Stories of the Steer: Oscar Goodman

Stories of the Steer: Oscar Goodman

At the Golden Steer Steakhouse, we’ve been honored with countless famous and infamous patrons dining here throughout the years. The list is endless when it comes to all who have walked through these doors and gifted this restaurant with its lively memories and stories. 

Oscar Goodman, well-known as an attorney who became a politician and served as a mayor of Las Vegas, is one of those patrons whose story is imprinted into our story. 

Goodman has a special place here at the Steer as he would often dine here with mobster Tony Spilotro, also known as “Tony the Ant”. The dinner scenes that happened in the 1995 film Casino are re-enactments of live events that involved the two of them at the Golden Steer Steakhouse. 

Goodman’s Story:

Born in 1939 in Philadelphia, Goodman was raised in a Jewish family and grew up to marry Carolyn Goodman, his wife who later succeeded him as mayor, and had four children with her. 

He is most-well known for going from “mob lawyer” to mayor, and during his career as a defense attorney represented defendants who were some of the leaders of organized crime in Las Vegas at the time, such as Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, Meyer Lansky, Nicky Scarfo, and the well-known Tony Spilotro, to name a few. 

In his career as a politician, he was elected mayor in 1999, served three terms, and he was succeeded as mayor by his wife, Carolyn Goodman. During the time he served, he was quite beloved and was called Las Vegas’ “most popular mayor” and “Happiest Mayor in the Universe”. He was also the first Las Vegas mayor to have his image put on $5 and $25 casino chips. 

Nowadays, Goodman serves as Of Counsel to Goodman Law Group - a Las Vegas firm founded by his son. 

Goodman and Spilotro:

In scenes of the movie Casino that were based on events that took place at the Steer, Goodman played himself, as he was with Spilotro when he dined at the Steer, and Joe Pesci played Spilotro in the film. 

Goodman once recollected his well-known relationship with mobster Tony Spilotro, who was the attorney’s client, and who he traveled and dined with often at the Golden Steer Steakhouse. At The Mob Museum during a 25th anniversary retrospective of Casino, he recalled how the mobster was under investigation throughout the United States because he was seemingly always in trouble. 

The two had an amicable relationship in which Spilotro made all of their accommodations when they travelled - always booking them with adjoining rooms because he didn’t like to take his daily early morning coffee alone, and he would noisily wake Goodman early every morning so that he would join him for his daily coffee. 

The two were a pair in which Goodman kept Spilotro out of prison, and Spilotro provided Goodman with renowned criminal cases. 

How We Remember Goodman at the Steer:

In honor of Goodman and his immense impact on the history of the Golden Steer Steakhouse, Booth #11 is dedicated to him and his wife. We hope that the stories of how he and other Las Vegas historical figures shaped Las Vegas right here in the Steer will live on.