By Paul Zahn | December 29, 2016 | Food & Drink
High Horse, one of the newest hospitality collectives in Las Vegas, recently opened a new pizzeria paying tribute to iconic motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel. Located on East Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, Evel Pie features craft beers, cheap cocktails, and a wide variety of pizza options. High Horse’s Branden Powers and Knievel’s son, Kelly Knievel, took time to chat with us about their new project and Evel’s legacy in Las Vegas.
What made you want to open a pizzeria in Downtown Las Vegas with High Horse?
BRANDEN POWERS: My business partners in High Horse, Jeff Fine and Seth Schorr, had the location and were wanting to do a pizza concept that would reflect the artistic and eclectic energy of Downtown. I really love what Tony Hsieh and other entrepreneurs have done in such a short amount of time. We are so fortunate to have Tony and others who have contributed so much to Downtown’s growth.
KELLY KNIEVEL: The level of enthusiasm about the project really grabbed me first and foremost. Branden, Jeff, and their team told me they didn’t want anything fancy—just good pizza, beer, and liquor in a casual atmosphere. The concept was talked about in simple terms—a fun place with good food and good people. A great local lunch and late-night spot that takes care of both locals and tourists—how can you argue with that?
How did your father inspire Evel Pie?
KK: I think people appreciate who Evel Knievel was and what he stood for—fearless about his career, believing in himself and the American dream, and making the whole thing up on the spot out of his own his imagination. People admire that sort of successful brashness.
The venue has a throwback feel—tell us a little about the theme of the restaurant and what personal family memorabilia was contributed?
KK: I think the throwback feel is just the “comfortable” factor about the place. It’s inexpensive. The pizza is the best in town and served up by folks who prioritize good service and good food. The atmosphere is just casual, easy, and comfortable. As far as our family contribution, guests can see our family pictures and photos from my dad’s career hanging on the walls. We wanted these to bring an authenticity and personal touch to the restaurant.
BP: I wanted to recreate the look and feel of a '70s sit-down pizzeria from the black pleather booths and the vintage pinball machine to the Tiffany lamps and neon signs. Lieuchi Fine, who is an awesome interior designer, was able to take my crazy ideas and make them work within the context of the space. Last but not least, Kelly Knievel hit it out of the park by providing thousands of never-before-seen family images that are an amazing tribute to his father. Those pictures are the soul of Evel Pie. Kelly is great, and we couldn't have asked for a better partner. When he first saw the venue, he stopped for several moments and looked at each of the pictures. You could tell he was moved. It was a powerful moment and made me realize that this is so much more than pizza. It's a shrine to an American hero and one kick-ass dad.
What is one food and drink item that is truly unique to Evel Pie?
BP: Our Snake River Pizza that features rattlesnake sausage is unique to our venue. It's a little earthy for my tastes buds, but true daredevils love it.