LAS VEGAS IS A PIZZA PARADISE
“For one week every year,” announced CBS Sunday Morning in a 2019 broadcast, “the center of the known pizza universe isn’t Naples, Italy, or New York (or even Chicago, it’s Las Vegas, when the International Pizza Expo (pizzaexpo.pizzatoday.com) rolls into town.” The 40th annual edition of the world’s largest pizza industry show will take place in March 19-21, 2024. Meanwhile, locals have their own celebration in the recently launched annual Las Vegas Pizza Festival (vegaspizzafest.com), scheduled for November 4, 2023.
Pizza has long been an integral part the culinary scene in Las Vegas. Tower of Pizza (1964-1979) featured a replica leaning tower, and regulars included mobster Tony Spilotro, played by Joe Pesci in Casino. The “pie” has expanded exponentially over the last decade-plus. First making his name as a pizza throwing sensation, native Californian Tony Gemignani’s numerous honors include 13-time World Pizza Champion and designation as one of only three official Ambassadors of Neapolitan Pizza in the world. In 2013, he opened high-energy Pizza Rock in Downtown Las Vegas. Reflecting the overall Vegas pizza scene, the full Italian menu features a range of pizza styles, including Detroit, Grandma, Neapolitan, Roman, and Sicilian.
Other Downtown destinations include Pop up Pizza inside the historic Plaza Hotel’s new Sand Dollar Lounge, featuring the Suprema slice, and my Fremont East go-to, Evel Pie. Get it on at this rocking Evel Knievel-inspired joint (think 1980’s East Village in NYC) with beer and pizza including the Barry White Pie, Cheezy Rider, and flaming hot Reaper Pie.
Got the late-night munchies? Head to the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’s third floor and follow the hallway lined with vinyl album covers for great New York-style slices at the pizzeria, aka Secret Pizza.