When acclaimed local pizzaiolo Vincent Rotolo was finally able to open the bigger, better version of Good Pie in the first week of December, he was trying to fly a bit under the radar “as much as we could” in order to get things moving as smoothly as possible. The challenging circumstances of opening and operating a new restaurant during the pandemic had already delayed the eatery’s arrival for months and Rotolo waited until November to permanently shutter his original, smaller Good Pie location at Downtown’s Pawn Plaza.
But the pie is good, and the community came running as soon as the slice window slid open, adding additional excitement to the burgeoning Arts District food scene.
“My family came in to visit the day before we opened, and that was the best part,” Rotolo says. “They all know how long it took for me to get here. Part of why I moved to Las Vegas was to have an opportunity to build something like this. This place is a dream, and the way it has come together feels really special.”
The Brooklyn-style restaurant is open for takeout and delivery and has been selling a massive number of slices through that window—Rotolo estimates 4,000 over the first three weeks—on a street that hasn’t always had heavy pedestrian traffic. But Good Pie has yet to open for dine-in customers, and that’s frustrating, he says. He also decided to scale back the opening menu.
“I’m holding back, because I don’t want to introduce my non-pizza food to the public in a to-go box. I want to plate it,” he says. “We’re still going to do spaghetti and meatballs and linguine and clams and chicken cacciatore and all those neighborhood red sauce pizzeria classics, but I want to serve it in the room.”
The full-on Good Pie experience—including a cocktail program crafted by former Esther’s Kitchen bar manager Sonia Stelea—sounds even more exciting if you’ve already sampled the existing menu. Rotolo’s unique Grandma Pie remains the top seller, in slice form ($4.50-$5) or by whole pie ($24-$34). The addictive Good Hot ($32) features cup-and-char pepperoni, red chili flakes, sausage, jalapeños, Mike’s Hot Honey and a finishing dusting of grated Parm, while the Johnny Be Good ($34), a tribute to Rotolo’s Vegas mentor John Arena of Metro Pizza, tops the crispy, rectangular Grandma with sausage, fresh garlic, roasted mushrooms and caramelized onions.
Good Pie also serves one of the Valley’s best Detroit-style pizzas ($14-$20) with a crunchy, cheesy crust-edge that makes for one of the best reheated leftover bites anywhere. Rotolo says he has regulars who grab an assortment of Detroit pies to bring camping every weekend: “They come every Friday night with all their gear packed, and they don’t want me to cut [the pizzas], so they can just heat them up whole.”
Sicilians, traditional round Brooklyn pizzas—like the White Pie ($16) with garlic, mozzarella, Pecorino, ricotta, garlic oil and parsley—and vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options round out the menu, along with a few salads and appetizers like beef and pork meatballs ($9) and fried ravioli ($10).
While the opening of his dream restaurant hasn’t gone to plan thanks to COVID-19, Rotolo says he’s been overwhelmed by the support from his customers, fellow Downtowners, industry workers and the community in general.
“We’ve learned a lot this past month. It’s been an unforgettable experience,” he says. “I’m lucky because I have a great team, but I’m also feeling like there’s a lot to improve on. We’re cooking from a place of nostalgia and preserving tradition and honoring family and heritage, and that can’t be copied.”
GOOD PIE 1212 S. Main St., 702-844-2700. Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.