Piero’s Italian Cuisine brings people together for 40 years with great food, service and history.
Sharing a meal with family and friends remains a special time to share food, beverages, and laughter while creating lasting memories. The family-owned Italian restaurant Piero’s Italian Cuisine treats everyone as if they are part of the family. Founded by Freddie Glusman in 1982 directly off the Las Vegas Strip, Freddie has become the patriarch of this treasured Vegas institution. His son, Evan Glusman, is its operating partner, but Piero’s is so much more to him. It is indeed in their DNA, with a third-generation expanding their operation.
When it opened, Piero’s quickly became the hangout for politicians, celebrities (including the Rat Pack), conventioneers, locals, and even notorious mobsters. Today, Piero’s has a long and impressive list of regulars and guests, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, and Justin Timberlake. Las Vegas regulars include the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the Las Vegas Raiders Owner Mark Davis, Mike Tyson, Dana White, and Steve Lawrence.
Piero’s creates that polished old-school Italian aesthetic, where fine dining and service are at the forefront of the guest experience.
The menu still has most of its signature dishes from its inception in 1982. Piero’s continues to receive annual awards for its incredible Italian food and seafood and five-star service under the operation of Freddie and his son, Evan Glusman.
Speaking of mobsters, film buffs might recognize the old-school Italian restaurant in Martin Scorsese’s film “Casino,” filmed and released in 1995. Based on the real-life gangster Tony Spilotro who operated the Leaning Tower of Pizza, Joe Pesci’s character, Nicky Santoro, ran Leaning Tower Restaurant in the movie. Pesci also is a real-life fan of Piero’s.
“Joe [Pesci] came to Piero’s one night and lit up a cigar. He is a friend of mine, but I had to tell no cigars in the restaurant,” explains Freddie. “When the producers came back to use the restaurant for the movie [Casino], Joe had a lit cigar and blew the smoke in my face. But I had to laugh.”
Evan was in high school when the movie Casino was filmed at the restaurant, and he told all of his high school friends that they had to come to see Sharon Stone during her scenes. The restaurant was closed for five days, and Evan and his friends ditched school to watch Sharon perform.
Another funny story is when Freddie used to operate the pizza parlor in the Stardust with the president of the Stardust. One day, the president asked Freddie to make him a bag of chocolate chip cookies, and Freddie did. The president gave the bag as a gift, but the man with the bag of cookies was arrested when law enforcement mistook the bag for money being skimmed from the casino.
Evan remembers very clearly the time Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, former New York police detectives until retiring to Las Vegas, were arrested in Piero’s. Evan was bussing tables and, suddenly, AR15s came out with law enforcement swarming the place.
In many ways, Piero’s reflects Las Vegas, the story of moving to Las Vegas from somewhere else, working several jobs, and finding success.
Born in Canada, Freddie personifies the Las Vegas dream. He became a U.S. citizen, served in the Army, and moved to Las Vegas from California in 1957. He operated different businesses, sold carpet, and then began his culinary career at the Las Vegas Sporting House athletic club, one of the most upscale gyms back in the day.
He started the restaurant with a close friend, Chef Piero Broglia, with a desire to help the chef start a business. Freddie then had to ask him to leave six months later but kept the restaurant with the exclusive right and ownership of the name “Piero’s.” When the two parted ways, Freddie brought on sous chef, Gilbert Fetez, who was Piero’s chef for 38 years before he retired.
“Chef Piero made the best pasta and I always loved the food he made. He was a great chef and I still think he is a great chef to this day.”
As for the secret to Piero’s 40 years of success, “I am good looking,” laughs the 85-year-old Freddie. “The secret to Piero’s success is the minute the customer comes here, there is the valet who takes care of your car, and there is no charge. Then the customers walk in, get seated, and are introduced to the staff who will take care of them. Then the table is served the best bread in town,” he emphasizes, which is the only food item not made in-house.
The next item is the Caesar salad, as Freddie explains it, “is second to none. When you go to a restaurant, the first two things most customers eat are bread and salad.
His second secret to success is “not to overprice. If we have to raise them, we do, but we keep it reasonable.” Next, “keep it consistent. The menu item a customer orders today will be the same tomorrow, next week, and next month.”
Going to Piero’s is like coming home, with Freddie sitting in his booth for 40 years and Evan making sure everything is “off the charts, including the service and food. My dad knows so many people who walk in this room, and as for the younger generation, myself, Billy, Pat, or my bartenders know them. We have been doing the same thing for 40 years, and it works.”
Even as Freddie’s son, Evan, started at the restaurant as a busboy and worked his way to general manager.
“I couldn’t find another job,” laughs Evan. “I have always loved the restaurant business, and this is the best place to work.”
The menu at Piero’s is solid and not trendy. “Osso buco is one of the best items on the menu. Yes, we did change our Caesar salad and add some items, but it is still one of the best, and many of our competitors try to steal our recipe.”
According to Evan, people try to duplicate many items on the menu, especially their creamed corn, but they add their own touches, making their dishes unique. For example, they butterfly the veal chop and then cook it. The dish remains a traditional Italian favorite but with an extra touch. Their signature steaks, lamb chops, linguini and clams, and pasta, along with their specials will make all meals memorable. While changes and additions are made to the menu, Piero’s keeps it consistent.
Another unique feature that sets the restaurant apart from all others is its artwork, especially the monkeys. When the addition was added to the restaurant, they wanted to include local artists, so they included the work of Jose Bellver. The painting in the entranceway with a monkey on the left and a monkey flying away on the right represents someone he loved who passed. Another picture depicts Adam and Eve with Eve holding a lemon, “because women can be sour,” says Freddie, who has been married four times. The paintings in the dining room depict many of the Las Vegas luminaries that had dined in Piero’s over the years, including Jerry Tarkanian and Jerry Lewis.
At one point in the business, Piero’s maintained over $1 million in wine inventory. Customers’ tastes have evolved, and there is not as high of a demand for high-end wines, but Piero’s maintains a great list of wines for every taste as every price point.
Before the pandemic, Piero’s experienced its best year ever, with its busiest year in 2020 as the business continues to improve. In fact, Piero’s held a celebratory 40th anniversary party attended by VIP guests and customers.
“We have been doing great for 40 years and will continue with each generation,” states Evan.
“All of us at Food & Beverage Magazine felt honored to be invited to attend Piero’s 40th Anniversary celebration. To award Piero’s with the Icon Award was truly special and well-deserved,” says Food & Beverage Magazine publisher, Michael Politz.
Piero’s Italian Cuisine
355 Convention Center Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89109