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Ten Restaurants Where Vegas Locals Love to Eat

Updated on November 24, 2015
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Dale recently retired from a forty year career in electronics and computers. He and his wife Becky enjoy traveling and visiting family.

Ricardo's is a family-owned Mexican Restaurant located at Flamingo and Decatur
Ricardo's is a family-owned Mexican Restaurant located at Flamingo and Decatur

Introduction

This list contains ten distinctive places where locals (including my wife and I) love to eat. Tastes being different, not everyone may like them all, but these are places in or near Vegas that most people should enjoy. There are no national or regional franchises in the list because the reader is probably already familiar with most of them. The list is compiled by a person who would rather eat a chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy than anything with hummus on it. So if you are looking for a review of ritzy, gourmet places, this isn't it.

1. Ricardo's

Ricardo's is a family owned Mexican restaurant not too far from the strip. Year-in and year-out for over twenty years, this has been my wife's and my favorite Mexican restaurant in Las Vegas. It is located on the northwest corner of Flamingo and Decatur. I like to get one of their combination plates or their chicken fajitas. Some people like their buffet, but since my wife and I both have older, slower metabolisms, we avoid buffets whenever possible. Ironic in what may be the buffet capital of the world.

One distinctive thing about Ricardo's is that the servers will not take your credit card out of your sight. A wireless card processor is brought to your table. I have not seen this done anywhere else. Ricardo's has done it for years. More information is provided through the following link:

2. Bob Taylor's Ranch House

Entrance driveway leading to Bob Taylor's Ranch House
Entrance driveway leading to Bob Taylor's Ranch House

Bob Taylor's Ranch House is not close to the strip. If you love old Western movies or feel more comfortable in a dust covered Jeep than in a freshly detailed Cadillac, this will likely be your kind of place. Unless you also happen to be a vegetarian. You will probably see and smell meat on the grill as you walk by on your way to be seated.

To address a concern expressed in the review linked to below, I recall that the house salad does have more in it than iceberg lettuce, including red onion, tomato, and grated cheese. My wife and I love to eat the salad along with the garlic cheese bread. The steaks come consistently done the way we request. I love their baked potatoes, which are large and tasty. I like mine with butter only, so I can actually taste the wonderful baked potato flavor without a bunch of other stuff camouflaging it. My wife likes their stuffed mushrooms. For more information, click on the link below.

3. The Road Kill Grill

The Road Kill Grill is located in a residential area.  When it was established in 1954, it was  out in the country.
The Road Kill Grill is located in a residential area. When it was established in 1954, it was out in the country.

The Road Kill Grill is a little closer to the Strip, but a little further from the freeway. It is located in a residential area and has a gravel parking lot. I was told that this place was established in the 50's, and I believe it. This is primarily a take-out place. They also have a counter where you can buy various meats to cook yourself. There is no inside seating, and there are only a few tables outside. (Update 11/24/15: Went there for take-out today. They were out of pulled chicken, one of the orders came with cornbread instead of the regular bread that was ordered, and that order also came with apple cobbler instead of the peach cobbler that had been ordered. Also, the potato salad wasn't as good as I remember.) Portions are generous, and we always have leftovers (especially of the meat) enough for one or two more meals. Here is a website with more information:

We lived in this neighborhood for years before we learned about the Road Kill. So we were both thrilled to find a good barbeque place and disappointed to learn that we had been missing out for so long. I'm not claiming this is the world's best barbecue; my vote for that is Underwood's Bar-B-Q Cafeteria in Brownwood, Texas, the last of a family owned chain that had a cafeteria in my hometown, Lawton, Oklahoma. But I believe it is one of the two most popular non-franchise barbeque places in Las Vegas. The other one is

4. T.C.'s Rib Crib

T.C.'s Rib Crib is closer to the strip. Some good friends of ours love this place. They live much closer to it than we do and gave us a gift card recently. We have only eaten there once, and both my wife and I liked it, but liked the Road Kill just a little more. T.C.'s has one advantage on their menu – fried okra, just like what I used to eat growing up in Oklahoma. You can learn more here

5. The Cracked Egg

The Cracked Egg is open til 2:00 PM and has five locations. It is best to go on weekdays to avoid longer wait times. My favorite items there are the Oatmeal Overload, which comes with fresh berries, raisins and granola, and a custom skillet with selected veggies, eggs, cheese, and potatoes. I usually get the oatmeal because it is so healthy (in case my doctor reads this). All their locations have the same menu. The website linked to below has several comments about one of them. I especially agree with the comments about their excellent coffee cake, which I can only eat on rare and special occasions lest I have to go buy larger pants. They have gluten-fee items on their menu.

6. The Egg and I

The Egg and I is another popular breakfast spot. We have eaten there a few times. It is much further away from us than the closest Cracked Egg, and is just as busy. It is not too far from the strip though, by car, being located on Sahara between Arville and Decatur.



7. The Mount Charleston Lodge Restaurant

Mount Charleston Lodge viewed from atop Cathedral Rock.  Photo taken by the author on a 2009 hike.
Mount Charleston Lodge viewed from atop Cathedral Rock. Photo taken by the author on a 2009 hike.

The Mount Charleston Lodge is 44 miles from the New York – New York Hotel Casino located at Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd. The drive should take 49 minutes when there is no traffic. Locals and tourists love to come here, but for locals, it's not so much about the menu as it is about getting out of the heat in the summer or finding snow to play in during the winter.

The lodge is four to five thousand feet higher than most of the Las Vegas Valley and 20 degrees (F) cooler, or more. Mount Charleston is the official name of the community. The top of the mountain that the community is located on, Charleston Peak, is located several miles away at 11,918 feet elevation. This photo of the lodge was taken from about 900 feet above, at the top of Cathedral Rock, which has an elevation of about 8600 feet.

There are only two places to eat in the area, and so the Lodge gets a lot of business. If you develop a healthy appetite during a hike in the fresh mountain air, return to you car, and decide that you want something more than the baloney sandwich you left in your cooler (calamari if you are a gourmet type), this restaurant is only minutes away. Depending on the day of the week, you might have to wait for a table, though, in which case you may want that baloney (or calamari) sandwich as an appetizer.

8. Garduno's at Fiesta Hotel Casino

Garduno's is another popular Mexican restaurant. This one is located in the Fiesta Hotel Casino at Rancho and Lake Mead. My wife and I have eaten there off and on for years. The nature of the food seemed to us to change from time to time over the years, sometimes not for the better (in our opinion), but at the time of this writing (July, 2014), they are on the better side. It seemed like everything was just way too spicy there for a while. They have a salsa bar and serve-yourself chip refills. As you might expect in a hotel casino, this place has a ton of atmosphere. And delicious sopapillas and honey are the final course for many of the menu selections.

9. Dona Maria's

Dona Maria's is a Mexican restaurant with two locations, one at Las Vegas Blvd. and Charleston, and the other at Cheyenne and Tenaya, on the northwest side. We have eaten only at the northwest location. We ate there a couple of times many years ago, and then stopped eating there for some long-forgotten reason. We enjoy eating there now. They are famous for their tamales, but we enjoy other items there also, like their coffee, which comes with a little cinnamon flavor.

10. The Peppermill

The Peppermill is not the oldest on the list but it has been in Vegas since the 70's. Definitely “Old Vegas” (that's a good thing, by the way). Since the Peppermill is on the strip, it is also a favorite for visitors. That being the case, many locals, such as my wife and I, visit infrequently, trying to go on a weekday morning when the wait isn't so long. Because it is so popular among visitors, I almost left it off my list, but since we still love to go there occasionally, it stayed. There is an excellent review located at

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