Bricks is the kind of restaurant you grow up with and the type of place every community needs. It’s where families celebrate little league victories, where friends gather after high school football games, and where the grownups go to get killer burgers and beer on a casual night out. The tiny standalone building along Lyons Ave. sits just out of reach from Newhall’s main drag of increasingly trendy hotspots, creating a bubble of family-owned and operated nostalgia and warm, homey comfort for all who walk in through its doors. But there’s much more to Bricks than its communal tables, quaint patios and fancifully decorated counter—there’s some serious comfort food to be had.
Burgers, fries and shakes are the name of the game at Bricks, and present one of the best values this side of LA. The bacon bleu burger, practically toppling over from a mountain of onion rings and its namesake ingredients stacked atop a thick patty, puts rivals to shame AND comes with fries…like a good burger should. Same goes for the signature Bricks burger, a savory compilation of bacon, caramelized onion, Swiss cheese, grilled jalapenos and arugula. Each is complemented with a house-made aioli.
Bricks takes it a step further with its add-ons, a plethora of haute customizations that are well-worth the paltry $1 – 3 upgrade. That 50/50 patty—half beef, half chorizo—is as progressive as what you’ll find in any pretentious burger bar, as are those skinny fries with parmesan and garlic [though they could be served a bit hotter]. Best to complete the experience with a milkshake, just as stellar in sweet, decadent richness. Sea salt caramel and cookie butter are just two from a long list of tantalizing options. You’ll also find wine and beer, where Bricks has partnered with a locally-acclaimed brewery to step up its draft game.
While Bricks can’t exactly be classified as a small-town diner [Santa Clarita is bigger than you think], it does share the distinct quality of cooking up just about everything under the sun. From gyros to fried chicken, you’ve got an array of salads, sandwiches, hot dogs and meal-sized starters and sides to choose from. The street dog is a souped-up version of LA’s classic curbside bacon-wrapped hot dog, finished with that house-made chipotle aioli. Then there’s the bacon waffle burger, which subs out a bun for a bacon and cheese-infused waffle.
Bricks is located at 23820 Lyons Ave, Santa Clarita, CA 91321. Open 11a – 9p Mon – Fri, 10a – 9p Sat, 10a – 8p Sun. Avg. out-the-door price for entrée and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$25/person. For more information, call (661) 286 – 1091 or visit BricksNewhall.com
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria has served up New York slices since 1990, where it opened its first location under the Brooklyn Bridge. Their technique goes much further back, however, utilizing coal-fired brick ovens that encompass more than a century of pizza-making. Now, with nearly 50 properties across the US and several international projects in the making, Grimaldi’s has proven its ability to scale classic production while retaining a heartwarming vibe.
The menu is somewhat of a rarity to the typical west-coaster: a full-service restaurant that’s almost entirely focused on pizza and salad. Read: no pasta, no chicken wings, no oversize meatballs or other usual suspects you’d typically find at a family-style Italian joint. What this means is an In-n-Out kind of focus—limited menu, but each item is done very well. What this also means is that the kitchen doesn’t even have a stove. Those old-fashioned brick ovens are the lifeblood of the fishbowl-style kitchen, going through more than 200lbs of coal a day.
The finished product is a classic New York-style crust, thin and crispy on the outside with an earthy element delivered from those coal ovens. And with a strong lineup of specialty pizzas and toppings for build-your-own creations, the choices are hardly limited. Corporate Executive Chef Cory Lattuca, a 15-year Grimaldi’s veteran, consistently churns out seasonal items to make the menu pop even further. Buffalo chicken pizza, anyone?
Lattuca takes Grimaldi’s a step further with sweets and drinks. Somehow those ovens are rigged to make some mean cannoli and New York cheesecake [Oreo and sugar cookie crust?!?]. Add a strong lineup of beers, housemade cocktails and—of course—wines. Fun fact: Grimaldi’s makes its own house wine in Italy.
Grimaldi’s has multiple locations nationwide. Hours can vary but hover around 11a – 10p Sun – Thu and 11a – 11pm Fri/Sat. Avg. Out-the-door price for split salad, split pizza and 1 – 2 drinks is ~ $30/person. For more information, visit GrimaldisPizzeria.com
Slice of Vegas has called The Shoppes at Mandalay Place home for more than six years, joining the ranks of its wildly successful neighbors along the stretch of casual eateries within. Part pizza joint and part sports bar, Slice of Vegas is the friendly neighborhood destination you never knew existed on the Strip; a safe have of sorts to eat pizza, drink beer and watch sports in a homey environment that doesn’t break the bank.
While finding a quality low-cost meal on Los Vegas Boulevard can be a challenge, Slice of Vegas saves the day with surprisingly affordable pizzas and other American-Italian menu options. Pizzas that feed two hover around $15-20 and include toppings spanning from your basics, like pepperoni and sausage, to the more exotic, such as three-meat meatballs and truffle oil. With both featured specialty pizzas and build-your-own options, Slice of Vegas is sure to cook up a pie for just about anyone.
Non-pizza lovers will still find themselves at home with a list of salads, pastas and other entrees to choose from. Vegans will be equally pleased, as Slice of Vegas has gone to great lengths to develop an extensive plant-based menu.
And what would a Las Vegas pizza place be without an extensive drink lineup? Slice of Vegas features a rotating draft beer list, which highlights craft brews local to Las Vegas as well as favorites from across the country. The bottled selection rounds out strong coverage across lagers, pilsners, IPAs, ciders and just about everything else that pairs perfectly with whatever sports might be showing on the many TVs throughout the restaurant.
In the mood for something sweet? The skillet cookie and its mound of vanilla ice cream on top melds hot and cold with a chocolatey, brown butter taste that will put a smile on your face.
Slice of Vegas is located at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, 3930 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119, near Ri Ra and Burger Bar. Open 11a – 11p Sun – Thu, 11a – midnight Fri - Sat. Average out-the-door price for split appetizer, split pizza, and 1-2 drinks is ~$32/person. For more information call (702) 632-6470 or visit SliceOfVegasPizza.com.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.