The world’s best restaurant, Pizza Rock, opened in Las Vegas on Oct. 19, 2013.
We loved Pizza Rock when it opened and our love continues to grow four years later.
Pizza Rock is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the other six suck by comparison.
To celebrate their fourth anniversary, we decided to challenge the pizza wizards at Pizza Rock to make a pie they’ve never made before.
We requested an “all-crust pizza.” That’s right. We invented a new food group.
Tony Gemignani, the man behind Pizza Rock, is a 12-time World Pizza Champion. He is also a demigod. We interviewed him on our podcast.
Why an “all-crust” pizza? Well, while we order pizza at Pizza Rock on a nearly daily basis, we were in the mood for their meatballs.
Pizza Rock’s meatballs are, quite simply (wait for it), the best meatballs in the world. We frequently have an order of meatballs and a side of focaccia as a meal.
This time, though, focaccia and the restaurant’s excellent garlic bread wouldn’t do. No, we wanted bread, but a specific kind. The pizza crust kind.
Pizza Rock’s geniuses made it happen, so we had the perfect fourth anniversary meal: The world’s best meatballs drenched in the world’s best marinara sauce, which doubled as a dip for the world’s best pizza crust.
Behold the first all-crust pizza ever ordered at Pizza Rock. Yes, we have issues, but they’re happy issues.
In Italian, by the way, the sauce left on your plate after you eat, suitable for dipping bread into, is called “scarpetta.”
Now, you know.
Fairy tales do come true.
We’ll be back to our happy hour personal cheese pizza (see below) for our next visit, but a big shout-out to the Pizza Rock crew for accommodating our special anniversary request and indulging in our culinary eccentricities.
While we are pizza purist, rest assured there’s a pizza at Pizza Rock for any and every palate. Pizza Rock boasts a wide variety of styles (from New York-style and Sicilian to Pizza Napoletana and classic Italian). Here’s the expansive Pizza Rock menu.
Oh, like we were going to write a Pizza Rock story without sharing a photo of pizza. Do you know this blog at all?
Pizza Rock has three locations in Las Vegas, but the one near Downtown Grand (a block from Fremont Street) is our favorite.
Frivolity aside, Pizza Rock has helped the last four years some of the most memorable of our life. Great pizza transports us to our happy place, and Pizza Rock delivers amazing pizza every single time.
Gold Diggers Nightclub at Golden Nugget will soon close for a renovation. Halloween is expected to be its final night of operation before a hiatus.
Rumor has it the night spot will get an overhaul that includes a name change.
Gold Diggers, seen upper right, provides one of the best views of the circus that is Fremont Street.
The club sits on the second floor of the resort, with a balcony overlooking Fremont Street.(Golden Nugget is a member casino of Fremont Street Experience, where we work in digital marketing as our day job).
Gold Diggers is one of the few dance clubs downtown, it’s next closest competitor being Gold Spike, a former casino but now a hotspot for millennials.
Details about the nature of the Gold Diggers rebrand are being kept under wraps at the moment, but expect a “new nightclub experience.” Hey, scoop’s scoop, no matter how vague.
If the Gold Diggers renovation involves swapping out these awesome beer tap handles, we call dibs.
It’s expected Gold Diggers, or whatever it’s called next, will re-open relatively quickly, even as soon as November 2017.
For a small, boutique hotel, The Cromwell has made some big moves recently.
To start, The Cromwell unveiled a new snack bar, Eatwell.
Eatwell at Cromwell. If you want to self-park, it’ll have to be at the Flamingowell.
Eatwell is open 24 hours a day, and has a variety of grab-and-go goodies like sandwiches, pastries, salads and pizzas.
We went for a sandwich, mainly because sandwiches are a metaphor for love. Or something.
One cannot live by cavorting alone, even in Vegas.
We’re pleased to report the food quality is solid at Eatwell, and the prices are reasonable.
Here’s a peek at the Eatwell menu.
If you actually read the “Healthy Alternatives” section, we can’t be friends.
We have no idea what these things on the ceiling are, but we are a blog, not a snack bar design firm.
We’re pretty sure you can become pregnant just walking under these.
