‘Huddled masses’ gather at Ellis Island

Sep 14, 2004 3:54 AM

Among the gems located just off the Strip is Ellis Island Casino and Brewery on Koval Lane.

The casino is not only popular with tourists who might be staying just a stone’s throw away, Ellis Island has developed a loyal locals following because of its popular mix of slot and video poker machines, bargain food specials and ongoing contests and promotions.

In fact, Ellis Island has gained a kind-of cult fame for its Tax Relief Party held after the tax-filing season and its monthly Street Parties, which feature an outdoor barbecue.

The great food deals include steak and prime rib specialties, seafood dishes and a superb jumbo shrimp special made from Ellis Island Brewery beer-batter.

The micro-brewed beer, incidentally, is first rate, and the freshly-brewed root beer is out of this world.

The casino, which is much larger than it appears from the street, features a locals-friendly mix of video poker, video keno and video slot machines.

Helping to create the "right" atmosphere that attracts locals players is general manager Mike Koniski. He worked his way up from dealer to floor supervisor to pit manager to casino manager and finally executive director of casino operations. Before joining Ellis Island he cut his casino teeth at the Gold Coast and Horseshoe casinos.

He holds a business degree from Detroit University and serves in the Air Force Reserve.

As noted, Ellis Island has a monthly Street Party that costs only $10 to attend. For the sawbuck, patrons get to eat and drink all day, from noon until 10 p.m. Barbecue foods like chicken and ribs are favorites at the parties, plus hamburgers, hot dogs and side dishes, along with all of the Ellis Island Brewery Beer people can safely handle.

Partygoers can even stop by early in the day, get a wristband and come back later in the evening at no extra charge. Regular Ellis casino players will also enjoy the six times points offered on the party day and drawings for a chance to win slot club points.