Small Business Saturday is the perfect chance to show local businesses how much they’re appreciated and get some holiday shopping done. This year, SmartBiz Loans is sharing our top picks for small business shops across the U.S.
With so many award-winning restaurants, high-end stores, and evening shows located on “The Strip”, it’s easy to get distracted by the glitz and glamour. But Las Vegas’ best kept secrets won’t be found in a casino. Here are some of our favorite places to dine, drink and shop ’til you drop!
Food and Restaurants
Looking for good pizza and an even better atmosphere? Evel Pie is the place to go! With pizzas like Gang Green (a pesto-based pie) and Hog Heaven (featuring house-made bbq sauce and pulled pork), there are plenty of mouthwatering options for every kind of pizza lover.
The best thing about this place, however, isn’t just the great food. The walls are adorned with - you guessed it - Evel Knievel memorabilia. Play an original Evel Knievel pinball machine while you wait for your slice and enjoy!
Perhaps you prefer somewhere to wind down with a glass of pinot or a hand-crafted cocktail and a sandwich? Then Bin702 is the place! Located inside Downtown Container Park, an offbeat shopping center built entirely out of recycled shipping containers, Bin702 has a large menu with something for everyone!
The sandwiches range from their famous Flamin’ Hot Cheeto grilled cheese, to cabernet-soaked mushrooms and smoked gouda, and even a sophisticated lobster grilled cheese - All of which are made behind the bar and brought directly to you on their covered patio!
For drinks, don’t miss Taryn’s B****face, made with fig-infused vodka, earl grey tea and juice, or their wide variety of local beers and international wines.
"Four words, Flamin’ Hot Cheeto sandwich. This sandwich alone earns this place five stars, but it's not only that, it’s their other delicious food items along with great beers and awesome service.”
Cornish Pasty Co
The Cornish pasty originates from Southwest England sometime around the 1200s, and were initially baked so that tin miners could hold them with one hand while eating and toss the crust when finished. Lucky for us, Cornwall native and Cornish Pasty owner Dean Thomas brought the flaky-filled pastry to Las Vegas!
Visit Cornish for a variety of different pasties, including the traditional steak, potato and onion, as well as vegan chicken, corn and chilies. And save room for a cup of PG Tips and banoffee (banana + toffee) pie afterwards!
“Great-Aunt Esther was a tough, smart, no-nonsense type who cared about people and gave good advice.” When Chef James Trees’ aunt passed away, she left him with enough inheritance to achieve his dream and open his own seasonal, Italian soul food restaurant.
Pasta at Esther’s Kitchen is all handmade in-house, with more uncommon shapes like agnolotti and bucatini nero on the menu that would make Great Aunt Esther proud. The sourdough bread melts in your mouth and pairs wonderfully with simple burrata and basil oil.
“We ordered their porchetta benedict and their carbonara pasta, both dishes made us look at each other with wide eyes at the same time. Simply delicious!!! Of course we washed it down with some berry mimosas, a must try!
They make their own sourdough bread and pasta. Speaking of incredible they gave us a little tour behind the scenes to where their magic is happens.
First experience was so satisfying, the vibe, the services... and to end things perfectly our bartender served us a favorite shot of his to toast to a great time here. Cheers!”
Coffee Shops and Sweets
Bad Owl Coffee
For lovers of Harry Potter, Bad Owl Coffee is a must-see. This Potter-themed coffee shop just opened their second location and started roasting their own beans, which are now available to purchase online.
Coffee options vary from the First Year’s Flight (small shots of four different flavors), lavender and pina colada lattes, the signature Butterbrew latte, house-made nitro cold brew, and espresso options affectionately named after HP favorites (Belligerent Basilisk, Cryptic Centaur).
The motto here is “Coffee? Always.” and for a good reason!
PublicUs is a great place to relax with a book or get some work done on the computer. The baristas here treat the coffee like cocktails, often mixing in flavors like lemon verbena, bitters, turmeric and ginger, which are both unique and delicious.
“The service is excellent. Our order was taken by a handsome man who explained in perfect detail what an Espresso Old Fashioned is... I highly recommend. I ordered the Golden Milk turmeric latte. It was a balanced and delightful symphony of flavors in my mouth and went down super smooth.”
No.1 Boba Tea
As the first boba shop in Las Vegas, No.1 Boba Tea certainly has history in the city. Owner Amy Zhang Warhtan came to the U.S. from China in 1993 to attend business school, and purchased the existing Chinatown location not long after.
Now with seven locations, No.1 Boba Tea is a local success story. Stop in for a Thai tea boba, lychee slush complete with lychee jelly, or even a simple cup of rose milk tea. Ask for non-dairy milk teas if you’re lactose-sensitive!
CJ’s Italian Ice and Custard
CJ’s Italian Ice and Custard offers up the most Instagram-famous desserts in all of Las Vegas. The Spicy Sandia, made of mango and watermelon ice, pineapple Dole whip, Chamoy, Tajin, a Tamarind stick and fresh fruit, has been featured across foodie Instagram pages for several years, earning CJ’s over 85,000 followers.
Each month, the owner gets more creative, showcasing flavors like pumpkin pie soft serve, vegan ube/taro, cookie butter, Red Bull, Sour Patch Kids and more! Definitely a dessert place you’ll have to see to believe.
“I can say with confidence that this place is definitely unique! I have yet to find another ice cream place in Vegas with options like theirs. You can choose either cone or cup and their cones are too cute with lots of colors. As well with their toppings, it ranges from lucky charms marshmallows to cotton candy sprinkles! The possibilities are endless and that's what I love about Cj’s."
Books, Clothes and Shopping
The Writer’s Block
This independent shop in Downtown Las Vegas is more than just a bookstore. With workshops available in poetry, print making, drama, filmmaking, blogging, podcasting and more, The Writer’s Block has established itself as a solid cornerstone of the Las Vegas cultural community.
The store carries a variety of books, including new fiction, rare exhibitions and even audiobooks. If discussing your more recent read with a group of like-minded friends is your thing, their selection of open-enrollment book clubs doesn’t disappoint!
Cowtown Vintage Guitars
Need something for the musically inclined loved one in your life? Check out Cowtown Guitars! Owner Jesse Amaroso has appeared on the History Channel show “Pawn Stars” as the vintage guitar expert, and has been part of the Las Vegas music scene for over 20 years.
Cowtown Guitars has been open since 1990 and is home to an array of classic guitars, including a 1978 Fender Telecaster, a 1974 Gibson Les Paul, and even a 1948 Epiphone Zephyr Deluxe. Check out their website for repair and parts information, full vintage inventory, and the history behind each instrument!
Cash 4 Chaos
Punk music has a history in Las Vegas, and Cash 4 Chaos has been there since the beginning. Owner Mel Howard, originally from California, migrated to Las Vegas to open his one-of-a-kind clothing boutique in the ‘90s, and the doors have been open ever since.
At Cash 4 Chaos, shoppers will find bootleg screen printed t-shirts, body jewelry, patches and pins, shoes and more. The biggest treasure in this local store, however, is the collection of both new and used vintage vinyl. Chances are, if you’re searching for a specific record, Cash 4 Chaos has it or Mel knows where you can find it!
“Stopped by this place to check out their patches and assorted music garb. We wound up buying a few patches, stickers, a few t-shirts and some vintage music. They also have a variety of cool jewelry, pins, and other assorted musical-related stuff.
The guy who runs the place is very cool and very attentive.”
Minimal Market provides sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives to everyday essentials for the burgeoning Las Vegas community. By offering minimal waste options and making it easy for families to make greener choices, Minimal Market is helping save the planet, one steel straw or bamboo brush at a time.
Although there isn’t a brick-and-mortar shop to visit, the Minimal Market team is active in the Las Vegas community and regularly holds pop-up events with their refill station ready for shoppers. And if you can’t make it to them, they’ll bring zero-waste alternatives to your doorstep through their at-home delivery system for refillable household essentials like detergent, shampoo, cleaner and more!
Things To Do
Majestic Repertory Theater
Catch a Broadway-worthy performance at Majestic Repertory Theater! As a non-profit community theater, Majestic stretches the bounds of the traditional theater experience by incorporating immersive and interactive performances into their seasonal shows. