Some sad news for Vegas fans to report. Those of you who love sin city, and want to celebrate your big wins (or staggering losses) at Caesar’s Palace with a towering pastrami sandwich from the Stage Deli are going to have to look elsewhere. After fifteen years in business, the outlet of the famous 7th Ave NY delicatessen is closing its location in the Forum shops of Caesar’s. The lease is up, business ain’t flying, and the gamblers want something else.
I visited the Stage in Vegas last year, when I was doing the deli tour of America to research the book. Crawling along the strip at night, from casino to casino and deli to deli, I happened along the Stage Deli midway through my sojourn. Compared with the others (Carnegie, Canter’s, Greenberg’s, or ZooZaCrackers), it was a fair approximation of the original, with somewhat of a warm feel, an authentic smell, and quality table service.
But to be honest, the food was meh…
Like most replicas in Vegas, the casino delis are but pale approximations of the real deal. “Venice” ain’t Venice. “Paris” ain’t Paris. And “Caesar’s Palace” is probably one tenth as debaucherous as ancient Rome. So too with the Stage Deli. It was just a copy, and the tough pastrami, soggy rye, and glutinous cabbage borscht were literally miles away from what Steve Auerbach and company served in New York.
So while the Stage in Vegas is gone, and I mourn it, my tears won’t fall for long. There’s far better deli in Vegas, and it’s nowhere near the strip.