STEAK ‘n SHAKE Ain’t Always Right In Sight

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The pickles used to be on top of the burger, the chili used to be greasier (and slightly less spicy), the Chili Mac was bigger, its “secret sauce” was plain ketchup, and the steakburgers were steak-ier…

JE–SUS F*CK–ING CHRIST…couldn’t they get anything right?

But the milk shake, they got right. As good or better than any you’ll taste….anywhere. It is the ne plus ultra of soda fountain shakes and it puts every other fast food “shake” to shame…save maybe In-N-Out’s.

Is ELV being too picky? Well, yeah, and we’re kind of joking too. To be fair, founder Gus Belt and his widow (who was running the operation when ELV fell in love with it in the 6os), probably aren’t rolling over in their graves over what’s happened to their creation…unlike, say, the McDonald Bros. or Harlan Sanders.

In fact, the composition and taste of the dishes we remember so well is remarkably similar to the core products that launched this operation. Where it goes off the rails is in offering everything from salads to swiss and mushroom to…wait for it….chipotle/guacamole burgers!

WTF? Is any of this necessary? Do people walk into Steak ‘n Shake looking for a *&(#%$ chipotle burger?

Imagine, if you will, leaving Las Vegas to seek your fortune in say…New Hampshire. For years you’ve been addicted to In-N-Out burgers, love the short, high-quality menu, went there as a kid, and consumed them through high school. Suddenly, thirty years later, the bigwigs running INO decide to expand to Nashua (pop. 107,217!). You can’t wait. You regale family and friends with tales of fresh cut fries and “animal-style” double-doubles. Then, salivating with suspense, you run to the opening of New Hampshire’s first installment of this iconic institution and find a salad bar, bbq and bacon and (*&^#$% GUACAMOLE BURGERS on the menu!!!! How would you feel?

Yeah, that’s how ELV felt.


Steak ‘n Shake was the In-N-Out of its day. Simple. Delicious. Perfect.

Stick with the basics —  the classics that made it a Midwestern icon — and you’ll get a reasonable facsimile of the tastes that made this place famous, and of the satisfaction ELV, and so many others, have secreted in their memories.

Order anything else and you’re on your own.

ELV’s lunch came to $12.78 + a $3 tip. In 1970, it would’ve cost him $1.50.


In the South Point Hotel and Casino

9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89183

702.796.7111 (no reservations, be prepared to stand in line for at least 15 minutes)

MICHAEL’S – They Shoot Horses Don’t They? (Revised)

We at ELV have thought long and hard about our withering critique of this place, and have come to a completely opposite conclusion.

Most of the review is unchanged, but we’ve added a few paragraphs at the end that gives the devil his due, and makes a modest proposal that all major Strip properties should consider. (Hint: If every hotel had a Michael’s, perhaps we’d all be better off.)

So scroll down a couple of posts and while you’re reading, consider what a great tourist attraction a “gourmet room” (circa 1975) would make.