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.
The Dudes’ Brewing Co. has found itself right at home at its newest location in Santa Monica Place. Just steps from the Santa Monica Pier with a killer location on the top deck of this high-end shopping mall, The Dudes’ has had no problem melding its uber-relaxed vibe in with its new digs.
Inviting patio furniture and high-top tables made of barrels line the outdoor patio while communal tables and a long bar make up the interior; both great for viewing sports on the massive projector screens or people-watching the endless passers-by. The Dudes’ has found an excellent balance between plush and humble, staying true to its modest Torrance roots while slowly but surely making its mark across Southern California.
The food menu builds off the successful foundation of The Dudes’ also-recent Santa Clarita location. House-made pizzas, pretzels and salads come out with the same fresh ingredients and genuine attention to detail that made The Dudes’ famous in the first place. That prosciutto arugula pizza and strawberry balsamic salad are hard to pass up. They’re continuing to push the envelope in Santa Monica, introducing wine to the menu.
And of course, The Dudes’ iconic beer lineup continues to go unrivaled in creativity, producing a plethora of innovative flavors from grandma’s pecan to kokomo key lime sour and nitro mint milkshake. Flights are encouraged and ever-abound, served atop wooden bowling pins as an homage to the dude himself, from The Big Lebowski.
The Dudes’ Brewing Co. Santa Monica is located at 395 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401, on the top mall’s top level. Open Sun – Wed 11a – 10p, Thu 11a – 11p, Fri – Sat 11a – midnight. Avg. out-the-door price for pizza and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$28/person. For more information call (310) 893-2151 or visit The Dudes’ Santa Monica here.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.