Pizza Rock is the Las Vegas brainchild of pizza-making great Tony Gemignani. There are two locations in the Las Vegas area, one in Downtown Las Vegas and one in Henderson. Both offer a plethora of variety when it comes to the pizza and the energy inside each restaurant if you dine-in provides quite an electric atmosphere.
Las Vegas location:
201 North 3rd Street at Downtown Grand
Las Vegas, NV 89101
2300 Paseo Verde Parkway (inside Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa)
Henderson, NV 89052
Gemignani has numerous accolades. He’s a 13-time World Pizza Champion, owner of dozens of restaurants, author, president of the World Pizza Champions, two-time Food Network gold medal winner, and so much more. If this guy can’t provide good pizza in Las Vegas, then we’re not sure who can.
Pizza Rock is more than just Gemignani, though. Gemignani partnered with nightlife experts George Karpaty and Trevor Hewitt to create a one-of-a-kind pizza experience, and that is Pizza Rock. It’s a ton of different pizza styles combined with a rocking nightlife vibe, and the blend has made Pizza Rock one of the most popular spots in Las Vegas. On any given night, whether you head to the Downtown Las Vegas venue or the spot at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, Pizza Rock will be filled with a healthy number of customers enjoying pizza and everything else that Pizza Rock offers.
As for the pizza at Pizza Rock, there’s a lot on offer. Pizza Rock doesn’t just offer one style of pizza. On the menu, one can find New York-style pizza, Neapolitan pizza, Chicago cracker thin pizza, Detroit-style pizza, Sicilian-style pizza, and more. Heck, Pizza Rock even has a few options for gluten-free pizza should you be willing to go that route (we have).
We know what you’re thinking, though. If Pizza Rock has so many different styles and types of pizza available, how can they all be that good? Don’t you have to specialize in one area to truly perfect it? In many cases, having such variety might damper the quality of pizza you’re getting. But with Pizza Rock, you’re getting pizza that is backed by the wealth of experience that Gemignani put into the menu and everything that goes into making the food.
Pizza Rock strives to “Respect the craft,” which is Gemignani’s motto. On the Pizza Rock website, it reads, “We will stay true to and passionate about the art of pizza making.” The pizza is pretty good across the board, and there is no doubt that Gemignani has put out a product that values high-quality pizza, no matter the style.
With so much to eat at Pizza Rock, we wouldn’t be doing the spot justice by reviewing just one or two of the pizzas. It’s also an excuse for Top Vegas Pizza to keep going back and eating more pizza. We’ll get into specific reviews of the pizzas we’ve tried below, and we’ll continue to add more pizza reviews the more we eat.
Classic Cheese Pizza
The first pizza we ever tried at Pizza Rock was the classic cheese pizza. You’ll notice that we try a lot of classic cheese pizzas, and there’s a reason for it. A classic cheese pizza is the best way to reveal the true heart of a pizza, a foundation for which an entire delicious pie is built on.
The classic cheese pizza from Pizza Rock is a very solid pizza. It’s an American-style pizza with a circular shape, triangular pieces, thin but not too thin, and featuring a healthy outer crust mound. The cheese is good, the sauce is good, but it’s the dough that makes Pizza Rock’s classic cheese pizza stand out, which makes sense when you remember that Gemignani, a 13-time World Pizza Champion, is the man behind the recipe.
The crust didn’t turn out to be as crispy as we’d have liked, but the pizza wasn’t something that we couldn’t pick up, give a nice fold to, and eat easily. The sauce works well with the cheese, and the cheese doesn’t overpower the pizza. Oftentimes you can get a pizza like this that comes with far too much cheese. That can weigh down the crust and create more grease. This wasn’t the case at all with the Pizza Rock classic cheese pizza. The sauce-to-cheese ratio was very good.
The outer rim of the crust is voluminous and it tasted very good. It’s thick but fluffy and doesn’t come out chewy. Whatever Gemignani put in the recipe to make the dough, he nailed it.
One of our favorites at Pizza Rock is the Tomato Pie. It’s more than just a cheese pizza, but it’s a very simple pie with sliced mozzarella, tomato sauce, garlic, basil, olive oil, oregano, and romano. The dough is light, somewhat bordering on a Neapolitan-style dough, but it’s not that soft. The best way to describe it would be that it’s in the middle of a NY-style pizza dough and a Neapolitan-style pizza dough. Pizza Rock lists the Tomato Pie under the New York/New Haven section of the menu.
As you can see in the photo, there isn’t a lot of cheese and sauce on this pizza, but we don’t mind that at all. In fact, it allowed us to eat more pizza than normal because it kept the overall composition on the lighter side. But even with less cheese and sauce, the flavors were very good.
The garlic certainly stood out, but it didn’t take up all of the taste like a powerful ingredient like garlic can do when not done right. The tomato sauce provides an awesome richness and the basil keeps things feeling fresh.
One of the best ways to rate a pizza is by simply asking yourself if you’d order it again. With the Tomato Pie from Pizza Rock, we’d certainly order it again and make it a steady part of the rotation.
