Hello, everyone and welcome to Let’s Read An Old Menu! This is a somewhat irregular column in which I, your humble LibraryLass, look at restaurant, hotel, and lunch counter menus from the 19th and 20th– and today for the first time, 21st, centuries. Sometimes things will be familiar, sometimes they’ll be weird. But one thing you can count on is that they’ll almost always have cottage cheese on the menu, and they’ll almost never actually explain what’s in anything.
What’s For Lunch?
Picture this: it’s 2007 and the coolest place in the universe is the Las Vegas Hilton, which contains on its lobby floor an entire miniature theme park dedicated to your six favorite TV shows: Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek, The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek Enterprise. Oh, I was in heaven, alright, I insisted we go to this one when my dad took us to Vegas for what is still the only time in my life. It did not disappoint.
Is the restaurant still there? If not, what can we find out about it?
The hotel’s still there, but both Hilton and Star Trek are long gone– today it’s the Westgate Las Vegas.
In the 1990s Star Trek fandom was having a moment that it’s never equaled before or since. Star Trek nerdery was truly mainstream. Las Vegas was having a moment, too. No more was it the seedy, seething Sin City, it was a funtime destination for all ages! Viacom, Hilton, and Cedar Fair (parent company of Knott’s Berry Farm, Cedar Point, Great America, King’s Island, and a slew of other great amusement parks around the country) saw dollar signs. Together they built a place, a glorious place, one part museum, one part theme park, one part shopping mall, and all parts tourist trap. The Experience had everything, including a cadre of major Trekkies on staff who went to the effort of creating official backstories for their characters and remaining completely in character at all times. If you love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Pandora- The World of Avatar, or Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, you have this place to thank.
Unfortunately by 2008 the boom times were long over for both Star Trek and Vegas, and the Experience’s tenth season would be its last. Even the promise of a newer, hipper, rebooted Star Trek film to come soon could not save it, and despite attempts to relocate from just off the Strip to Fremont Street, Star Trek: The Experience closed its doors for good in September of 2008. Personally, I blame Brunt. (…Eff. See. Ay.) Most of the authentic props and costumes on display were later sold at auction.
Cover’s just a nifty picture of the Enterprise-D.
It’s mostly pretty standard 21st century casual restaurant stuff, but the sheer number of Star Trek in-jokes is great in and of itself. It seems to have left the menu by the time this one was printed, but I remember (and know from finding at least two older versions of the menu elsewhere in qualities not quite suitable for the article) that a long-time mainstay of the menu was the Tribble Tenders. I think my sister may have ordered them when my family went.
The dessert menu was gone by this time too, but I found a PDF version of the 2007 menu on archive.org.
And this is the shortened drink menu, the original was like four pages long. If you want to make any of these for yourself, one of the hosts of The Ugly Couch Show was a bartender there and shares the recipes here. Honestly, the Warp Core breach may just be how I want to die someday.
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Next Time: More Touristy Shit