Save the Deli

Stage Deli to Close in Vegas

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.


11 Responses to “Stage Deli to Close in Vegas”

  1. David W. Cowles Says:

    Hi David

    I lived in Las Vegas for over 30 years. Despite a large Jewish population in the city, there has always bean a dearth of good delis there.

    Stage Deli was fabulous … for about the first two months after it opened. After that, it was very expensive garbage. Believe me, its closing is no loss.

    Of course the “far better deli” you’re referring to is the Bagel Cafe. When they first opened, it was a real mishmosh, about half deli and half hippie food with alfalfa sprouts, etc. But gradually it developed into a pretty good deli, with fabulous Early Bird dinners at a very reasonable price.

    Still, the quality of food at Bagel Cafe is uneven.

    Their rye bread and challah are wonderful–as good as anything I ever bought on Fairfax in LA. Their bagels are giant, and among the best I’ve had in years. On the other hand, their sweet pastries (with the exception of rugeleh) are pretty much flavorless.

    Bagel Cafe’s pastrami is far too lean–it reminds me of turkey pastrami, which is an oxymoron; their brisket of beef is to die for.

    Their fish salads (whitefish, salmon) are excellent. Their breakfasts? Go to Denny’s instead.

  2. hiddenboston Says:

    I’m a big deli guy, and I couldn’t imagine even considering eating at a deli in a casino. To me, it’d be like eating at one in a shopping mall (though granted, there was a good deli in the Chestnut Hill Mall near Boston, MA, years ago, but I think this was the exception to the rule).

    It’s sad to hear the place closing, but I guess it’s not a huge surprise…

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