Each year the three day International Pizza Expo draws thousands of attendees looking to gather everything they can from the annual trade show. Las Vegas plays host to the event.
The expo is closed to the public, but has everything imaginable for those in the business, from slicers to sauces to ovens. Manufacturers, suppliers and pizza proprietors from across the country attend the event.
Every year, Americans spend $1 billion on pizza. The statistics say that 1 in 8 people eat pizza each day. Pizza makers like Vinnie Mineo are enthralled with the number of items on display.
“Brick ovens are the best. Fast and greaseless,” he says. After viewing a selection of pizza paddles he interjects with his preference for metal paddles. “It’s easier to slide under the pizza.”
Visitors can try a variety of sauces or taste the latest in frozen pizzas. There are also workshops for those looking to get into the business like “So You Want to Open a Pizzeria”, or “Common Pizza Start-up Mistakes and How to Avoid Them”.
One of the most popular parts of the expo is the “World Pizza Games”. Attendees compete in events like dough-rolling, pizza box folding and dough stretching.
Buffalo native, Joe Todaro says pizza is in his blood. His family started in the business back in 1957. Now his company, La Nova, sells 500,000 pounds of wings each week. He’s known as Joey the Wing King. He brings samples of his wings with a raspberry sauce.
Cheese King, Frank Spina is another Buffalo native. He acknowledges that everyone loves mozzarella, but also recommends trying some mascarpone with ricotta for a sweeter effect.
Although the event is not well known outside of those in the industry, it is similar to Christmas for those who attend each year. The family feel within the industry makes for a welcoming trade show with something for everyone.