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Rebel Rousers: Evel Pie’s Freewheeling Vegan

Located on Fremont Street in Las Vegas’ downtown, Evel Pie’s daredevil namesake and creative vegan menu items lend a unique edge to this retro-Americana pizzeria.

Posted on November 1, 2021

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Open since 2016 and serving up 20” New York-style pies with names like Viva Las Vegans, Evel Pie would attract interest for its menu alone. But this Las Vegas pizzeria also sets itself apart with a ’70s-era motorcycle theme—no surprise considering its inspiration, motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel. “We’re in the heart of Old Vegas, and Evel’s son, Kelly, is part owner,” explains Taylor Funkhouser, manager of Evel Pie. “We have retro Evel Knievel toys, rock-and-roll music, and live bands on the back patio. And we have fun in the kitchen.”

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Mystery and Intrigue

On the main menu at Evel Pie, memorable monikers meet creative topping combos—and that esthetic carries over to its extensive vegan menu, too. Two vegan pies are offered daily by the slice: The World Famous Snake River Special, named after one of Knievel’s famous daredevil attempts, is reimagined on the vegan menu as the Fake the Snake, with a replica of original’s rattlesnake sausage, plus roasted red peppers and caramelized onions. No one misses the meat on the 420, a white pie with an olive oil-oregano base, laden with a trio of mushrooms—shiitake, portobello and white button—and finished with parsley. For those ordering whole pies, faux-meat fans can nosh on the Beefer Madness, Vegan Meat Lover or Makin’ Bacon.

“The vegan menu has really expanded. It’s become so popular, we always offer those two by the slice, plus we have some fun with ‘mystery’ pies,” Funkhouser notes. “One of our most popular has been the vegan elote pizza, with a salsa verde base, vegan cheese and roasted corn, finished with a spicy guacamole sauce and vegan crema, then topped with Takis [tortilla chips] that I throw in the food processor to make a powder.”

Another popular “mystery” offering is a white pie with sundried tomatoes. When it comes out of the oven, chefs drizzle a balsamic glaze on top, then cover the pie with arugula tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. “It’s super yummy—people see it on Instagram and need it,” Funkhouser says. “We like to do something different, and when meat eaters enjoy it as well, that’s always my favorite. I have the freedom to have fun with our pies, and our staff gets to have fun as well.”

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Ingredient Experimentation

Recently, Funkhouser is excited by a new product that she believes will take Evel Pie’s vegan specialties to the next stratosphere: the new Miyoko’s Liquid Vegan Pizza Mozzarella. “It looks like pancake batter, so it’s definitely something new, but it’s amazing, and we’re switching,” Funkhouser says. “It looks like real cheese—you’d have to tell someone it’s vegan. Plus, because we do a lot of slices, this reheats really well. It browns, it bubbles—everybody’s mind was blown! Miyoko’s uses high-quality and organic ingredients, like cashew milk, and this cheese has protein, which makes it bind so well and look great on a pizza. We were excited for the big reveal.”

Other vegan specialties are made fresh by staff in-house, such as the now-famous Jalapeño Cilantro Ranch, a viral sensation loved by vegans and carnivores alike. Elsewhere on the menu, vegan chicken tenders doused in buffalo sauce can be served with the ranch, or used in a buffalo chicken salad or a buffalo chicken mystery pie. Vegan meatballs and garlic knots offer up tasty sides or appetizers for the extra-hungry. And any pie on the menu—including the Olivia Gluten-Free John, featuring an award-winning gluten-free deep-dish-style crust—can be reformulated to be made vegan upon request.

With various diets accommodated, plus reasonable price points for vegan fare, Funkhouser notes that customers come from far and wide to sample Evel Pie’s creative menu. “There are a lot of vegans in Vegas, but people come from everywhere to get our specialties, like the ranch and snake sausage pizza,” she says. “I’m vegan, and I love making food for people, but when you tell them it’s vegan, they think: ‘This isn’t going to taste right.’ People have that preconceived notion in their mind. So I love hearing them say, ‘I can’t believe it’s vegan!’”

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