / slightly negative change. I guess we'll see how they use the old cafe space. Let's hope the night club rumors are just that.
     
  5. aa0154

    aa0154 Tourist

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    I don't know. East Fremont needs a club. The El Cortez needs a little updating. I know the locals like to play there but when I am there, I call the craps table the Table That Time Forgot. It is all locals arguing about how the dealer did not pay them on their $.50 bet. East is changing and the Cortez has a space to try and get in on that change...
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  6. YoungGun

    YoungGun VIP Whale

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    I miss The Flame too, but I can understand why they combined the two restaurants. They really didn't have enough demand to keep both a steakhouse and coffee shop open. The end result is a place that doesn't please fans of either place, but I like it for what it is. The steaks are a step above typical coffee shop quality. The other items are priced about the same as other downtown coffee shops, but El Cortez discounts and comps are easy to get. A few reviews I've read have mentioned that some of the old cafe specials are still available, although they aren't on the menu.
     
  7. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    I think they have done nothing but screw up the restaurants at the ElCo since they decided to 'improve' Careful Kitty's. That place was a gem, and by now, the hipster crowd would be all over its low-brow diner chic ambiance. IMHO no restaurant with an authentic counter should ever be renovated.

    But they went ahead and gutted it and were left with a place with no character that no one wanted to go to with inflated prices. That worked out so well its closed completely.

    They could have kept it and gone the Du-Pars route with everything made fresh and tons of 'ironic little pork pie hat' atmosphere.
     
  8. mrstealth

    mrstealth High-Roller

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    Yeah, I agree with Flusher (as usual), the El Co has been trying to "reinvent" itself for the last 5 or so years, and to be honest, all of the moves have failed. I love the ElCo, and have done a fair amount of gambling there for 20+ years so am very familiar with the property. For most of that time the property didn't change much and new it's identity pretty well "A Downtown Grind Joint", and believe it or not, was popular among all types of gamblers, and people who were there gambled. There tables were busy, the slots were busy, and the video poker was extremely busy. People spent a bunch of money. The staff was never what I would call friendly to gamblers, but did their jobs well. They had a good slot club and were pretty generous with comps both free play, rooms and food. Nothing over the top, but enough to keep you going back. Over that time, virtually every time I was there, Jackie Gaughan himself was there playing poker, even into his late 80's and early 90's. Food was fairly priced with multiple options, the cafe, and then they always had an "up scale" steakhouse.

    Now, over the past 5 or so years they are trying to change that formula, and "re invent themselves". However, going with flusher's analogy to pig's - "You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig". Based on the location of the casino, the clientele it attracts, and the physical age of the casino there is only so much they can do, and never see it being a "hipster joint". I was actually eating at the old cafe when the staff found out the flame was closing and being replaced with a cafe style restaurant and they all knew the writing was on the wall for them and they would be out of jobs as they wouldn't need 2 restaurants of the same style.

    Like Flusher, I think the downtown formula to success is pretty basic, the classic example was binion's before Jack Binion's sister took over the joint - I can remember it being 3-4 customers deep at the cafe, greasy burgers, gut rot chilly, bad coffee, sweat rolls in the morning. Upstairs was a cafe for sit down meals, a basic buffet, and a steak house for upscale meals. People loved it, ate there, and they gambled like fiends. The ElCo had this same setup (Steak House, Cafe with Counter, and Subway/Baskin Robbins), but for some reason decided to switch it out.
     
  9. PaulBowdry

    PaulBowdry Low-Roller

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    Great a night club. Old guys with body odor standing outside of it will really add to the ambiance. I don't see how a night club would work in there.
     
  10. marksind

    marksind Low-Roller

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    As others are saying, the ElCo's efforts to upgrade are perhaps ill conceived. They had a niche clientele, which their changes appear to be alienating more than benefiting. I used to enjoy the uniqueness of the place, but in recent trips haven't done more than a walk-through. Funniest thing in early December was that during the day (a weekday nonetheless) they had not one, but two, minimum $1000 bet blackjack tables open. We did a triple-take on that! Guess how many people were playing? Those poor dealers looked ready to fall asleep on their feet.

    Regarding a night club - I shudder at the thought. Imagine the oxygen tanks and walkers entangled on the dance floor! There are plenty of clubs on East Fremont.
     
  11. mescalita

    mescalita High-Roller

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    Ha! I wondered about those high limit tables at ElCo myself. Turns out there was a high roller from Texas staying there for almost a week, and wanted his own table ready at any time - he always had a choice of single or double deck game. I'm guessing he might have had his meals comped. Food and service was just fine for us at Siegels on our last trip. Breakfast was very good, and many of the excellent Flame/Roberta's dinner entrees are still on the menu...
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  12. tominiowa

    tominiowa High-Roller

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    I just checked out the menu last time there and was very disappointed. The good deals that were at the cafe are all gone. And I would call the cafe
    meals to be priced on the high side. I loved the steak house and now that ambaince is gone and sure quality down also.

    A complete wrong move in my opinion. afraid we are stuck with it. Unfortunately I see El Co getting less play from me in the future. Too many SD games. SD is fine but not with 4 or 5 people and reshuffle every 2 hands. Darn near same a CSM game then. Plenty of poor players there also.

    Best deal is VP at bar where you will get all the good drinks you want once you make friends of bartender there. I will be back just for that some.
     
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