Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren’t unearthing. To help guide readers to these potential discoveries, Eater Vegas enlisted some of the city’s food players to share their recommendations for a feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Pizzaiolo Vincent Rotolo finally hung a shingle in front of his own restaurant when he opened Good Pie in Pawn Plaza back in February. The New York native got his start at John’s of Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village before bouncing around the Big Apple. In 2011, he decided to move closer to his parents in Las Vegas and ended up working at 800 Degrees in the Monte Carlo and overseeing operations at Dom DeMarco’s in Summerlin before heading to Evel Pie on Fremont East. Last October he left to open his own restaurant, set up like a grandmother’s kitchen wooden spoons, pizza peels, and vintage pizza cutters lining the walls of the subway tiled space. Here, Rotolo shares some of his favorite places to dine when he’s not putting together Good Pie.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas? What happened that was memorable?
My first visit was during the 1990s. My dad moved here, and I came out to visit. I remember renting a convertible and driving down the Las Vegas Strip for the first time. It was incredible! During that visit, I decided to stay at MGM Grand, and it just so happened to be during a big fight week with Oscar De La Hoya. The energy in Las Vegas was crazy. Being a city guy, I’m used to fast moving, and being introduced to Vegas in that way was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. I was hooked from the first moment I got here.
What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?
I moved out here Dec. 1, 2011. My parents were living here, and they were getting older. My brother moved here to help look over them, but as my parents’ health continued to deteriorate, I knew I wanted to be out here to help take care of them. So, I bought a one-way ticket and made the move.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
I go to the Donut Bar almost every day. I am a doughnut-obsessed person, well really, I am a dough-obsessed person, but especially doughnuts. Not only do I always get the lemon pistachio doughnut, but they carry Vesta coffee, which is my absolute favorite, so I get a bucket of that to carry me through the day.
What about lunch?
I constantly go to the The Goodwich. I love eating with my hands; any meal that doesn’t require a knife and fork is good in my mind. At The Goodwich, I get the Pig of the Week; it’s always delicious and never fails me, and I love a good piece of pie after my sandwich.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
My favorite downtown spot is The Kitchen at Atomic. What makes it special is that you can get high-quality fancy food, but my go to is a burger. Like I said, I love to eat with my hands, and the bread really makes it. That brioche bun, again with the dough, it’s the perfect balance to the rest of the burger ingredients. I’m also pretty finicky about the temperature of my meats, and The Kitchen at Atomic always cooks it perfectly medium rare.
Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
In my mind, a special occasion is rolling in somewhere with a group of 30 friends, and when I do this, Cornish Pasty is my favorite spot. They are super friendly and it’s a huge space. Any of the pasties are great, but my go-to dishes are the tandoori wings, potato leek soup, and the Scotch egg. Any time I go, I have to get the Scotch egg and a sour beer. For me, that’s what’s up.
Are there any brunches in town you like to frequent?
I visit my brother on the weekends, and he lives close to Lulu’s Bread & Breakfast. I love it there. I like my breakfast to be no frills; don’t give me anything to dainty. I want real food, so I like to get the ham and cheese croissant as much as possible. The French toast is always a good go to, too. I love sweet and savory together, so I like to get the French toast with a side of over easy eggs and mix it all together with some kind of pork. That’s like a real breakfast for me, the kind of breakfast I like. Plus, I like the environment in there. I get to watch the pizza guys and learn a few things every time I go in.
Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?
I go to Esther’s Kitchen. At the end of the day, I’m a bread guy, and the bread there is amazing. Also, I’m obsessed with the anchovy butter. So, my late-night snack is red wine, fresh bread and anchovy butter. And you can find me there almost every night.
• All Coverage of Good Pie [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]