Naked City Pizza Takes Over for Pizza Lotto at El Cortez

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.

Naked City Pizza El Cortez

We dare you to tell the difference between Pizza Lotto and Naked City Pizza, even with the naked.

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.

Naked City Pizza El Cortez

Marc’s going to need longer arms.

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 meatball

Grandma’s Meatball is a meal for two. At least.

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.

Naked City Pizza El Cortez menu

Spelling it “Freemont” is a rookie gaff. It’s Fremont.

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.

Naked City Pizza El Cortez

Nice recovery, Naked City Pizza.

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.

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  • Manybar Goatfish

    Pizza pull tests don’t mean anything when called off for short arms. Get a freaking ladder and finish the damn test. People’s gut health is on the line. Cute facial expressions don’t mean squat.

  • Photoncounter

    I still prefer thin, cooked in 90 seconds, Sicilian style pizza to the thicker kind.

    Damn, gotta schedule another trip back to Taormina – I still dream of the REAL pizzas there!

    • That’s actually not Sicilian–Sicilian is the thicker kind.

      • Photoncounter

        No. I’ve been to Sicily several times, have you? They cook the thin crust pizza in coal fired ovens between 90 and 120 seconds. Napoli pizza is thicker.

        • Manybar Goatfish

          You can get Sicilian style pizza in New York, same as you can get New York style pizza in Sicily. Are you sure you know where Sicily is? You know you can’t drive a Vega from here to there, right?

        • Yes, I have been. I’m no pizza expert, but Sicilian in America is the thicker version. Look it up on the Googles. https://www.google.com/search?q=Sicilian+pizza&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj2trfw-6vYAhUG5WMKHYkFCqIQ_AUICigB&biw=1920&bih=928

          • Photoncounter

            Last time I knew Sicily was not in America. Chinese food served in US restaurants isn’t anywhere near what they serve in China. Nor Mexican food in Mexico. Three business trips to Sicily, I don’t speak the language (don’t EVER refer to them as Italians, they are Sicilians!) and I cruised many family owned restaurants, mostly in the Northeast. The dominant form of pizza served there was thinner crust cooked very quickly.

            Google is not a reliable source of accurate information. Don’t get a Scientist started on that topic. Your blog isn’t big enough…

          • Manybar Goatfish

            In a just world, inaccurate (fake) pizza news would be a crime, and Google would be tried, convicted, and pardoned.

          • Like I said, I’m not a pizza expert. When I am looking for thicker, deep pan pizza, I order Sicilian. Pizza Rock definitely serves the pizza you’re talking about, so I’ll have to check the name the next time I’m there.

          • Photoncounter

            The perpetual polarizing positions of this blog revolve around pizza, politics and the pass line. The good news – nobody gets pregnant, the Sheeple bet the Big 6 and 8 and we can all argue and still be friends!

          • Coop

            I try really hard not to get involved in the pizza debate. Pizza Rock is AWESOME. My FAV in Vegas. But guys Detroit Style is the best. No casseroles here. Have you ever been here? LOL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit-style_pizza

          • Manybar Goatfish

            Detroit style pizza sounds amazing until you get to the part about baking them in industrial trays which were originally made to hold small parts in factories and, instead of using cooking oil, industrial manufacturing lubricants are used to grease the pans. Other than those two minor issues it sounds excellent.

  • Iskion1

    Ok, you don’t like Chicago style pizza. That doesn’t make it bad pizza. Some like NY style pizza, and some don’t like it. I know people that don’t like Pizza Rock (I know blasphemy), but because they don’t like it, doesn’t mean it’s bad pizza. How about quit knocking the pizza casserole.

  • Matt

    Not to much a mention of the meatball. How was the meatball?

    • It was mentioned, and as mentioned, it was tasty!

    • Coop

      “sheer succulence”

  • Paul Farmer

    What killed this place was its lack of social media presence. They continually reused the same pics and never had an online following. If you ever looked at them on Facebook, their posts generated one or two likes. The food was fine but you need a buzz.

    • Yep, it was decent pizza, but the marketing was lacking, and they never seemed willing to invest in making the place more inviting. Naked City isn’t doing that either, actually.