With all the new fine dining options in Vegas, what's a starving student (or resident or visitor) to do?
Though it may be true that buffets are no longer as dominant in Vegas as they once were, there are plenty of options that will stave off hunger and even leave some change for the slot machines.
Pink's Hot Dogs
The original Pink's Hot Dogs opened in 1939 in Los Angeles, and so the pink-and-white striped fence is right at home at the Planet Hollywood Hotel on Las Vegas Blvd.
Fine dining it is not (though some might argue that the variety of unique toppings makes it so), but the price and location are right. Most hot dogs are between $3 and $6, and include creative concotions like the guacomole dog, bacon chili cheese dog, a Three Dog Night (hot dogs wrapped in tortillas, with cheese, bacon and onions), and the popular "Planet Hollywood" Dog -- a polish with grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon and cheese.
Pink's is open until midnight on weekdays, and 2 am on weekends.
Feast Buffet at Green Valley Ranch
So this is a buffet, but Vegas wouldn't be Vegas without them. Green Valley Ranch Resort's Feast Buffet in Henderson was recently voted "Best Brunch" buffet in Las Vegas by readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and the buffet offers more than just brunch.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy the six cooking stations that serve Italian, American, Mongolian, Chinese and other international foods. Prices differ depending on whether you have a Station Casino "boarding pass" from the resort. Breakfast with the pass is just $5, and without, it's $8. Brunch, lunch and dinner range in cost for non-pass users from $10 to $17.
The buffet is open from 8am to 10pm.
This diner in the unfortunately named Terrible's Casino offers unfancy food at unfancy prices. Customers enjoy the $10 prime rib, the $5 country fried steak and eggs, and the breakfast deals served all day. Bougainvillea is open 24 hours, and so attracts truckers, late-night partiers, and early morning travelers.
The buffet at Terrible's casino gets lousy reviews, but the Bougainvillea Café in the mezzanine level gets high marks for its deals and service.
And last but not least, and a complete secret...
Pizza at the Cosmopolitan
We couldn't find a name for this counter at the new, hip Cosmopolitan Hotel, but perhaps there is no need. Maybe "pizza" is the only name necessary. They don't advertise, so you'll need to ask around once you're in the hotel.
The counter serves up slices of freshly made pizza (and we mean fresh -- the dough, the sausage, even the cheese is grated fresh daily). The price is right, too. A slice of plain costs just $3.00, with $0.50 for each topping, making it possibly the best cheapest food on the Strip, and certainly at the Cosmopolitan.
If you want to work at any of these places or open your own restaurant, learn more about culinary arts schools in Las Vegas.