For Ethan Spiezer, opening Solamente Pizza in Las Vegas last summer felt scary, but, as he told a local TV station, “If there’s somewhere to bet on yourself, Vegas, I guess, is it.”

Considering that Spiezer is new to the pizza business, it wasn’t exactly a safe bet in a restaurant-heavy market like Sin City. But his pizza has already earned such buzzy acclaim, he could likely double down on the wager if he wanted to. In fact, he might have no choice, considering he’s already having to turn customers away on some particularly busy nights.

Since opening on September 1, 2023, Solamente Pizza has attracted heavy hitters in the industry like Tony Gemignani and John Arena as well as Scott Commings, winner of season 12 of Hell’s Kitchen, who went on to become head chef at the Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

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But Spiezer’s newfound culinary fame hasn’t gone to his head so far. He still spends his days as a special education teacher in the Clark County Public School District. He gets up at 5:30 a.m., works a fulltime schedule at a local middle school, then dashes off to Solamente Pizza, where he might work as late as 1:45 a.m.

According to Fox 5 Vegas, which has featured him twice in the past few months, Spiezer kick-started his pizza career in the side yard of a Vegas test kitchen, now closed, that catered to aspiring chefs. There, he honed his pizza-making chops during the pandemic, with the dream of opening his own shop one day.

He’s proud of his naturally leavened, 80% hydration dough, which he describes as “very light, fluffy [and] wet.”

This photo shows a pizza with a beautifully blistered crust.

Solamente Pizza / Instagram

Commings said Spiezer has every reason to be proud. He recently visited Solamente Pizzeria to seek dough-making tips from the industry newbie. “There are a million things that can go wrong with dough, and somehow he’s finding a way to make it perfect,” Commings told Fox 5 Vegas in another segment that aired on January 3, 2024. “This is some of the best dough and pizza I’ve seen coming out.”

Solamente’s menu isn’t extensive, but it’s packed with individually sized Contemporary Neapolitan-style and 16” Roman-style pies. Among the 10 pizzas currently listed on the restaurant’s website are the Daniel Gigi, featuring horseradish butter, fior di latte, prosciutto, Pecorino Romano, Sicilian olive oil, EVOO and a truffle paté, as well as the PBA, topped with prosciutto, San Marzano tomatoes, arugula, burrata, Pecorino Romano and EVOO.

Customers can also order pizza by the slice. For dipping, Spiezer offers Sweet Honey Ricotta, made with Italian orange honey; a San Marzano sauce; and olive oil and Parmigiana Reggiano.

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Otherwise, the menu is limited to a pair of desserts—cannoli cupcakes and a dessert pizza called Off the Hook, boasting chocolate honey-whipped ricotta, white chocolate, cannoli frosting, chocolate chips, whipped cream and coarse sea salt.

“This happens for me at night, where I can be mad scientist Ethan Pizza Maker,” Spiezer said in the first Fox 5 Vegas segment, which aired on August 26, 2023. “And then I can still be Mr. Spiezer, special education teacher to inner city youth who really need that guidance too, at the same time.”

His biggest problem so far: Too many customers, and insufficient kitchen space to make enough dough to feed them all. He hopes to find a bigger space so he won’t have to send customers home hungry at times.

“To walk around that dining room and hear people tell me, ‘I was in Italy, and I didn’t taste something like this,’ I mean, it takes my breath away, literally,” Spiezer said.

Commings marvels at Spiezer’s talent, too. “We all work on our craft in this industry,” he said, “and it takes us a long time to find out what we love and how to get there, and he’s finding it a lot quicker than us.”