Richard Strafella

Richard Strafella, chief operations officer for Gila River Hotels & Casinos, is proud of the modern, new Fullhouse Café.

Diners looking for diverse dishes for a leisurely breakfast, productive business lunch or rich date-night dinner will find they can’t lose if they try their hand at the new Fullhouse Café.

So say officials at the restaurant at Gila River Hotels & Casino-Wild Horse Pass.

They say visitors will find comfort food to meet a variety of taste buds in a cozy and open environment.

It replaced Café 24/7 but is still open all day and night to accommodate late-night partiers, early risers and anyone else who wants to grab a quick, casual bite or linger over a longer, more upscale meal.

“My vision was to create neighborhoods within the restaurant,” Richard Strafella, chief operations officer for Gila River Hotels & Casinos said. “We were thinking about how diverse our customers are. We wanted to make it bright and open and inviting.

“You come in off a casino floor – that’s a little intense. Here, you can come in and take a breath. We wanted to try to create everything for everybody. We have locals, tourists, local businessmen.”

The extensive breakfast menu features many items, including a burrito for $8.95 with two scrambled eggs, chorizo, breakfast potatoes and a cheddar jack cheese blend inside a flour tortilla.

The “Eggs Your Way” breakfast at $7.95 is two eggs any style, with a choice of bacon, ham or sausage, along with either breakfast potatoes or hash browns and toast.

Dulce de leche pancakes for $7.95 filled with custard with cinnamon churros and caramel sauce on top are a signature dish at Fullhouse Café.

Decadent banana split pancakes, also at $7.95, feature whole bananas, strawberries, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Another popular dish is the chicken and waffles for $8.95 created with buttermilk fried chicken, flavored with housemade jalapeño honey. Omelets customized to diners’ tastes are also well-liked breakfast items.

The Chef’s Creation Run Wild Omelet at $14.95 has six eggs, ham, smoked bacon, Polish kielbasa, hash browns and Swiss, American and cheddar cheeses in it.

“The omelets are huge,” Strafella said. “You can create anything you want. The breakfast burrito is very, very popular. The presentation speaks for itself.”

An all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet for $14, including a drink, is available from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Many breakfast items on the menu can be ordered anytime. The full breakfast menu is offered from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily.

To wash down breakfast, lunch or dinner or just get a caffeine fix, Fullhouse Café offers Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee.

Customers can also pick from the many sandwiches, salads, burgers and starters on the menu at Fullhouse Café.

The Wild Horse Pass salad with diced chicken breast, red seedless grapes, sliced Swiss cheese, candied pecans, mixed greens and poppy seed dressing is one of the lunch and dinner choices.

A kale and quinoa salad includes baby kale, quinoa, dried cranberries and roasted almonds tossed in a chipotle ranch dressing.

Those craving meat can indulge in a guac burger, an all-beef patty covered with housemade guacamole, topped with green chiles and tortilla confetti.

A towering traditional club sandwich offers lots of protein in a triple decker of ham, turkey, smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise in customers’ choice of bread.

“Lunch is very, very important to a lot of folks here,” Strafella said. “We do get extremely busy here at lunchtime.”

Those who want to spice up their lunches or dinners can try the spicy pork chile verde with tomatillos, New Mexico green chiles, diced russet potatoes and cotija cheese on a plate with fresh corn tortilla chips and flour tortillas.

Fullhouse Café has several Asian dishes including orange chicken, sweet and sour pork and Singapore mei fun, which has marinated pork, shrimp, carrots, red onion, shredded cabbage and rice noodles tossed in a classic Asian sauce.

Vegetarians and vegans also have their pick of flavorful food at the casino restaurant. Avocado tacos, vegan meatloaf and a vegan burger are also on the menu.

“The portions are enormous,” Strafella said. “The pricing is reasonable. They get great value. They leave very happy and full. The word is comfort food.”

He said the average bill is about $12.95 to $15.95 per person.

Besides the vast menu, which is more expansive than what had been offered by Café 24/7, the space has a more modern, refreshed feel, Strafella said.

With blue, green and pink furnishings and décor, one area is ideal for meetings and large groups as it is in a quiet corner of the restaurant, while the main dining room in the center of the café offers tables and booths with plenty of room between them for those using walkers.

In the back of the restaurant, people dining alone can sit at a counter built for 12 customers to sit at a time. Next door to Fullhouse Café is a poker room, where players can order food and drinks without having to leave their games.

Several televisions are situated around the café so customers can watch their favorite sports, casino games or anything else they’re interested in while they eat and socialize.

“We call it a café,” Strafella said. “We feel like it’s upscale.”

Friendly employees work at Fullhouse Café, many of whom have worked at the casino a long time, and they know some customers by name, he said.

Strafella understands what customers are looking for when they visit the hotel and casino as he worked for nearly 40 years at hotels/casinos in Las Vegas, the last 25 years as a senior vice-president. He came to Gila River Hotels & Casinos about three years ago.

“Our staff takes so much pride in what they do and how they present themselves,” Strafella said. “Employees here take things very seriously.”

Information: wingilariver.com.

(1) comment

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