International Pizza Expo: The exhibitors- food and products

Viva Las Vegas!

I made it! Earlier this month, I went to the international Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center. I was able to steal away 2 days from the office to see what many pizza stars, restaurant owners, and vendors consider the “Superbowl” of pizza conventions.

 

I’ll be posting 3 separate entries about the Expo:

  1. International Pizza Expo- The exhibitors- food and products*
  2. International Pizza Expo- The competitions- International Pizza Challenge & World Pizza Games
  3. International Pizza Expo- The Seminars- Learning from the best

If you own a pizzeria or a restaurant, the Intl. Pizza Expo is heaven. I walked around the insanely large grounds of the convention center and saw everything conceivable for a restaurant owner. Cheese providers, Tomato sellers, oven manufacturers, menu creators… All areas were covered. As an outside viewer, I didn’t have much knowledge on all the small details of a pizzeria and what was needed. But if, for example, you wanted to switch up your cheese recipe, there were plenty of options here!

Huge Pizza Expo Banner

Big aisles for people to navigate through

It was clear that ‘Gluten free’ is a big deal. I saw many vendors selling pre-made crusts, pre-made pizzas, or gluten free flour. It was quite interesting, and I did taste some of the samples. At a happy hour event called “Beer & Bull Exchange,” owners talked about how they keep their prep tables separate and how using pre-made crusts allow them to avoid any gluten contamination. I found all of this to be quite fascinating.

I stopped by some of the booths that had nothing to do with pizza… only indirectly. Salad dressing exhibitors, meat exhibitors, delivery bike exhibitors, etc. All of these vendors have a strong connection to the pizza industry, and pizzeria owners look for these aspects to supplement their business model.

Elvis was there with the US postal service, helping business owners with their mail programs.

Gorgeous Pizza Oven in the background... with melt-in-your-mouth quality pizza

Of course, my favorite vendors were those that had food samples :). I fasted the whole day before this event… just kidding! There was a row of the most famous Italian vendors in the back churning out a variety of pizzas: Maria Forni, San Felice,  and Antimo Caputo. Many of them were accompanied by famous pizzaiolos or pizzeria owners. For example, Mark Dym of Marco’s coal fired pizza & Spacca Napoli’s Jonathan Goldsmith were supporting the Caputo booth.

People rushing up to grab pizza at the Maria Forni booth

Some of the pizza ovens were just GORGEOUS. I’ve always dreamed of having a brick oven or coal-fired oven in my house or backyard. One day it will happen. There was a plethora of great products and I wish I was a pizza owner so I could be more critical about them. Luckily, my friends Brianna & Jon and Brianne & Mike offered their opinions as we walked around. Both of the couples run pizzerias and they are always looking for new ideas and products.

The Crew

Stay tuned for Part 2 & 3 of my Pizza Expo review!

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