—Carrying on a libidinous affair with the wife of an Italian count.
—Transforming a desert into a hedonistic hotbed for extravagance and wealth.
—Posthumously becoming a hamburger.
That last one is courtesy of Siegel’s 1941—an all-hours reliquary of Old Las Vegas staples, open now at the El Cortez. (Slideshow here, menu here.)
Before we continue, let’s pause for a brief history lesson:
The El Cortez opened its doors in 1941 and was purchased by Siegel and his associates in 1945. Today, it’s the longest continuously running hotel and casino in Las Vegas.
Great. Just great. Now, moving along...
You’ll head over here seeking an unglamorous respite from the Strip in the form of delicatessen-style booths and no-frills diner classics. Look up, and you may find Siegel and his doleful gun moll Virginia Hill staring back at you. Look down, and you may find a plate of Irish-corned-beef hash or chicken parm. Neither of which will stare.
What you’re really searching for, though, is a good sandwich. Fortunately, they’ve got Italian beef, gruyère Monte Cristos, original French dips and, of course, half-pound burgers named after Siegel, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky.
They’re not so scary when they’re hamburgers.