What has fun food, tons of history, and is pink and blue and neon all over?
If you know Las Vegas, you know the answer is Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge. It’s the kind of place that always makes you feel like it’s 3 a.m. and you are wide awake. Perhaps that’s because the 24 hour restaurant has two personas within its neon walls. There is the cheerful and bustling booth area where locals and tourists co-mingle for great meals any time of day. Then, there is the intimate lounge where romance mingles with the exotic and bar food and drinks reign.
Talk about a split personality.
And, yet, at Peppermill, it works.
The place is literally a landmark, tucked in an area where some of the most historic casinos used to be, like the Frontier, the Stardust, and the Desert Inn. Peppermill has held its ground for 37 years, watching the goings and comings of casinos, like the new Wynn now on the Desert Inn property. In fact, Executive Chef Marcos Galvan says, “ Everything else has been torn down. We’re still here.”
And, the crowds are still lined up for what Galvan calls, “Great customer service and food portions.” He says, “We take pride in giving our customers their money’s worth.”
At Peppermill, that money can be spent 24 hours, whether you want breakfast or an after work cocktail. They have 11 varieties of omelets plus popular items such as the Country Style Ham and Eggs.
The Western Fruit Plate is a sight to behold, piled high with really fresh fruit and a slice of homemade banana bread, with a dollop of sherbert to top it all off. It has melon, pineapple, banana, orange, grapes, and other seasonal fruits served in a pineapple boat. If you want, just ask them to top it with cottage cheese instead of sherbert—they aim to please. “The fruit salad has been here forever,” says Galvin. “People are so impressed with the presentation; we’ve never changed it.” On our visit, all of the fruit was at the perfect stage of ripeness and a huge hit all around.
Galvin has influenced other items on the menu, including the Peppermill Pastrami Burger, which is the delicious love child of two classes—it’s a half pound burger topped with pastrami and Swiss cheese.
“I was on the line one day watching my guys and it just popped into my mind,” he says. “It’s been a high seller ever since, and was names the #2 burger in town.” You can also get the Peppermill Burger, a half-pound USDA Choice beef patty broiled to order and served on grilled Parmesan sourdough bread. “We try to stay on top of the trends,” says Galvin, “and there is still a big burger trend.”
You can also grab an appetizer, like the Shrimp Cocktail or the Pulled Pork Sliders (which, by the way, are excellent) in the Lounge or at the bar. Try the Chicken Quesadilla literally filled with quality chicken.
Or get the Peppermill Sampler with shrimp, chicken fingers, Mozzarella sticks, Bruschetta and onion rings. Just be sure you have a friend, because portions are definitely shareable.
The menu goes on and on, with steaks, pastas, fish, and more, including a selection of desserts and specialty drinks. Their signature 64 ounce drink, the Scorpion, has no fewer than six liquors and is recommended for five or six people to share.
Galvin has been with Peppermill for 12 years, starting as a prep cook and moving through the ranks.
“The menu was small when I came,” he says. “Now it goes to 150 or more items.” The same menu is available in either section of the restaurant, so you may want to claim one of the booths decorated with kitschy lighting.
The regulars have their favorite spots, where they are known by name and the service is the same—someone will take good care of you. Pegggy Orth, General Manager, will make sure of that. She moves through the various rooms, continually checking for empty glasses and giving customers the kind of personal service that keeps them coming back for literally years.
Orth has been with Peppermill for more years than anyone would guess—long enough to be there through three remodels; the latest one just five years ago. She credits the two original owners, Matt Caraselli and Bill Paganetti, with maintaining the character of the restaurant over the years.
In fact, even if you haven’t been to Vegas you may have seen the Peppermill—its Fireside Lounge has been a part of movies such as “Casino” and “Showgirls” and has been in TV shows including “CSI.” When you go, we recommend you sit by the flaming pool and absorb the fun.
Peppermill is big with convention-goers, too. “When the conventions hit, we know it,” says Galvin. “People come from all across the Strip.”
Is it the decor, or the food, that brings them? “Maybe a little bit of both,” says Galvin. “People go to strip joints and they come in here think they’ve found another one. We surprise them.”
It’s true. Barnaby Baker, who came to Vegas via Australia and now frequents Peppermill, told us, “Anyplace else in the world this would be really cheesy, but it works here.”
Whether it’s 3 a.m. or 3 p.m. Once inside, you’ll never know.
See our blog from the Las Vegas tour, here.
See the video, here.
Visit Peppermill when you are in Las Vegas:
2985 Las Vegas Blvd. South
This is a Raves & Faves Featured Restaurant.