Welcome to Show Us Your Tats, a feature in which Eater talks to Vegas’ tattooed chefs and gets the stories behind their most intriguing ink.[Photos: Chelsea McManus]
When Mike Minor talks about his tattoos, he likes to say his right arm is dedicated to his life in Vegas, while his left arm showcases his work as a chef.
Minor, the chef behind Border Grill at Mandalay Bay, was a mere 23 when he etched his first ink on his arm, his wife’s name. “I got married to my wife and I wanted to put her name on my body. I actually drew the tattoo. It says, ‘Natalia.’ I love her and we grew up together. It was a way to show her my love. I know a lot of people do that,” he says of his wife of 16 years. “I threaten her all the time. ‘If you keep your shit up I’ll erase it.’”
That doesn’t mean it was an easy decision to permanently declare his love via ink.
“When I got my first tattoo, I was freaking out. What if I want this off? It took me two weeks to a month to get over that. But to put something permanent on your body? Then it becomes addicting. I’m an artist, I cook. I want to put something together on my body,” he says of his artwork.
Then he got his second tattoo commemorating the Steelers.
And it became an addiction. The Vegas native has an entire sleeve dedicated to all he loves in the city. A Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, a ’57 Chevy driving down the Strip, dice, a slot machine.
“My whole [right] arm became the Vegas theme,” Minor says.
He has the old Mint sign, four queen cards for the hotel. “My wife an I went to Hugo’s Cellar at the Four Queens for prom. It was one of those things that was totally a food moment.”
Even the former Dunes makes his arm. “My wife and I ran into each other that night they blew up The Dunes,” he says.
He also has his childhood hero Cookie Monster on his left arm, complete with a chef’s hat, knife and fork.
For the future, Minor wants to create an entire food fight with a cartoon carrot with a knife running and chasing a tomato and a zucchini chopping up another fruit.
That Steelers tattoo? It didn’t make the cut. He covered up the logo with the help of Dirk Vermin at Pussykat Tattoos.
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