March 10, 2008: The wonderful little El Morocco on the Las Vegas Strip was torn down this afternoon. Located next to the La Concha and the Peppermill Restaurant, the El Morocco opened in 1964. It was originally a Motel. The Bank of Las Vegas had a branch in the main building and the lobby was located there as well. The architecture with its scalloped windows fit right in with the nearby La Concha. It was briefly called Ash Resnick's El Morocco. Jack Dennison opened his very popular eatery, Jack Dennison's Copper Cart restaurantt that was known for its steaks and prime rib dinners. The Copper Cart later became the Carving Cart after Dennison had moved on.
A casino replaced the Bank of Las Vegas in the 1970s. In addition to the casino there was a coffee shop, cocktail lounge and a full service beauty salon
The motel stayed in operation through the 1990s. The casino portion of the main building became a gift shop in 1983. The motel lobby became the popular Gingseng Korean B-B-Que Restaurant in the 1990s.
By 2000, that restaurant had closed and the entire building became a souvenir store and internet cafe. Part of the motel wing was demolished in October, 2006.
The rest of the motel wing and the main building were slated for demolition and that process began on Friday.
The loss of the El Morocco is sad. The Strip continues to be overtaken by large faux Tuscan and Mediterranean architecture that is devoid of character. The El Morocco was a hold-over from the days when the Las Vegas Strip celebrated roadside architecture and signage. It would have been a wonderful addition to the Neon Museum and joined the La Concha there. But, sadly, it was not to be.
The Peppermill which also was near the El Morocco is threatened as well. Though it is a popular eatery, the truth is that the land that Peppermill sits on is very valuable and that could doom the famed eatery and Fireside Lounge to the wrecking ball.
We will keep you posted!
(Copied without permission from the FABULOUS "Classic Las Vegas" Blog - see link below...)