If you're looking for something to eat before or after visiting the Hoover Dam, you might find that there aren't a whole lot of options. Especially if you wait until you're at the dam to decide that you want to eat locally and not head back to Vegas. Especially since the cell reception in those canyons is spotty. Especially if you didn't do a lick of research at the hotel room prior to leaving, which would have been a great idea, don't you think?
I managed to get enough internet connectivity on a stretch of Route 93 to identify Southwest Diner, in beautiful Boulder City, NV, as a candidate for lunch. Glad I did.
First, the dam. I refuse to use the word "damn" in any way in the post, because that'd be some hacky writing. My writing is hacky enough as it is, so I don't need any darned help in that regard.
The dam is impressive. I recommend taking the 1 hour tour (the longer of the two), which brings you inside of the structure. Our tour guide was fantastic. Very knowledgeable, and just funny enough to keep people interested.
I wanted to get to the Hoover Dam Bypass bridge, which presumably offers excellent views of the dam, but I didn't have time (had to get to the diner, you know). But I'd suggest trying to make some time to fit that aspect of the visit as well.
As many have noted, you can drive over the dam to the Arizona side, and park for free. Or you can pay on the NV side, right before the dam.
Back to the food.
Boulder City is a very cool little town. Built when the dam was being constructed to house the workers. Once I got into town I saw that there are all sorts of restaurants, but I had my heart set on the Southwest Diner.
The menu has some "southwest" stuff like chili, some "Mexican" dishes, a bunch of burgers, salads, eeeeeeeeetc. I figured I'd take a risk and go for the fish tacos. Ordering fish tacos can be a hit-or-miss proposition. Often, too often, they are horrible, boring, bland things with tilapia. In this case it, was a hit.
The fish was breaded and fried, rather than battered. No matter, it was plentiful, crispy, and not tilapia. I forget what it was (cod?), but it wasn't tilapia, which earns it points right out of the gate.
Topped with some cheddar, lettuce, a salsa, and chipotle mayo, and served in corn torillas! Corn tortillas are always preferable. Served with rice and beans, which I didn't really try; the two tacos were more than enough.
Meals are apparently served with a completely acceptable large salad. Hell, the tomatoes even seemed ripe.
I asked the server what type of beer they have, and her list started at "Bud, Bud Light,..." and went downhill from there, if that's possible. I heard "Corona," which I can't stand, but it seemed to be the most interesting of the lot, and since I was somewhat close to Mexico and all. Don't expect much in the way of craft beers here, and that's a shame. I didn't even inquire on the wine. I have a feeling that selection was equally as unimpressive.
Yes, that's right, not only did I take a picture of a glass of water, but I'm including it here. If you ask me, you just don't see enough pictures of glasses of water on the internet.
There's a nice outdoor patio with comfortable seating. The waitress couldn't have been nicer. Water is served in large mason jars, which is always a nice touch. Lots of water is a good thing. Very little water is a bad thing. A pleasant experience overall.
There was this in the restroom next to the sink. It had one of those little ice cream tasting spoons in it. I examined this bowl of white stuff for much longer than you think I did and longer than anyone should, keeping my distance of course, and determined that I should probably not eat it. So I didn't. Let's hear it for natural selection.
There are probably comparable and better options in Boulder City, but you could certainly do a lot worse. It beat the pants off of eating anywhere near Fremont Street, which was my next destination. I recommend avoiding Fremont Street at all costs. It smells like the rotting corpse of hopes and dreams.
Southwest Diner : 761 Neveda Hwy : Boulder City, NV : 702.293.1537