Tiffany’s Cafe still serving burgers and yesterdays amid slow times
Wed, Aug 29, 2012 (1:43 p.m.)
Photo: Christopher DeVargas
- Tiffany's Cafe
- 1700 Las Vegas Boulevard South
- (702) 444-4459
- For more information: tiffanyscafelv.com
It’s a much-too-quiet afternoon at Tiffany’s Café inside the old White Cross Drugs, where Gina Quaranto takes an order from a couple seated in a window booth—a momentary stir breaking up the monotony of a slow shift. Most people coming through the door ask only for directions or change, rather than menus. It’s been this way since White Cross Drugs closed its doors in March, leaving the famed Tiffany’s lunch counter on its own, with even the regulars believing it closed. A mostly empty parking lot doesn’t advertise otherwise.
“I think everyone was watching the news that day,” says Darné Morgan, cook and manager, referring to early media reports that the store and diner were both closing. “It’s just not the same.”
Employees are hoping for a turnaround when the store’s new owner, Jimmy Shoshani, opens White Cross Market, a neighborhood grocery store with a deli counter. It was supposed to open this summer but was delayed because of the overhaul the building needs, says Shoshani, adding that the new opening date is slated for October or early November.
While longtime residents and regulars will likely remain devoted, there might be other issues at play for Tiffany’s, namely the “cash only” sign behind the lunch counter and the lack of Wi-Fi. In fact, little has been changed over the decades, and diners may be choosing other options, especially with more Downtown restaurants opening. But others come for the old-school ambiance. Quaranto, who’s been volunteering her time at Tiffany’s because of hours cut back for waitstaff, uses social media to remind friends of its appeal and encourage them to eat there. “Yesterday, because I gave everyone a guilt trip, this place was packed,” Quaranto says. Packed: 22 customers.
Other regulars, including Mike Small, a lawyer who’s lived in the neighborhood since 1949, remain loyal. Supporting Tiffany’s is absolutely imperative in the world of strip malls and sports bars, he says. “It’s part of the fabric of this end of the Strip. There are very few places along the Las Vegas corridor that offer a look into the past. And the food’s good.”
Waitress Vicki Kelefis says that, for now, most of the customers are tourists off the Strip and regulars like Small. But delivery man Kevin Artiaga says word is spreading slowly and some of the regulars are returning. And Quaranto? “I’m going to see it out to some sort of conclusion,” she says of her volunteer waitressing. “To me, this is the coolest place in town.”