Golden Gate – History

It opened in 1906 as the Hotel Nevada. In 1907 it was assigned Las Vegas’ first telephone with the number 1. In 1931, with gambling being re-legalized in Nevada, the Hotel Nevada was expanded and renamed Sal Sagev (Las Vegas spelled backwards.)

The hotel gained its current name in 1955 when a group of Italian-Americans from San Francisco Bay Area started the Golden Gate Casino. The 106-room, four-story hotel was renovated in 2005.

The Golden Gate was the first to serve a fifty cent shrimp cocktail in 1959, now a Las Vegas cliché. Called the “Original Shrimp Cocktail” on the menu, has become a mainstay of the San Francisco Shrimp Bar and Deli and is a favorite of both locals and tourists. It is what the Golden Gate is best known for. The idea came from owner Italo Ghelfi, who based it off of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

The Original Shrimp Cocktail consists of a regular-sized sundae glass filled with small salad shrimp and topped with a dollop of cocktail sauce. In 1991, the price was raised from 50¢ to 99¢. The price was raised in 2008 to $1.99. Unlike many other Las Vegas establishments that offer a 99-cent shrimp cocktail, the glass is not padded with lettuce or other fillers, which is often cited as the reason for the Original Shrimp Cocktail’s popularity. Three other varieties of the cocktail are available:

  • an imitation crab cocktail made with imitation crab in the same fashion as the Original Shrimp Cocktail, 99 cents
  • a combination crab-and shrimp cocktail made with small salad shrimp atop imitation crab, $1.99
  • the “Big” Shrimp Cocktail, made like the original, but using larger-sized shrimp, $2.99

Despite the varieties available, the Original Shrimp Cocktail is still the biggest seller at the San Francisco Shrimp Bar and Deli. It serves a ton of cold-water shrimp each week in tulip sundae glasses; the shrimp are harvested near Oregon, Washington, Alaska and the upper East Coast because the owner considers them whiter and meatier than other varieties. The sheer quantity of shrimp sold gives the small hotel the leverage of a large mega-resort with orders.

On March 20, 2008, Desert Rock Enterprises (owned by Derek and Greg Stevens) was approved to purchase a 50% interest.

On April 26, 2008, the price on the famous shrimp cocktail rose to $1.99, due to a rise in fuel costs; it was the first increase in seventeen years. To offer a trade-off, the casino now uses larger shrimp in the cocktail. Prior to the fuel increase, the casino lost about $300,000 a year on shrimp cocktails.

Golden Gate Players card holders can still pay the old price, resulting in a 40% increase in membership applications.

As of December 31, 2009, the price is now 1.99 for everybody. The players club members no longer receive the $1.00 discount.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “The Palazzo”, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.