When the neon lights illuminate the midnight sky of Las Vegas, the cooks at Monte's Pizza Restaurant are still hard at work. They dart about their kitchen, checking on saucepans of marinara and bubbling pots of angel hair pasta before showering dough in creamy ricotta cheese, fresh basil, and plump sausages and loading pies into fiery ovens. Others layer crusty rolls with meatballs, steak, and salami before turning their attention to juicy slabs of baby back ribs sizzling on grills. Throughout the week, this kitchen staff keeps late hours, making its restaurant a popular spot for late-night carousers or sleepwalkers dreaming of enchanted meatballs that will grant them eternal beauty.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Layer upon layer of cheese and a touch of tomato sauce blanket each thick yet airy crust baked to crispy perfection inside a rectangular tin. This Detroit-style pizza may not be as widely lauded as its Chicago and New York counterparts, but the square pies pack just as much flavorful crunch. Northside Nathan’s team loads crusts with classic Italian toppings such as sausage, capicollo, meatballs, mushrooms, anchovies, salami, and roma tomatoes. Equipped with the recipes of his parents, who opened their own pizza parlor in Detroit during the 1960s, Todd Malinowski brought the square-pan pizza west and opened Northside Nathan’s Detroit Pizza in the late 1990s. The eatery has since expanded to a second location, where Todd continues to toss the same dough that has earned him a spot on the Best of Las Vegas list for best pizza twice. The Malinowski family also piles fresh and hearty ingredients into a septet of Detroit-themed sandwiches, such as the model T and the cadillac.
Carefully wrapped cuts of meat and sausages and encased salami fly over the deli counter at Rocco's New York Italian Deli as staffers craft the homemade Italian entrees that compose this traditional deli’s menu. Owner Adam Kahn draws upon his family’s recipes to craft a selection of meat, cheeses, and desserts available by the pound and savory dishes that burst with classic Italian ingredients like a tomato vine when rent is due. Almost every morsel is made from scratch, from the sweet crust of Grandma’s cheesecake to the homemade bread made fresh every morning to ensconce the deli meats in a selection of hot and cold sandwiches. The deli also sources some specialty items straight from Italy to showcase the country's flavorful pepperoncini, piquant Reggiano parmigiana, and tart limonata, lending customers a taste of authentic Italian treats without needing to install a gelato-cast statue of David.
New York transplant Gerry and his son Shaun, owners of East Side Pizza at Boca Park, understand just how high their home state sets the bar for great family pizzerias. So several times a week, they send out orders for shipments of fresh pizza dough from their supplier back on the East Coast. It's just one of the little things that ends up having a big impact on the taste and texture of their hand-tossed, New York–style, thin-crust pizzas. The fresh dough is covered with housemade marinara sauce and topped with both traditional and surprising ingredients, creating specialty pies such as the barbecue chicken, chicken marsala, and eggplant rollatini, each sold whole or by the slice.
Their full menu features calzones, pastas and hot sandwiches, including their signature meatball sub topped with mozzarella. Choose to dine in, and you'll find yourself in a comfortable dining room surrounded by flat-screen TVs and sports memorabilia.
As Dion Katsoris learned how to craft gyros and souvlaki from his Grecian-born parents on the north side of Chicago, Michael Mortensen mastered Mamma Calasse’s homemade meatball on Taylor Street, the main drag of Little Italy in Bridgeport. Though the Chicago natives relocated to Las Vegas as strangers, they bonded faster than crayons left in the sun over a shared love of the Windy City, particularly its sports teams. The duo remains divided on which baseball team reigns supreme—the White Sox or the Cubs—but, to local eaters’ delight, they agree on treating Sin City to a menu of their childhood eats at Taste A Chi-Town Eatery. They pay homage to their Midwestern hometown with deep-dish pizzas and hearty Vienna beef hot dogs on pretzel buns; a page of pitas and souvlaki plates is dedicated solely to Dion’s Greek roots and the Mount Olympus officials that frequent the eatery for business lunches.