McDonald’s at the Aquarius – What’s to say? Found in the food court, a higher-priced than “normal” Mickey D’s as a convenience for Casino and hotel patrons… Now you can order up your McDonald’s® favorites next to the gift shop, open 24 hours, and with free WiF
Restaurant Review – McDonald’s
Aquarius offers some Great Eats , BUT… Stay Away From This McDonald’s!
We were in Laughlin March 27th – 29th 2014. We arrived Thursday afternoon and set up our usual 3-station computer center in a room at the Edgewater – after all, it was a business day. Fine dining was not on the menu this day and we simply wanted to go 20+ floors below to the casino floor to grab bags of food for the crew. Last year, we could have selected McDonald’s, Sbarro Pizza, or Nathon’s Famous. This year, the management at the Edgewater / Colorado Bell had taken drastic restaurant shuttering actions closing ALL THREE of the Edgewater’s 3 fast food places, and all but made a ghost town out of “Restaurant Row” on Colorado Belle’s B-Deck next door. We were aware of this, of course, but had a great review from our “advance team” Gene and Joan regarding Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop — the solitary replacement for the 3 now missing Casino floor fast food restaurants.
So we walked up, snapped the photo (below) and studied the menu. We closed the gap from looking like “menu studier’s” to close-up-and-personal to let the staff know we were now “ready to go” only to be told: “We’re closed!” Are you kidding me! The ONLY restaurant on the 24-hour Edgewater casino floor is closed at 10:30 PM!
Sure, on the level below us is the Grand Buffet (not food-to-go, and also closed), the Hickory Pit Steakhouse (yummy, not food-to-go, should have reservations, and also closed on Thursday night), and Coco’s Restaurant (they will reluctantly do take-out, but NOT FAST). W-T-H!
Restaurants close to McDonald’s
There is an In-N-Out-Burger just outside the Edgewater – across the lightly-traffic’ed boulevard, a great restaurant (when compared to McDonald’s and virtually the only stand-alone restaurant in Laughlin), but it too would be closed or near closing at 10:40 PM –we believed (wrong!). We thought that we had heard from someone that the same owners of the now-missing Edgewater McDonald’s also operates the Aquarius McDonald’s. The Edgewater McDonald’s was always busy, food cooked to order, fast service and cheerful staff for years. No idea why the decision to close it. So off we go up the Riverwalk past The Regency (cheapest well drinks and beers on the whole river) to the Aquarius. We are the only ones here. The Edgewater McDonald’s seemed to have done a stronger business than this one. Oh well. This Aquarius McDonald’s is open 24/7 and there are 2 employees there with nothing to do but to give us personalized and focused service! Woo Hoo!
Restaurant Review Recommendation for McDonald’s – STAY AWAY!
Wrong — As it turned out. So VERY wrong – Now that we are 2 casinos removed, we might as well resign ourselves to grab a quick bite rather than haul bags back to our satellite office — treks across 2 casino floors, a windy river walk, an escalator followed by an elevator trip 22 floors up. Besides, staying here, the food won’t cool off. We are only ones here. So we sat right in front of the two employees where we could see them and they could see us. The picture below taken from our stage-center table. FOUR PEOPLE – FOUR MEALS – NO WORRIES… Perfect communication. We ordered. As we waited, a few Aquarius patrons came up and ordered after we did: coffee’s and pricey McFlurries – no other meals. It took a long time for our order. In the old days Mickey D’s used to be known to make dozens of burgers and keep them under heat lamps – not these days – right? Certainly not for us who were the only customers when we ordered and would be the beneficiaries of carefully prepared fast and hot food. Sweet!
Our order, number 392, popped up on the red screen (you can see it in the picture below) and one of the two employees called our number verbally – though she never turned around to make eye-contact though we were RIGHT THERE. I went for the food for the four of us. We had ordered 3-each 2-cheeseburger meals with large fries & drinks and our new vegetarian amongst us ordered only a stand-alone large fry and a drink. The cashier / server “front-end” employee sat the bags in front of Megan without a word. No repeating the order. The employee did not ask me if we needed napkins or condiments. Just turned and walked away.
Food Quality – IT WAS BLOODY AWFUL!
No kidding. Is this franchise really owned by the same outfit who ran the now-closed Edgewater McDonald’s? The meat patties –all 6 of them– were lukewarm – no where close to hot. The buns were cold and stale — were they added after the cooking process? Or were the patties laying around already cooked for hours and briefly “nuked” and then added to cold and now-stale buns? The cheese was stiff and cold (not melted). Did these insufferable employees not have the sneakiness to nuke the old patties with the cheese? The whole burger was WORSE than cardboard. SIX horrible excuses for burgers. This cannot be McDonald’s protocol – can it?
Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking. “What did you expect at McDonald’s?” Remember we are down to the only operation in town at 10:45 PM on Thursday night (though most of the rooms at the Edgewater and Colorado Belle are now FULL for the Spring Break weekend and Willy Nelson Concert. And frankly, sometimes a McDonald’s cheeseburger (for a quick snack) can be an OKAY experience. This was not an OKAY experience. The three of us stared at these poor excuses for food, while our “forth” (our new vegetarian) was grinning like “I told you so…”
Restaurant Pricing: This in-casino McDonald’s has “marked-up” prices
Okay, so we mentally write-off the overpriced $30 hamburgers and refocus ourselves to enjoy the world-famous McDonald’s French Fries! We thought that some ketchup and maybe some Ranch would make it more like a meal. But none was out at the drink refill station or anywhere else where patrons might help themselves, and none had been provided nor offered when we were at the pick-up window.
Now there was a line for coffees and Deserts (McFlurries) so we sent Alex up to the pick up counter to request Ranch and ketchup for the four of us occupying the table smack dab center in front of the two employees. They ignored Alex. Nothing new. They had ignored the four of us the whole time.
Alex in not the most forceful being on the planet, so I went to help Alex get the employee’s attention. Minutes passed. The fries are now as cold as the 12 stale and cold bun halves: almost as cold as the refrigerated cheese sitting stiffly and awkwardly atop the lukewarm meat patties. We finally got the sullen employee’s attention. We were literally 10 feet away and watching the whole process out of astonishment by this time. We could hear her clearly ask for “a handful of ketchup and some Ranch for 4 people’s already received 4 large fries please.” The condiments are stored in a stainless steel rack that divides the cooking area from the bagging station under a blue screen you can see in the photos. The could-care-less employee finally responded and handed us ONE squeeze package of Ketchup and ONE tiny rectangular package of Ranch. We are now incredulous.
Customer Service at this McDonald’s – Abysmal
The employee had turned away so quickly after handing us the 1 ketchup and 1 Ranch that our second-delayed protestations that: “we are FOUR PEOPLE” went unnoticed. We asked Alex to continue to stand there to AGAIN request a handful of ketchup for FOUR PEOPLE and FOUR meals. Our apparently unreasonable thinking? – (4 people + 4 large fries @ 4 tiny squeeze packages each = 16 ketchup packages). Managements thinking? Divide ONE package among 4 patrons.
SIDEBAR: At In-N-Out Burger, within walking distance of the Aquarius, you can fill as many paper cups with ketchup as one might want to take back to their table. Our thinking when shooed out of the Edgewater for lack of a restaurant open at 10:30 PM that we dare not venture outside to In-N-Out as they too might be closed was WRONG! They were open. Dear Lord… We could have avoided this horrible, Aquarius-embarrassing, dining experience. In-N-Out’s hours are: 10:30 am – 1:00 am – Mon – Thur —and— 10:30 am – 1:30 am – Fri-Sat-Sun. NOTE TO SELF: Check that handy WhyLaughlin.com website for restaurants and their hours of operation!
Here at the McDonald’s in the Aquarius Hotel Casino, we were ignored once we had paid for the pitiful, questionably-safe, under-cooked, or re-cooked, overpriced food assembled and served by kiss-my-ass staffing. We were blown off with ONE ketchup package. We all agreed this was the worse dining experience (including fast food experiences) we could remember.
Restaurant Review Conclusion – Stay Away. Vote with your feet
Upshot? – STAY AWAY! – The Aquarius Hotel/Casino is thought by many Laughlin visitors to be their resort of choice. In most regards the Aquarius does an excellent job. It is difficult to believe that they would knowingly allow a franchise operator to taint the Aquarius operation and customer experience. If the Aquarius IS the franchise operator, that should then become a red flag for other aspects of hotel operation – but we suspect not. McDonald’s corporate could end up with some seriously bad press if employees at one of their restaurants are serving hours-old food to unsuspecting customers. The Southern Nevada Health District has oversight of the restaurants on Casino Row, but I doubt that their inspectors would ever show up in an “after hours” capacity to catch an otherwise-by-the-book franchise kitchen doing underhanded shortcuts that, admittedly, we only suspect from our one visit experience. It may be that the night shift employees are doing things the franchise owner is not aware of. The franchise operator might want to have the casino video security staff put a camera in the food prep area for the benefit of (1) the franchise operator, (2) McDonald’s Corp, and (3) the Aquarius Hotel/Casino for a possible catastrophic PR fallout brought on by the possible misdeeds of an iffy franchise operator within the walls of their cherished kingdom.
Aquarius offers some Great Eats – There is a franchise-owned Outback Steakhouse on the casino floor that is as good as most Outbacks though has had some operational set backs in the past year. There is a first class Italian restaurant ( Vineyard Ristorante ) also on the casino floor that is first rate and High-End Italian food — thought to be the best Italian — on the Nevada side of the river; but during the week and in the wee hours of the morning when these casinos actively want gamblers to be happy – can’t they find a restaurant operator to provide some minimally-average fare with some minimally-astute service?