Detroit Red Top Pizza
For those of you who haven’t had Detroit-style pizza, you’re missing out. But don’t worry, Pizza Rock in Las Vegas has a handful of Detroit-style pizzas to try.
Detroit-style pizza is rectangularly-shaped pizza that is on the thicker side. It gets its shape because it’s cooked in rectangularly shaped trays. Detroit-style pizza is baked so that the edges are nice and crispy, commonly black to a crisp. The undercarriage of the crust is also crispy, although not as much as the outer edges. Some might say the undercarriage has a feel that it is fried, but it’s not. The baking in the pan with the hot oil sizzling at the bottom causes this texture.
On top of the dough is where many people get thrown for a loop, as Detroit-style pizza usually reverses the order of the sauce and cheese. Instead of laying down the sauce first and then topping it with cheese, true Detroit-style pizza goes cheese first, usually applied with larger squares or cubes of cheese, and then the sauce goes on top. Depending on where you order your Detroit-style pizza from and the toppings that you get, you might find the order to be cheese then sauce then toppings or cheese then toppings then sauce.
The Detroit Red Top Pizza from Pizza Rock may just be our favorite pizza on the menu. It’s right up there at the top of the list, that’s for sure. The edges of the pizza are crisp to perfection with a buttery touch. Pizza Rock makes the Detroit Red Top Pizza in steel pans, which is the way it should be done. The Wisconsin brick cheese goes to the edges of the pizza. There is plenty of cheese on a Detroit-style pizza, but the airiness of the dough, despite its thickness, helps with the balance so that you’re not going to feel like you just ate a brick of cement.
Pizza Rock’s marinara sauce tops the Detroit Red Top Pizza, and the Pecorino Romano and garlic really work well with all of the flavors. Pizza Rock says the Detroit Red Top Pizza serves 2-4 people, but it’s so good that we don’t really want to share it at all, even if it is on the heftier side. We prefer the Detroit Red Top Pizza just the way it comes, without adding any other toppings to it.
Chicago Cracker Thin Cheese
Chicago is well known for its deep-dish style of pizza, but it’s not the only style of pizza Chicago has to offer. Enter the cracker-thin pizza.
The Chicago Cracker Thin Cheese from Pizza Rock is just that, it’s as thin as a cracker. It even provides a cracker-like crunch to it given all of its crispiness. You can try and fold this pizza, but the pieces will likely just break in half in your hand.
With a rich tomato sauce, a few different types of cheese to keep your taste buds guessing, and some garlic, the Chicago Cracker Thin Cheese is another quality pizza from Pizza Rock. At Top Vegas Pizza, many of us like our pizza crust to be crispy. The Chicago Cracker Thin Cheese from Pizza Rock is certainly that, it’s crispy. The dough is made using Ceresota flour that has a higher protein content. Each bite provides an audible crunch, especially when you start chomping on the outer edge of the pie.
There are three cheeses used for the Chicago Cracker Thin Cheese. It’s got mozzarella, provolone, and Pecorino Romano. Pecorino Romano is a hard cheese known for its salty flavor and it provides a little extra zest to this pie.
Another thin-crust Chicago-style pizza from Pizza Rock is the Frank Nitti. The pizza is named after Frank Nitti, who was an Italian-American mobster out of Chicago. He was known as “The Enforcer.”
The Frank Nitti pizza from Pizza Rock doesn’t have any mob ties that we know of, and we don’t exactly get enforcer-like vibes from this pie. It’s a thin-crust pizza with a lot of crunch that is topped with sauteed spinach and ricotta cheese. The spinach and ricotta pair well together and don’t provide too much toppings that can’t be handled. We never want the toppings to overwhelm the pizza and they don’t with the Frank Nitti.
One thing about gobs of ricotta on pizza is that they can sometimes be too much. If the gobs of ricotta are too large, they’ll take over the pizza in more ways than one. First, they’ll make the pizza heavier than it should be. Second, they’ll create uneven taste distribution. This doesn’t happen with the Frank Nitti, as the chunks of ricotta are on the smaller side, and the spinach works well to disperse the flavor.
If you’re looking for a pizza that isn’t going to be so filling you can’t get up from your seat after but still provides a lot of rich flavor from some added toppings, the Frank Nitti is a good pie to go with. You can easily order this pizza on a date with your significant other and have a couple of good topic starters. For one, the toppings on the pizza are a little more unique than what most people are used to, so you can chat about that. You can also impress him or her with your knowledge of the background on the pizza’s name.
Pizza Rock’s La Regina pizza is one of the shop’s Sicilian pizzas, but that’s not what makes it so interesting. The most interesting thing about the La Regina is that it wasn’t created by Gemignani. Instead, one of his head pizza chefs, Laura Meyer, created it. Not only did she create it, but she became the Gold Cup Winner at the International Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy, with it.
