I called a long-time friend, who I first met back in 1979, Jeneane Marie, and asked her if she was hungry? It had been a few years since we had connected with this super great singer. We ran into each other a few weeks earlier at the Bootlegger Bistro (a great restaurant frequented by a ton of locals and entertainers) and it was decided there and then, we needed to get together. Thank God, she was hungry! We talked about where would be a good place to go, and suddenly there was only one place to go– Where we used to go years ago, Bob Taylor’s Ranch House at 6250 Rio Vista St. 89130.
This reporter arrived in our Village in late 1965, and one of the first restaurants I took my family to, after Hank Greenspun—publisher of the Las Vegas Sun— suggested it to me was The Ranch. Taylor had started the ranch a lot earlier strictly as a fun thing to do for his friends, who would come out to his Gun club to shoot Skeet or Trap on the weekends.
A brief history is in order here: Taylor was a world war two vet, and settled down after the war in Las Vegas. Bob created The Gun club as a place to stage trophy shooting events for Trap and Skeet shooters, who would come from all over the world to compete in competitions, where shooters won trophies and prizes like silver belt buckles, and even an automobile in the big events, and then settle in for a hearty home cooked meal consisting of Chicago packed steaks cooked over Mesquite coals. In those days it was a long drive from Vegas on an old two-lane road called the Tonopah Highway (now U.S. 95) to North Las Vegas, and then on a dirt road to the Club house. You really needed to be hungry (or thirsty) to make the trip. And, in those days, there was also an actual free-swimming pool right in front of the club. Today the pool is gone and filled with dirt and topped off with grass and flowers.
Taylor was host and chief cook in those early party days, and even after he opened it up to the public in 1955. He always tried to welcome his regulars upon arrival (I would become one of those regulars). One thing everyone knew about the man standing over the open flames of Mesquite, was that Bob Taylor had a magic thumb to cook your steak to perfection—He would press down on the steaks and the thumb which told him if it was rare, medium, or well done. The ranch is widely accepted as the oldest operating restaurant in Las Vegas. Bob enjoyed life to the fullest, dying in 2010 at 87. He sold the ranch in 1980, and the new owners came in and left it just as it was—full of old Western décor, signature photos of famous Western stars such as John Wayne, John Payne, and Gene Autrey (you get the idea) and rustic furniture. Elvis Presley and Ann Margret were filmed there shooting skeet in the movie “Viva Las Vegas.” When Ann was filmed shooting, it was Bob breaking the targets just out of sight of the camera.
Oh, yeah, the dinner! It was perfect. Jeneane had two Lobster Tails, I had an 8 oz. Filet Mignon steak with a huge baked potato. The menu is a wee bit pricy, but well worth it. I just want to tell ya folks, the food and service couldn’t have been any better, and the place was filled to the rafters. Reservations are necessary. I must warn you, the parking lot is a dirt lot (never was anything but dirt) and it has a touch of off-road in the parking section for extra parking. It could be a challenge for low sitting cars. Just sayin’.
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
Racing fans can soon hear the magical sound of NASCAR cars screaming around Las Vegas Motor Speedway. More than a dozen NASCAR drivers – including Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champions Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch – will be turning laps at the 1.5-mile oval on Wednesday, Jan. 31, and Thursday, Feb. 1, during two days of testing in advance of the 2018 NASCAR season. LVMS grandstands and the Neon Garage will be open and available to the public free of charge, so fans can get an early racing fix roughly a month before the speedway’s March 2-4 NASCAR triple-header weekend.
Erik Jones – the 2017 MENCS Rookie of the Year – Chris Buescher, William Byron, Cole Custer, Ty Dillon, Drew Herring, Kyle Larson, Paul Menard, David Ragan, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.,, and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. will be among the drivers joining Keselowski and Busch at LVMS. Additional drivers may be added to the list in the coming weeks, and that information will be available on www.LVMS.com.
Gates will open at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time, and testing will run until 5:00 p.m. Food trucks, concessions and restroom facilities will be available for anyone coming to the track for the testing sessions, and free parking will be provided. LVMS’ first 2018 tripleheader weekend will consist of Stratosphere Pole Day and a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, March 2, the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, March 3, and the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube on Sunday, March 4.
LVMS will be the first track in history to host two NASCAR tripleheader weekends in the same year. Race fans can already lock in their tickets to both LVMS tripleheaders and capitalize on discounted prices for buying annual passes for all six NASCAR races. The track’s 2018 six-pack of events will show off several enhancements the track has planned for the coming months as well.
The City of Las Vegas will be hosting a series of great ticketed events throughout the Winter, beginning with a world-famous dance company, a Grammy–Award winning musical group, a well known local youth group production, a Mexican ensemble, and some great story telling.
Entertainment, knowledge, and important social messages will guide Fly Dance Company’s 90-minute show Saturday, Jan. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St. Based in Houston, FLY offers entertaining, high-energy, clean-cut performances great for school-aged audiences and families. FLY specializes in theatrical hip-hop that incorporates acting and features highly skilled dancers. Tickets are $20 plus tax for adults and $10 plus tax for youth under 18.
Four-time Grammy Award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo will perform at Sammy Davis Festival Plaza, 720 Twin Lakes Drive, Saturday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m. as part of their North America tour. Celebrating over 50 years of music, the native South African group continues to preserve their musical heritage while performing songs with messages of peace, love, and harmony worldwide. They have recorded with numerous artists such as Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, and Sarah McLachlan; their songs have been featured in a variety of films including “The Lion King,” “Coming to America,” and “Invictus.” Tickets are $30 plus tax.
Learn more about Nevada’s history with an original production by Rainbow Company Youth Theatre, “Adventure in the Sagebrush.” The whole family can enjoy this lively, tuneful, entertaining peek into the history of the Silver State. Show times are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 9 and 10 at the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St. Tickets are $6.
The Villalobos Brothers will take the stage at the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St., Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m. Acclaimed as one of today’s leading contemporary Mexican ensembles and chosen as 2015’s Musical Artist in Residence for the New York Botanical Garden, The Villalobos Brothers have delighted listeners from Latin America, India and Russia to Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Latin Grammy Awards. Their original compositions masterfully blend elements of jazz, rock, classical and Mexican to deliver a powerful message of love, brotherhood, and social justice. Tickets are $16 plus tax for adults and $8 plus tax for youth under 18.
Listen to Las Vegas valley residents share their “The One That Got Away” stories at “StorySlam,” Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St. The event, a popular celebration of words and experiences, will run about 90 minutes and admission is pay-what-you-can. Since the material may be unsuitable for children under 13, parental guidance is suggested. For tickets and more information for these and more events, visit www.artslasvegas.org or call 702-229-ARTS (2787).
Well, gang, hope you enjoyed my little story about The Ranch,