By Michael P. Visgilio
As Las Vegas-based magician Rick Lax explained in his book, “I Get Paid for This: Kicking Ass and Taking Notes in Vegas,” the most vital lesson of casino management is also incredibly simple: “Make sure your employee dining room is really good.”
A delightful crowned jewel cloaked in exclusivity, the employee dining room at The Mirage (or EDR, as those in the know say) is obviously a product of management who’ve learned that lesson.
Through an invite-only tour, Sin City Press was able to get an up-close look at a room where some of the hardest-working men and women on the Strip spend their lunch breaks, chowing down on free meals as they recoup from serving the tourist masses.
And while we tried to restrain ourselves as all great professional journalists do, we certainly owed it to our dear readers to sample a menu item or two, taking note of the homestyle flavors and comforting lunchroom aesthetic.
In so far as its environment is concerned, a meal within the confines of this hidden gem makes it easy to see how Mirage employees do their jobs with such big smiles.
“It’s a nice perk of working here,” said longtime Mirage employee Fiche LaManna. “The food’s pretty good, especially the Italian stuff.”
Tasty pasta and chicken breast accompany south of the border classics like chicken tamales in the delectable buffet lineup. Everything is neat, thoughtfully arranged and clean, which of course are top concerns in a buffet atmosphere.
Employees chat excitedly while they pick out just a few things they’d like to sample, though it’s certainly organized as an “all you can eat” affair.
Our favorite dish by far is the minestrone soup, which tastes as though Mirage has imported a bevy of Italian grandmas and put them to work. (Don’t worry; we asked — no imprisoned grandmas here).
Each bite of the soup is filling and hearty, a nod to the classic nature of this dining establishment that is a must-see — if you can get in.