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August 3, 2019
New menu item at Las Vegas pizzeria: Grasshoppers
At Las Vegas' Fremont Street Evel Pie pizzeria, there’s a surprising new ingredient being added to their New York-style slices: Grasshoppers.
“The Canyon Hopper” pizza at Evel Pie hit the menu this week after a Biblical level migration of pallid-winged grasshoppers swarmed Sin City’s neon lights and sidewalks – an invasion so thick it looked like a storm on weather radar.
"It's hit the world by swarm," Branden Powers, Evel Pie's managing partner and creator, told the USA TODAY Network.
If you stop into the pizzeria at 508 Fremont St. in downtown Las Vegas, a slice will cost $5.50. Oh, and they're selling out.
A California transplant from Bakersfield who grew up in a pizza parlor family, Powers drew inspiration for the Canyon Hopper from Las Vegas regulars who seem unfazed by the bug storm.
“One of the biblical plagues invades Las Vegas, and we laugh in the face of it,” Powers said. “You see all these old ladies – my grandma was one of them – playing the slot machines while Rome burns around them, still on their oxygen, smoking cigarettes. That’s basically Las Vegas.”
Like other pies flying into ovens here, the Canyon Hopper is an ode to Evel Knievel, the daredevil known for his adventurous spirit and death-defying stunts.
Topping a base of baked goat cheese, caramelized onions and chorizo is arugula and a few healthy sprinkles of roasted grasshoppers seasoned with lime and garlic.
Roasted grasshopper is similar to chewing on a pork rind.
Where did the grasshopper toppings come from? “Everybody’s worried we’re taking a shovel outside,” Powers said.
He actually ordered them on Amazon Prime. They arrived in bags from Oaxaca, a Mexican city known for grasshoppers – or “chapulines.”
"We literally thought it was going to be three slices a day," said Corey Horan, Evel Pie's general manager. ""We thought it was a good joke, a good time – maybe we'd get a couple people to try it. We didn't anticipate this."
They started with a few four-ounce bags of bugs. But soon after the Canyon Hopper hit the menu, the kitchen ran out of grasshoppers.
“We had to scramble and go all around the city. Went to Ethiopian markets, Thai markets,” Powers said. “Eighty percent of the planet eats insects, except us. We eat a couple pounds a year, and we don’t know it.”
Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News
Some content sourced and verified from: AASNSports; AP; USAToday
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