Casino Showrooms

Clover Room, Las Vegas, menu

A big step up from buffet and coffee shop dining was the casino’s showroom, which could seat from 200 to 800 people, and featured individual performers or large-scale production shows set to the clinking of wine glasses and the din of silverware on plates. Although the food was far more upscale (typical menus featured steaks, prime rib, and lobster), it was served banquet style, and provided a tremendous challenge to kitchen staff responsible for efficiently serving masses of people at one sitting.

Copa Room menu for show featuring Wayne NewtonCopa Room menu for show featuring Wayne Newton.
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Best and Hillyer (1955) provide a humorous description of this process:

“Curtain time usually coincides with delivery of entrees all around, and there are those who prefer watching the act performed by waiters and waitresses to that on stage. These are skilled in the art of carrying great tray loads of silver-covered dishes piled high atop one another while dipping and ducking between tables in order not to obstruct customers’ views.” (p. 117-118)

Serving food in general was difficult work in casino restaurants. Veteran waitresses from the Caravan Room at the Sahara remarked on the challenge two decades later in an interview with George Stamos in 1979. Of her time in the Caravan Room, Reba Winters said “…Serving food was rough, though, because we had to go up two ramps, and through two swinging doors to get to the kitchen, which was quite a distance away.” (p.8) Fellow waitress Marie Hening added, “And what made it more difficult was that everything was served from a tray that we carried over our shoulders. There were usually eight or nine girls on the floor in those days. And many items were supremed, that is to say they were placed in little silver bowls that kept the food either hot or cold.”