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Margherita or Grandma's, in Las Vegas, pies the limit!

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September 23, 2020 By Best of Las Vegas

ccording to popular tradition, in 1889, during a Queen’s visit to Naples, Italy, a famous style of pizza was created. Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of King Umberto I, chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). They named it after the Queen – Margherita Pizza.

Descriptions of such a pizza recipe, however, can be traced back to at least 1866 in Francesco DeBouchard book “Customs and Traditions of Naples.” In his book, he describes the most popular pizza toppings of the time which included one with cheese and basil, often topped with slices of mozzarella.

Whatever the real origins of this pizza recipe are, all we know for sure is that Raffaele Esposito’s version for Queen Margherita was the one that made it popular. Since then it has grown into one of the most recognizable symbols of Italian food culture in the world.

But to local pizza capocuoco (chef) Joey Gonzalez (pictured), proprietario (owner) of Brooklyn’s Best Pizza & Pasta there is a better pizza and it’s called Grandma’s pie. His Grandma’s pie is a version that could be fit for a queen. Served best fresh from his 600° oven, the distintive square pizza is ready to devour. This pie is topped with traditional southern Italian Grande Mozzarella Cheese flown in from a cheese maker in Wisconsin.

From a very young age, Joey started making pizza with his brothers Louie, Ronnie, and Roger and as he got older it grew into a passion. Gonzalez first came to Las Vegas in 2015 along with more than 10,000 pizza enthusiasts, pizza buyers, pizza restaurant owners, pizza makers and more for the 31st annual International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Headlined as the “World’s Largest Pizza Show,” the International Pizza Expo (pizzaexpo.com) is on the calendar for a return to the Las Vegas Convention Center for March 16-18, 2021.

Prior to Brookyln’s Best, Gonzales was a chef at two Caesars Palace restaurants. The first was at DiFara Pizza at the Caesars food court. Known for their taste of East Coast Italian right in Las Vegas featuring ingredients such as fresh olive oil, basil, Parmesan, tomato sauce and gourmet toppings make each pizza a slice of heaven.

Gonzales also spent time as a chef in the kitchen of Rao’s Las Vegas located at Caesars Palace. The original Rao’s, opened in 1896, and is one of the oldest family owned restaurants in New York City. With a sparse 12 tables, it is also one of the hardest places to get into. The Las Vegas version not only features a replica of the 12-table landmark, but also an open-air patio, center bar, private dining and event space.

“At Brooklyn’s Best, we make sure people have the food they enjoy while also meeting their dietary needs,” says Gonzales. “We fix for every lifestyle and pallet.” Their KETO pizza has 23 carbs and is served up as a 12” round. They use a cauliflower and kale crust and also feature gluten free options along with the traditional pies.

The food and beverage industry have been dealt substantial setbacks from the great pandemic of 2020. But from brave small business owners, to some of the largest and fearless Las Vegas hotels, casinos, entertainers, night clubs and more, the mantra continues … these tough times won’t last forever, but the tough people will.

This year there are 56 different resturants hoping to be voted best pizza. Last year the top three were Pop Up Pizza, Pizza Rock and Brooklyn’s Best.

We encourage you visit BestofLasVegas.com, find your favorites and cast your votes each day before midnight, Wednesday, September 30th.



Something To Try At Home
Satisfying your cravings for pizza, cheeses and cauliflower with this cheesy crispy cauliflower pizza crust recipe by Anna Smaling. It’s a delicious mix of only 5 ingredients, including cauliflower florets, grated parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. As it contains only 106 calories per slice, you can also serve it to your whole family and they will see it worth. Get the full recipe!


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