Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Audio clip from interview with Jerry Fox, November 12, 2014

Audio file

Audio file
Download jhp000085.mp3 (audio/mpeg; 5.87 MB)





Part of an interview with Jerry Fox on November 12, 2014. In this clip, Fox talks about arriving in Las Vegas in 1955, and how his father came to own a delicatessen on the Las Vegas strip.

Digital ID



Jerry Fox oral history interview, 2014 November 12. OH-02183. [Audio recording]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


This material is made available to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. It may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity rights, or other interests not owned by UNLV. Users are responsible for determining whether permissions are necessary from rights owners for any intended use and for obtaining all required permissions. Acknowledgement of the UNLV University Libraries is requested. For more information, please see the UNLV Special Collections policies on reproduction and use ( or contact us at

Standardized Rights Statement

Digital Provenance

Original archival records created digitally


597,618,070 bytes




University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Libraries



I've been in Las Vegas fifty-nine years. I came here in high school in 1955. The population was about thirty-five thousand. There were only six hotels. When I first arrived, when you picked up the telephone, the operator would say, "Number please," and everything was a four-digit number. One year later, in 1956, is when they opened up with the dial your number and everything was Dudley two or Dudley four. What made me come here was my dad. I had a year and a half of high school to go at Las Vegas High. My dad was from Los Angeles; we all were. He was mainly in the liquor business and other businesses, but he was going broke. A friend of his who had a restaurant and fixture supply place in Los Angeles said to my dad, "Abe, why don't you open up a deli in Las Vegas?" My dad said, "I don't know anything about the food business." The guy said, "Well, I'll loan you the fixtures and I'll help you open up and design the place. It will be across the street from the Sahara Hotel." So my dad went on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles where all the famous delicatessens, cantors and a whole bunch of others, and he got menus from those places. Then he went ahead to those delis and got a couple of cooks and said, "Move up to Las Vegas. Help me open up, and I'll pay all the expenses and I'll give you a car and everything." And this is how he got started coming up here. My dad didn't know anything about the food business. He just worked hard and we had a lot of help, almost fifty employees, twenty-four hours a day. Also, we were being [robbed] in the restaurant for a long time, and my dad was ready to close the doors because he couldn't make any money. He brought in a detective agency and that's when we found out that a lot of the employees were taking items home?corn beef, pastramis, hams, roast beef. You'd sit down at the table. You'd get your check. And instead of you having four sandwiches on your check, there would be three. So now you'd leave a bigger tip and this is how the waitresses were making extra money. They would pay the cooks to not say anything about the extra sandwich or extra meal. And this is what was happening. I'm curious. This person who suggested that your dad come to Vegas? That was Harry Elster. He had a restaurant and supply place down on, I think, Los Angeles Street or Spring Street, downtown Los Angeles. Did he have business dealings in Las Vegas that made me aware of the opportunity? No. But years later, since my dad owed Harry Elster that favor because Harry Elster helped my dad get business, years later Harry Elster went broke. It was some twenty years later. So my dad was doing okay, not making a lot of money, but he was getting by. He brought Harry Elster up here to open up a restaurant and supply place. My dad was a partner and financed him. And Harry Elster started stealing from my dad. Oh, my gosh. This and that. So that dissolved itself and that's that. I read in the newspaper; there was an article back in 2004 about your dad and Foxy's Deli, and they described your dad as a practical joker. Oh, he was. Why would they say that? He had a very close friend that was getting married again and the guy goes to Hawaii for his honeymoon. So my dad had a case of pineapples sent up to his room. Like, who needs pineapples? You're already in Hawaii. He just did a lot of pranks and things. He had a great sense of humor. He helped build Las Vegas in its own way. He was very charitable. In fact, my dad helped start the Golden Gloves here in Las Vegas with Hal Miller, who was on the police department. It was funny, Hal Miller had a German shepherd working with him. You know how these officers have dogs. Well, Hal Miller's dog would only understand Jewish. That's all he spoke was Yiddish, so all the dog knew were the Jewish commands that he taught him. That's funny. What else would you like? Don't worry. Relax. We're fine. So then they also said in this article that a lot of celebrities hung out at Foxy's. Oh, yes. In fact, my dad?I'm very, very proud of my father. We were the first restaurant to let blacks come in. How did that happen? How did that occur because that is one of the reasons? It just was. We never discriminated against anything and anybody. So you never didn't allow them in; you just opened your doors and they were there. So blacks would come in. A lot of the stars would come in. Then my dad would deliver to the back of the Sands Hotel where Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole, some of the black entertainers, were staying. We delivered back there because they stayed in a cottage in back of the Sands. We were the first ones to really initiate that.