“La Regina” is Italian for queen. One thing about the La Regina is that it’s another pizza that sort of breaks one of our rules at Top Vegas Pizza. Or maybe it’s more like bending a rule. We say that because the La Regina has a solid portion of toppings on it. Despite the way they look, the toppings on the La Regina don’t weigh it down as much as you’d think. That’s because of the hefty amount of arugula that’s used, and arugula is very light.
Pizza Rock has multiple Sicilian-style pizzas on its menu and the La Regina is one of them. It’s made with soppressata, prosciutto di parma, arugula, piave cheese, and parmigiano-reggiano cheese.
Sicilian-style pizza is on the thicker side, but we’re not talking Chicago deep-dish thick. It’s more along the lines of focaccia. Despite its plump appearance, the pizza is actually pretty light. The dough is fluffy and airy throughout but still provides a subtle crispiness around the edges and along the undercarriage. The combination of being crisp and soft at the same time is one of the reasons the Sicilian pizzas from Pizza Rock stand out compared to other Sicilian pizzas.
The ingredients on top may look like a lot to get through, but they’re really not. The flavors work very well together, with the meats and the arugula standing out the most, but then backed up by the subtle bite that the parmigiano-reggiano delivers. The sauce can be lost in everything that’s going on between the dough and the toppings, but that just tells us that the sauce is correctly paired with this pizza. There is a slight sweetness to the sauce and it’s on the lighter side overall.
Verdura Veggie Pizza
The Verdura Veggie Pizza is a mouthful, both in its name and when you eat it. Many people like to order veggie pies, so we had to try it.
To be honest, it’s a little bit much for our liking. As you know, we like a classic cheese pizza above all else and have found that things can get a bit too out of whack with the more toppings you add. The Verdura Veggie Pizza from Pizza Rock has mozzarella, mushrooms, spinach, caramelized onions, garlic, tomatoes, shallots, green onions, and feta cheese. That’s a whole heck of a lot of toppings on a pizza.
Now, the Verdura Veggie Pizza is still a good pizza if you’re looking for a veggie pizza. The toppings taste fresh and do all right together. If we were to remove one of the toppings from the bunch, it would be the feta cheese.
Made using “Tony’s flour” as they call it, like the Classic Cheese Pizza, the dough stands out once again. So often we try veggie pizzas that fail because of the dough that’s used. The dough of the Verdura Veggie Pizza holds up well, keeps a decent structure to the pie, and delivers in taste.
Gluten Free Vegetarian Pizza
Some people prefer to eat gluten-free products, some don’t. Put us in the latter category and give us all of the gluten, please. That said, we had to try one of Pizza Rock’s gluten-free pizzas and we went with the Gluten Free Vegetarian Pizza. There’s also a Gluten Free Cheese Pizza and a Gluten Free Pancetta Gorgonzola Pizza on the menu. That’s a good amount of gluten-free options.
The Gluten Free Vegetarian Pizza is made with mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, goat cheese, and basil. And guess what? Although we much prefer pizza with gluten, this gluten-free pizza from Pizza Rock isn’t half bad. The crust is understandably on the thinner side, but it’s far from other gluten-free crusts we’ve tried. It still tastes like pizza crust and the fresh toppings do work well.
With the dough being on the thinner side and lacking gluten, there was a crispy bottom to the crust that gave us a nice crunch to the pizza. The dough wasn’t crispy throughout, and the middle and top were still chewy.
According to the Pizza Rock menu, their gluten-free pizzas are baked in a separate oven but prepared in an environment that does contain flour. Overall, while we might not order Gluten Free Vegetarian Pizza again because we’d rather go with a more traditional pie, we’d recommend anyone searching for gluten-free pizza try out the options at Pizza Rock.
Can Be Considered Pricey, But Worth It
The one gripe we’ve heard most often from those who have tried Pizza Rock is price, but even there you can find some more affordable options on the menu that won’t break the bank. The Classic Cheese Pizza, for example, is 13 inches and runs $15. The Verdura Veggie Pizza is also a 13-inch pie, but it’s more filling due to all of the toppings and comes in at $19. The Detroit Red Top or the La Regina do get up there in price, at $28 and $34, respectively, but you’re getting more pizza for your money. The Tomato Pie comes in at $21. There’s also a happy hour menu that offers some great items at very reasonable prices.
Overall, the cost lines up with the quality that Gemignani brings to the table. In Las Vegas, if a chef as well known and experienced as Gemignani attaches his name to a venue, you’ll likely be paying much more than what you will at Pizza Rock.
The bottom line is that Pizza Rock delivers a wide selection of pizzas. You might think that’s easy to do when someone like Gemignani is involved, but with as much hype as there is behind Pizza Rock, it would be easy for it to not meet expectations. Pizza Rock has super simple pies and very gourmet ones, with multiple styles of pizza on the menu and something for everyone. At the Downtown Las Vegas location, you can even walk in and grab pizza by the slice at the slice window. There’s a ton of pizza on the menu to keep you coming back for more, the ingredients are fresh, the dough is as good as it comes, and the atmosphere is vibrant if you decide to eat-in.