Caffeine fans will rejoice in the knowledge Eatwell offers a full selection of Starbucks coffees.
Here’s a gratuitous photo of some cookies.
Don’t think of them as cookies. Think of them as fuel for your bad Las Vegas decisions.
The Cromwell has also opened a new race and sports book.
We have never personally understood why they’re called race and sports books. A race is a sport. If you’re going to call it a race and sports book, you could just as easily call it a game and sports book, or possibly a match and sports book.
It’s not the size of the sports book that counts, it’s whether you cover the spread.
The new sports book at Cromwell has a tiny footprint, but sports books aren’t huge moneymakers for casinos, so the size is proportionate given the limited footprint of the resort.
The Cromwell used to be Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, and before that it was Barbary Coast and Empey’s Desert Villa. Prior to that, it was a small collection of tumbleweeds.
The new sports book can accommodate about 50 people or 75 if they all inhale at the same time.
The Cromwell sports book boasts a 32-foot-long, nine-foot-tall LED video wall.
Beyond these sweet new amenities, The Cromwell has made a serious play to attract gamblers.
Among the new offerings is a single zero roulette table. Single zero roulette, also known as “European roulette,” is often reserved for high limit rooms, but Cromwell has a table on its main casino floor.
Because photos aren’t allowed at live games, we won’t be able to share the photo below.
The house edge in a single zero roulette game is 2.7%. With two zeros, it’s 5.26%.
Unlike double zero roulette games, the minimum bet on the single zero game is $25. Better odds, higher minimums. In Vegas, that’s a thing.
In addition to single zero roulette, Cromwell also offers 100x odds on craps.
Nobody ever actually takes advantage of 100x odds, but it’s great to know you could if you inherited money from a rich uncle. Possibly, one named Sheldon.
Thanks to the good folks at The Cromwell for not asking security to give us The Taser Experience during the taking of these photos.
But wait, there’s more.
The Cromwell is also touting its EZ Baccarat. We’re pretty sure we played EZ Baccarat at Lucky Dragon, and it was, as promised, easy. One benefit of this version of baccarat is it “eliminates the taking of the 5% commission after every winning Bank hand.” Whatever that might actually mean.
Also being talked up are The Cromwell’s 3-to-2 and double deck blackjack games.
During our visit, we saw three open 3-to-2 double deck blackjack tables, two with $25 minimums and one at $15. Shoe games had minimums ranging from $10 to $25.
The Cromwell also lists among its new “enhancements” a “re-imagined” Interlude bar (if you’re not a fan of live music, this is a great place to not be a fan of it), a new high limit slot area called The Abbey, and keyless access to hotel rooms.
Our liver breaks into song whenever it sees Cromwell’s casino bar.
There’s also Ivy, a “personalized virtual concierge service” provided via text, developed by a company called Go Moment. It’s sort of a bot that can field questions and requests related to housekeeping and room service. Such services are mainly a way for hotels to save money and cut down on call volume, but Ivy has gotten generally good reviews since the most common guest requests can be resolved more efficiently through automation. Fewer and fewer Las Vegas hotels have real concierges, anyway.
With its recent changes, The Cromwell has certainly gotten the attention of players, and despite ongoing challenges with unsavory elements at Drai’s Nightclub on the roof, the boutique hotel is drawing new interest from visitors seeking a welcoming environment with friendly service and odds you won’t find in many casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
Enjoy more poorly-framed and inadequately-focused photos from The Cromwell.
Golden Gate’s expansion is in the home stretch, and we’ve got an exclusive look inside.
Dead center is where the 24-foot tower of televisions will be. No, we haven’t talked about that yet. We don’t live by society’s rules.
The expansion has been months in the making as Golden Gate has moved into the footprint of the former La Bayou casino.
The additional space will nearly double the size of Golden Gate’s casino floor, adding about 100 slot machines.
Golden Gate will close temporarily on Aug. 20, 2017 to complete the build-out, and the new space will officially debut on Aug. 25.
If you know anything about this blog, you know we’re not real big on waiting for things to “officially debut,” so we had to do a security breach, while adhering to all applicable laws, ordinances and safety regulations, of course.
We love that new slot machine smell.
During the closure, virtually the entire east wall of Golden Gate’s existing casino will come down to connect the new and old spaces.
A highlight of Golden Gate’s expansion will be a 24-foot tower of TVs, surrounded by hundreds of beveled mirrors.
The television “fountain” will sit inside a new entrance to the casino, with marble flooring and velvet drapes.
The opening of the new casino area and entrance will coincide with an expansion of the casino’s lucrative outdoor bar, One Bar. The bar will expand 20 feet.
There are fewer words in the English language we love more than “more bar.”
Another big change at Golden Gate will be the relocation of the casino’s loyalty club desk. To complete the finishing touches of the loyalty club and casino expansion, it’s rumored crews will work 108 hours straight during the casino closure to meet the Aug. 25 debut date.
We’re exhausted just typing that sentence.
This is where they’re going to keep the loyalty.
To celebrate the debut of the casino expansion, owners Derek and Greg Stevens will host a free concert by Better Than Ezra on Sep. 3 at 9:00 p.m. The concert is a late addition to the free summer concert series put on by Fremont Street Experience (where we work as our day gig in digital marketing).
Golden Gate has made the most of a fairly modest space, and the casino interior already gives off a welcoming vibe with its mix of modern and classic design elements, including dark wood accents we sort of want to rub our various body parts up against for some reason.
Golden Gate opened in 1906. Back in those days, slot machines paid jackpots in cobwebs.
The new space is already filling up with shiny new slot machines (no classics from the Riviera here), many of which were too tall to put in other areas of the casino due to the classic casino’s low ceilings.
Golden Gate’s expansion is a great excuse to stop by during your next visit, and make sure to check out the demolition site just across Fremont Street while you’re there.
Here’s a little-known fact related to Golden Gate: The hotel was home to the first telephone in Las Vegas (the phone number was “1”), but that’s not the little known fact. The little-known fact is about who got the second telephone in Las Vegas. Any guesses?
You’re going to love this.
Golden Gate (originally called Hotel Nevada) was owned by John F. Miller. The second telephone in Las Vegas was installed in his home, at the behest of Miller’s wife, Rosa. Who else do you think he’d call with the city’s first phone? Now you know!
Corduroy, which we’re still having difficulty spelling consistently, opened Aug. 5, 2015, and already feels like a hit.
To understand corduroy, you must understand cords and wales. We don’t, so nevermind.
The centerpiece of the 4,000-square-foot space is a large, decorative “bubble wall” behind the bar.
The color-shifting, fluid-based wall is a mesmerizing backdrop for the libations to come.
Corduroy’s wall art is reminiscent of a lava lamp, a phrase we’re pretty sure will keep Millennials busy for the next several minutes, Googlewise.
Here’s a look, as we are clearly lacking in the vocabulary to adequately describe the thing.
Corduroy is an inviting space with a relaxed, unpretentious vibe.
As with too many bars downtown (Commonwealth, Downtown Cocktail Room) and elsewhere, the music is 20 percent too loud to comfortably hold a conversation, but the kids seem to like it that way.
For some time, the plan was to call the venue The Vault, but management thought better of that name as the concept was fleshed out.
Corduroy is a reference to the fabric popular in the mid-’70s to the mid-’80s, and the music at the new bar reflects that era.
The 1970s also served for many of the decorative touches at Corduroy, including a wall of vintage speakers and other audio equipment.
Audiophiles will immediately recognize these items as “old things to set your iPad on.”
Beyond the appeal of the space, the menu at Corduroy is equally memorable.
Here’s a look at the signature cocktails, most reasonably priced in the $9 range.
Don’t think of it as a drink menu, think of it as a to-do list.
Right off the bat, one must have Sex on the Beach. The sweet, refreshing cocktail is served in a Capri Sun-style juice bag, and costs just $6.
Things just got all whimsical up in here.
We also tried the amazing Raoul Duke cocktail, with Tanqueray gin, Cherry Heering liqueur, triple sec, Benedictine liqueur, Angostura bitters, grenadine bar syrup, lime, pineapple and a shot of Mezcal for good measure.