The less-than-healthy food options at the Rio during the World Series of Poker are well documented - and went unchanged for years until someone new came on the scene to give players a different choice.
Strange things started happening around the Amazon Room in 2011. You could see girls in yoga pants, bags in hand, dashing between tables.
An upstart going by the name of All-American Dave was offering up healthy alternatives complete with table-side delivery.
“Five years ago I had Antonio (Esfandiari), Brian Rast, (Jennifer) Tilly, Phil Laak,” Dave Swanson said, “and said I’m gonna cook you guys food out of my kitchen and bring it down to you twice a day.”
“Everybody started asking where the food was coming from,” he continued, “and each year it got a little bigger and a little bigger.”
Part Rolling Restaurant, Part Yoga Retreat
The early system involved an army of employees coming to the Rio armed with a big load of meals several times a day. They were tough to miss.
It became so popular the Rio couldn't ignore it any longer. It threatened to put a stop to it or charge All-American Dave a per-meal surcharge in 2012.
“I remember the day. We were lined up in the hallway with all our bags laid out,” Swanson recalled. “The director of catering for Caesars came up and said ‘What are you doing?!’”
“I started working with the Rio and we’ve formed a really good relationship.”
The two settled their differences and Dave now parks a food truck outside the back door of the Amazon Room for easy access.
But those food runners are still around for bonus advertising.
This isn’t your standard food truck set up for All-American Dave; it's part rolling restaurant, part fitness center with a chin-up bar, basketball hoop and the occasional yoga stretch.
The meal plan is a little steep for the average poker reporter but customers swear it’s worth every penny. If you have the plan, you’re just a quick Tweet away from a healthy alternative to the Poker Kitchen.