LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Their names are Roy, Colin and Sean. But they want people to refer to them simply as “those guys.”
Why? Because that’s the name of their venture, Those Guys Pies.
The operation is tucked into a little shopping center in The Lakes at 2916 Lake East Drive. Those Guys Pies has an unassuming front and an even less spectacular interior with only one table. The “pick up yourself or we’ll deliver it to you” operation belies the fact that its pizza is worthy of a top restaurant.
When Donna Toussaint, a resident of The Lakes, saw the shop open, she and her husband gave it a try. When they got it home, they liked it so much, they returned the next night to order another.
“They’re awesome … I think they’re the best pizza in town,” she said.
The owners are Roy Bass, Colin O’Leary and Sean B. They opened the doors to Those Guys Pies in early August with no big marketing push.
“We’re (working) out the kinks,” said Sean B., who does not use his full last name. “We don’t even have our sign up yet.”
He said what sets them apart is the quality of the ingredients in everything they offer.
“(Roy) is not just a pizza maker, he’s a chef, so he makes everything from scratch, even the sauces,” he said. “If it’s prepackaged, he won’t use it. He makes the ranch (dressing ) from scratch. Every dipping sauce we have, he makes … They tried all different cuts of meat, and they said, ‘Hey, you know what, let’s spend a little bit more money and go with the best.’ So we have 100 percent certified Angus rib eye.”
Bass started cooking at a young age. He helped a friend’s mother run her restaurant in New Jersey.
“She said, ‘I’m not going to pay you a lot of money, but you’ll probably learn something,’ ” Bass recalled. “Her philosophy was, ‘If you can make it better than what you can buy, why buy it?’ ”
He learned to make Italian dishes, steaks and seafood. His passion for cooking grew, and he invited friends over so they could enjoy his dishes, too.
“I was basically that Le Cordon Bleu commercial, where the guy says, ‘Hey, you should become a chef, and blah blah blah,’ ” Bass said.
After moving to Las Vegas, he worked in various restaurants on and near the Strip. In his spare time, he worked up his own pizza recipe, trying it out on fellow employees and taking feedback. When he was growing up in Philadelphia, he said he always loved the white pizza from Tacconelli’s Pizzeria, a place famous for its pizza. He recalled looking through the window and watching the chefs make the pies. He said Tacconelli’s always ran out of dough because it was so popular.
“When I started messing around with pizzas at Palms Place, I was feeding the employees who ate in the employee dining room,” he said. “Every time I put the white pie out, people would go, ‘What is that?’ And it became one of the things people would always ask for.”
He tweaked it and tweaked it and said he knew he’d hit on the winning recipe when a woman tried a couple of bites and complimented him, saying it was as good as a place she had always frequented in Philadelphia —- Tacconelli’s.
From there the three owners got together, the concept for Those Guys Pies took off, and they secured the location.
Wasn’t it an unknown to start a business when people are still cutting back on expenses?
“Personally, I didn’t see it,” Sean B. said. “I see people spending ridiculous amounts of money (on their) nightlife. We’re kind of coming out of where (the country was) three years ago, so realistically, even though we are still (in a recession), from what we see Vegas at … I see money being spent. In the neighborhood, it might affect us a little bit because our price points are a dollar or more than somebody else, but people appreciate the quality of product. They’ve come here and tried it, and they’ve come back.”
In five years, the owners said they would like to have at least five or six stores in Las Vegas, spread out in different communities, but also one on the Strip. From there, they plan to expand outside of Nevada.