Pop Up Pizza
When The Plaza’s Pop Up Pizza wasn’t included on Neon Feast’s inaugural list of Las Vegas’ top pizza spots, the pizza community (both local and national) noticed. And they weren’t happy. When we visited the International Pizza Expo just a few months later, top pizzaioli from across the country made it a point to tell us that this humble spot, and proprietor Michael Vakneen, belong on any list celebrating Las Vegas’ most exciting pizzerias. And the next time we sent out a survey, many of our experts concurred.
Pop Up ain’t fancy. It’s a counter service slice shop located directly off the casino floor, just a few feet from The Plaza’s southernmost Main Street entrance. But Vakneen’s round pies, which channel New York City just as strongly as the Beastie Boys-inspired mural on the wall – were Downtown Las Vegas’ first truly “gourmet” pizzas. That means top quality ingredients like California tomatoes, pepperoni from Chicago’s Ezzo Sausage and Brooklyn-born mozzarella. Rectangular styles are also available, including beautifully sloppy, Detroit-leaning slices made exclusively for guests at the nearby Sand Dollar Downtown.
As for Vakneen – his reputation continues to grow, bolstered by recent wins at the International Pizza Challenge and his induction onto the World Pizza Champions team.