Chef on the verge: Chris Palmeri of Naked City Pizza Shop

Chris Palmeri serves Buffalo, New York-style eats inside Moon Doggie’s.
Photo: Jacob Kepler

Naked City Pizza Shop at Moon Doggie’s Bar & Grill is a light year away from fine dining, and Chris Palmeri is okay with that. Purportedly the youngest executive chef in MGM history—he took the helm at Diego five years ago when he was 25—Palmeri now serves his Buffalo, New York-style fare in more low key environs.

You’d probably never guess the smoky pseudo-surfer bar was home to a menu filled with the likes of penne a la vodka, local pig Bolognese and homemade ricotta cheese, but within the Vegas food community the depth of Pameri’s recipes is quickly gaining notoriety.

He says he was driven to open a Buffalo-style pizzeria out of dissatisfaction with the area’s offerings. Plus, he spotted a niche. “If you leave western New York you either end up in Florida or Vegas. If you’re over 35, you end up in Florida, otherwise you end up here.”

And here he is. Palmeri’s high-end dining experience has translated to both the business and culinary ends of restaurant ownership. In the kitchen, it’s taught him the importance of fresh ingredients and that he should prepare everything he can from scratch.

Palmeri hopes to expand Naked City beyond the walls of Moon Doggie’s within the next 18 months, establishing freestanding locations on both sides of the Valley to complement his existing central location at the corner of Arville and Desert Inn and bringing more Buffalo-style pizza to Las Vegas. Yum.

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