Pizza Lotto is out at downtown’s El Cortez casino, Naked City Pizza is in.
Pizza Lotto always hit the spot, even with superior pizza in the neighborhood at Evel Pie and Pizza Rock. Pizza Lotto was never able to deliver on its marketing hook of providing lottery-style scratch-off discount cards, and now we’ll never know what might have been. Pizza Lotto has moved on to that big pizzeria in the sky.
Without skipping a beat, Naked City Pizza has opened in the Pizza Lotto space.
By our layperson’s estimates, Naked City Pizza spent roughly zero dollars to move into El Cortez.
Virtually nothing in the space has changed, beyond the removal of a couple of symbolic video poker machines.
Naked City Pizza is a known quantity in Las Vegas. The chain has been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
While Naked City Pizza has been well-received at its other Las Vegas locations, our first visit to the El Cortez location was decidedly forgettable. Our cheese slice was 90% cheese, reminiscent of the awful Chicago-style “pizza” at Giordano’s. And not in a good way.
The one benefit of the disappointing pizza was it gave us the opportunity to test the “pull” of the cheese. The cheese pull is a big deal in the pizza world, a long-standing advertising trope where a slice is slowly lifted from a hot pie, resulting in a gooey waterfall of cheese.
Our pal Marc Meltzer, of Edgevegas.com, was along for our Naked City Pizza visit, and he generously volunteered to demonstrate Naked City Pizza’s world-class cheese pull.
While our first Naked City Pizza slice was underwhelming, we were immediately smitten with the restaurant’s Grandma’s Meatball, a mind-boggling half pound (that’s not a typo) of sheer succulence.
Naked City Pizza’s menu is simple, with some favorites from other locations, as well as original pizzas created just for the El Cortez location.
The new pizza styles include Bugsy’s Bianco, 6th Street, “Freemont” Street and (wait for it) the El Cortez.
Determined to have a slice that’s worthy of Naked City Pizza’s reputation, we visited again, and found just that.
The slice was vastly better proportioned, and if Naked City Pizza can deliver that quality on a consistent basis, we’ll be back.
Don’t look for Naked City Pizza’s hours on the El Cortez Web site, as Pizza Lotto is still listed (it’s also in the hotel’s on-hold messaging system and featured in its internal P.A. rotation).
Yes, you can pay for your pizza with your Club Cortez player’s club points.
Oh, and Naked City Pizza’s liquor license is still in the works, so head to a casino bar first for libations.