Yup, that’s a picture of Downtown Vegas, because the Fremont Experience has morphed into something talked about all over the world. It’s cool, the lights are amazing, the music plays, the players in the casinos wander from place to place and enjoy hot pretzels, huge drinks, and a few strange Vegas-ites that dress up and act weird (oh, sorry, probably not an act). Before Vegas got the idea to transform their downtown area, Reno gaming was flat and the city wondered what to do with their downtown area also, so they waited. Then came Fremont Street, but nobody wanted to block traffic on Virginia Street, so mostly nothing was done, except thousands of tons of really expensive paving stones were imported from China at a staggering cost. Unfortunately most of those are gone, because when winter came, they were really slippery and people kept falling on their ass, just like Reno has. Bummer, and kind of ironic!

So, while a few clubs have closed in Downtown Vegas, the buildings are still inhabited and the area is cool. In Reno, the downtown has contracted with the loss of several casinos like Old Reno, Onslow, Mapes, Riverside, Riverboat, Comstock, Nevada Club, Harold’s Club, Fitzgerald’s, Hilton, Horseshoe, Spur, Money Tree, and the Gem. Sure, half of those are a block away and several would have tanked anyway, but what says downtown Reno now? Really, I can’t get my mind around it.

About the only thing I really latch on to is the Awful-Awful burger at Jim Kelly’s Nugget. Its the best burger in the world and comes with so many freshly made, seasoned fries nobody can finish ’em – but who can resist trying? Want to know something else ironic? I’m a vegetarian and haven’t had one in 10 years, but I still fancy them – sometimes in my dreams, like Jimmy Buffet’s Cheeseburger in Paradise.

On another note, Jim Kelly came to Reno with Dick Graves (who opened the Nugget in Sparks) from Idaho when the state outlawed his slot machines. Now that’s all there are (slot machines) at the casinos in Idaho. Yup, that’s kind of ironic too. Well, I’m going to go have a garden burger. Yeah, I know, it’s not the same.