The stretch of Grand Canyon Drive just south of Flamingo Road is engulfed on both sides by a sprawling series of parking lots and strip malls bounded by a Target and Kohl’s on the west and the Las Vegas Athletic Club on the east. Within this area are plenty of spots for physical-fitness buffs to grab a bite after their workout. But three stand out. Each is locally owned; they’re all committed to the local community and their menus are all dedicated to the idea of letting guests be the masters of their own dining destiny.
Custom Built Pizza
Sure, pizza is inherently a “build-your-own” concept. But the folks at Custom Built truly encourage you to get creative by not charging for toppings. The price of your pie is determined by the type of crust you choose. The basic is $9.45, with honey/wheat and gluten-free available for $1 and $2 more, respectively. From there, you can go crazy. Want to mix creamy alfredo sauce with pistachio pesto, then add a combination of mozzarella, gorgonzola and asiago cheese? Go for it—there’s no extra charge. Then toss on as many of the 21 toppings as you like, everything from chorizo and chicken to pineapple and sun-dried tomatoes. You can actually get cheaper pies for a bit less cash, but the build-your-own experience is well worth the price of admission. On a recent visit, I witnessed the students and teachers from Ober Elementary School having a blast experimenting with the possible combinations, part of the restaurant’s community outreach programs. 4165 S. Grand Canyon Dr., Suite 105, 473-9918, CustomBuiltPizza.com.
Why let a chef decide what sauce and toppings belong on your pasta? In the same complex as Custom Built is Pasta Fresh, a restaurant that lets you build a pasta meal from the ground up. Noodle choices include tagliatelle, pappardelle, francobolli, rigatoni and ravioli. Among the sauce options you’ll find marinara, alfredo, pesto, carbonara, extra-virgin olive oil and butter. And you can top them off with your choice of five cheeses and a menu of toppings (extra charge) that includes spinach, zucchini, meatballs, shrimp and steak. Everything, from the most complex custom dish down to a simple mac ’n’ cheese, is made fresh to order. On the community front, the owners are regular supporters of the local Sandpipers swim team. 4165 S. Grand Canyon Dr., Suite 102, 445-6163, PastaFreshVegas.com.
For Goodness Shake
Once you’ve loaded up on pasta or pizza (hopefully not both), take a brisk walk across the road to For Goodness Shake. The dessert spot serves up milk shakes and nonfat yogurt shakes mixed in super-powered blenders that quickly render even the heartiest ingredients fit for slurping through a straw. If you want something healthy, go with the various available fruits. Or, if you want to get really decadent, throw in Ho-Hos, Ding Dongs, Twix and Kit Kat bars or Cocoa Pebbles. Whatever you order, a portion of your purchase will go to Three Square food bank. And once the weather turns nice again, keep your eyes peeled for one of the parking-lot parties. 4220 S. Grand Canyon Dr., Suite 8, 483-6590, ForGoodnessShake.com.