The Peppermill is a Las Vegas institution; a breakfast place on the old strip where places like The Desert Inn and The Riviera once stood in prominence. So when my parents, who happened to be in Vegas at the same time, asked where to meet for breakfast, I said the Peppermill! Besides, I needed an excuse to get this landmark into my blog.
When you picture a morning after, 24-hour diner in Vegas, you are picturing the Peppermill. There is the big neon sign straight out of the '70s out front. Walking in, you have the restaurant to your right with the old-school counter, dark overstuffed booths, neon track lighting, and random trees all over the place. Straight ahead and slightly to the left is an old-school, shag-carpeted throwback lounge; one that you absolutely picture the old powers of Vegas spending time in winding down after a long day at the casino.
The place is inevitably packed, though fairly quiet; playing host to those that haven’t gone to bed, those wondering why they ever got out of bed, and even a few that are actually getting ready to start their day. Last year, I was one of the “wondering why I ever got out of bed” as I celebrated my post-bachelor party hangover by consuming as much coffee as they would serve me. It was a great night and a rough morning that ultimately landed me in the blog of Nick’s cousin John (also known as JohnnyKats… who happens to be the entertainment writer for the Las Vegas Sun…)
This time though, it was a bit different… I wasn’t completely hungover. After sitting down, and ordering large, though underflavored cups of coffee, I started flipping through the menu. While there was quite a bit that looked good, my eyes settled on the corned beef hash. I’m kind of on a corned beef hash breakfast kick currently; ordering it every chance I get. I got my eggs overeasy and an English muffin to go with it.
Besides being the go-to Strip breakfast place, and probably the site of countless old-school Vegas meetings/deals/and who knows what else, Peppermill is known for the large portions of food that they will serve you, and the fact that anything on the menu is available at any time during the day/night/early morning. Unfortunately, this does not necessarily equal “the best tasting food ever.” True to its diner roots, the food is the typical short-order stuff, kind of greasy, kind of salty, and kind of out of a can. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great as a hangover diner, which is why inevitably I’ll be spending Sundays there in subsequent college basketball weekends (refraining from using “NCAA” as they may claim some sort of copyright to Vegas weekends…). But the corned beef hash just wasn’t that good.
Where Nel Centro did a wonderful hash that was obviously from actual corned beef, Peppermill served corned beef hash that I’m almost certain came out of a can. It had the look and a bit of the aroma of dog food. The eggs were cooked well, but really couldn’t save the “hash,” and the English muffin was just buried in butter. I’m fairly certain I consumed somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500 calories from fat in that meal.
The Peppermill is a classic, and for good reason. It will always have a place on the Las Vegas Strip. I’m sure the walls have stories to tell. And it’s a place that I’ll definitely find myself at again, consuming cheap coffee and greasy food (trust me, there is a direct correlation between level of hangover and quality of meal). But speaking as a foodie, it’s not an awesome food spot. In fact, it’s a subpar food spot. But that’s what is interesting about some of these places around the world — they don’t always have to have the best food if they bring something else, and Peppermill has that extra something that when you walk in, you know you are experiencing a piece of Vegas history. It’s that coolness factor that can’t be dismissed.