Vegas is a pretty new city, even by American standards. People have ideas of Vegas being like it was in the 1960s, but that’s basically as far back as its history goes. It was a super tiny town until halfway through the 20th century, and Fremont street was where a lot of the early buildings were built.
Golden Gate Casino is as old as they come. The address of the place is 1 Fremont Street and their phone number when they opened up was literally “1” (I am deadly serious). A big part of this tiny building is the diner Du-Par’s, world famous for its shrimp cocktail.
There’s definitely a reason that these things have survived the rest of time. Even after going through 4 price increases in the last few decades, these things are $4 for a huge glass full of shrimp. The cocktail sauce is a standard cocktail sauce, but something about this just feels right. It might have to do with the hokey decor of the place, which just reminds you of how many tens of thousands of people have sat in this room and eaten this exact dish which has mostly stayed unchanged for the past 50 years.
Most of the food at Du-Par’s is standard, overpriced diner food. There are a few deals if you’re really hungry, but there are 3 items on the menu that are absolutely worth checking out if you want to come to Fremont and hang out for a bit and see a bit of Vegas history. Shrimp cocktail is one of them. The pancakes are another.
I can’t say much about pancakes other than these are very well done ones. Fluffy, buttery, and unbelievably filling, it is basically impossible to finish an order of them.
Last, but possibly the best, Du-Par’s is one of the best places in the valley if you want a slice of pie. They have a person on hire to come in every day and make dozens of pies fresh, with rotating seasonal varieties. Luckily, the coconut cream pie is a staple and my god is it satisfying.
(When I remarked that half the crust was missing, they apologized and brought out another slice. They’re good people at Du-Par’s.)
You’re not going to tell stories of this place when you get back home, but if you’re looking for a dessert and some Vegas history, there is basically nowhere better to visit.
Du-Par’s (at the Golden Gate)
1 Fremont Street