Little Nugget Casino & Diner To Close Down

By Ben Hamill - July 27 2020
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Little Nugget Casino & Diner To Close Down

Downtown Reno’s legendary Little Nugget Casino & Diner will close its doors for the second time this year at the end of July – and this time round, it will sadly be for good.

A world-wide crisis completely unforeseen as little as six months ago, said Little Nugget owner Rick Heaney, is the reason for the closure. Since all bars and pubs have been ordered closed by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, the Nugget will not make it through the winter, said the clearly disappointed owner.

Keeping the casino open is no longer considered economically possible, said the owner, and all employees have been informed accordingly. Those who choose to stay on at the venue until closing will according to Healey receive their due severance pay.

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Farewell Awful Awful

Often referred to as the Little Nugget by locals, Reno’s The Nugget Reno Casino is the smallest casino in Reno. Acquired by current owner Rick Heaney in 1989, the Little Nugget is world-famous for its Nugget Diner – and in particular, it’s Awful Awful burger.

Short for “awful big and awful good” the famous burger, which will be served until 5am on July 30, weighs in at a sturdy half-pound. Served on a toasted bun and a pound of fries, the famous Awful Awful features the legendary Little Nugget Diner house sauce, red onion, tomato, cheese, and lettuce.

Contrived by Dick Graves and his Nugget-partners in 1952, the famous Awful Awful burger is said to have first been served in northern Nevada during that year. The sought-after burger soon became a popular instalment at all of Graves’ Nugget venues – in Reno as well as in Sparks and Carson City. This of course means that Awful Awful is this year a proud 68 years old.

No Isolated Incident

But Reno’s Little Nugget and its iconic Awful Awful burger aren’t 2020’s only casualties. Reno’s Santa Fe Basque restaurant closed its doors for the very last time on July 11. The 70-year-old restaurant is an integral part of Reno’s history, but unable to survive nation-wide closures of pubs and bars, had no other option but to cut its losses and call it a day.

It really should come as no surprise that smaller casinos and restaurants are now having to consider permanent closures – especially since even the largest of casino groups, including operators such as Wynn Resorts, Circus Circus, and Tropicana, are all currently engaging in massive layoff procedures in an attempt to cut costs and stay afloat.

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