Do people really eat at Vegas buffets on Thanksgiving? That seems sad.

Of course they do, and it’s not necessarily sad. There isn’t a day on the calendar that folks aren’t lining up at our buffets. And why not, especially given the dramatic improvements we’ve seen in buffets in recent years? These aren’t your grandpa’s chuckwagons anymore.

Still, set up a retro carving cart loaded with a giant turkey and a heat lamp, and staff it with a chef sporting a hat as tall as his knife is long, and folks will line up all day and night to stuff themselves with a treat they may otherwise be too tired or too far from home to enjoy. Plus, not everyone who visits Vegas celebrates the American Thanksgiving tradition.

And while lining up at a Vegas buffet may not seem very “Thanksgivingy” to you, for many, it can be a great way to escape holiday responsibilities and family pressures for a day. One of the great things about our restless city is that you never have to be alone.

For people who just moved here and are far from family, or for others just passing through, the Strip provides a huge, dynamic family that anyone can join—bickering and petty grievances optional.

I remember a Vegas restaurant back in the 1970s that had a horse corral in the middle of it, but nobody else remembers it. Am I crazy?

No, but you’ll need crazy good luck finding anyone else who can verify your story. Even my memory of Los Rancheros has a lot of holes in it. I recall it being located in the northwest, near Lone Mountain Road, west of Bob Taylor’s Original Ranch House (which remains open). Like Bob Taylor’s (and a host of other Western “ranch house restaurants”), Los Rancheros was situated in a converted house.

As you recall, it had huge picture windows in the main dining room that looked onto an equestrian arena where horses were often exercised during dinner. One detail that remains crystal clear in my memory is the ranch-style beans, served steaming hot in a small iron kettle.

If anyone out there can fill in my memory gaps, please e-mail me.

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