Thursday, January 26, 2012

Las Vegas: President Obama Feasts On World Famous Pies From Dom DeMarco's Pizzeria

Co-owner Albert Scalleat dishes on the Presidential take-out order: A dozen pizzas and twenty cannolis...
Delivering a dozen pizzas and 20 cannolis to President Obama on Wednesday night in Las Vegas was "like being in a movie," Albert Scalleat, co-owner and general manager of Dom DeMarco's Pizzeria & Bar told Obama Foodorama. The President's big take-out order was a surprise to Scalleat, whose western branch of the world-famous Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn has only been open for seven weeks. Scalleat said that when he got a call from the President's hotel, the Element in Summerlin, asking for the takeout order, he was only told that it was for a VIP guest. But he decided to deliver it himself, unaware that he was bringing dinner for the Eater in Chief--or that the President would send his compliments. (Above: President Obama spoke this morning at UPS Las Vegas South)

The Presidential dinner feast was first reported by Eater Las Vegas. As Scalleat arrived at the Element Hotel, the streets were blocked off, with a huge Secret Service and police presence.

"Honest to God it was like a movie," Scalleat said. "Helicopters overhead, police cars everywhere, guys in dark suits."

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is a regular at DeMarco's, Scalleat said, but he hailed delivering pizza to the President as a highlight of his long career. Scalleat is 67, and has been in the pizza biz for decades; Di Fara, open since 1964, has been "number one in New York for years;" it's routinely #1 in the Zagat Guide.

Scalleat brought the President six square Brooklyn-style thick crust pizzas, which sell for $27 each, and have 12 slices. There were 3 cheese pizzas, one sausage, one pepperoni, and one combo, which had sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms. Scalleat also brought six round, thin-crust pizzas, with exactly the same toppings. Those sell for $18 for the cheese, and $24 for the meat, and have 8 slices each.

The 20 cannolis, all oversized, were vanilla cream with chocolate chips, and go for $6 each, Scalleat said.

"We're known for our cannolis. We make them fresh daily."

Tight security...and the Presidential compliment...
Scalleat--and the huge takeout order--were screened through the Secret Service's tight security operation once he was inside the hotel, which he described as one of the nicest in the area--"beautiful--non-smoking, no gaming, and green." Scalleat went through a magnetometer, as did the takeout order. (Above: Scalleat is in the center, with Di Fara's founder Domenico DeMarco at left)

"I had to take everything out of my pockets and put it on a conveyer belt," Scalleat said. "Like at an airport. The pizzas and cannolis went through too."

Scalleat said he hung around after making his delivery because a crowd was in the hotel lobby, and there was much talk of President Obama taking a stroll through the public area. No such luck. But about 45 minutes after the delivery, one of the President's aides found Scalleat, and sent the President's compliments.

"The guy comes down and says the President told me to tell you that he loves the pizza and the cannolis," Scalleat said.

He didn't catch the aide's name, but someone in the crowd told Scalleat that the dark-suited aide, who was bald and in his 30s, was "the President's executive chef." The description sounds like Sam Kass, but there's no telling who the aide actually was.

Scalleat voted for Mr. Obama in 2008, and said he's thrilled that he got to deliver the pizza.

"It was like a movie," Scalleat repeated. "He's the President--who would have thought?!"

Business has been swell for Dom DeMarco's since they opened, Scalleat said, noting that Las Vegas guests who want to visit Di Faras's but can't make it to Brooklyn are coming in droves to the western outlet.

President Obama this morning spoke at UPS Las Vegas South, on the second day of a three-day, five-state tour that followed his State of the Union Address on Tuesday. He returns to Washington on Friday.

Information: Dom DeMarco's Pizzeria & Bar is at 9785 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV. 89117. Phone: 702-570-7000.

*Top photo by AP; others courtesy of Albert Scalleat