Through the rest of Pizza Week, we're going to be meeting the people who make the neighborhood pizzerias of this city run. Right now: John Arena of Metro Pizza.
When John Arena opened his first Metro Pizza in 1980, the pizzeria landscape was quite different than it is now in Las Vegas. The city only had 19 pizzerias. “The town was still small and there was a lot of opportunity,” Arena said.
Now his Metro Pizza has five locations with a sixth opening in the Northwest this month.
Arena teaches a class at UNLV on the history and culture of pizza from Egyptian flatbreads to the California-style pizzas of the 21st century. “People from all over the world feel strongly about their pizza. People in Boston feel as strongly about their pizza as the people in New York,” he said.
It’s that sense of community that Arena says makes a pizzeria great.
His love for pizza is so great that he often travels to taste pizzas around the world. In fact, he has a wall at the UNLV location that showcases the great pizzerias of America, and guests who visit any of the locations on the map can nab a $25 gift certificate to Metro Pizza.
But don’t think that the size of Metro Pizza has stopped Arena from working in the kitchen. He says he still makes about 100 pizzas a day.
To give you an idea of how big Metro Pizza is, Arena broke down the amounts of product he goes through in a year.
Mozzarella — 370,000 pounds a year
Flour — 6,000 pounds a week or about 310,000 pounds a year
Pepperoni — 35,000 pounds a year
Tomatoes — 18,000 cases a year
· All Coverage of Metro Pizza [~ELV~]
· All Coverage of Pizza Week 2012 [~ELV~]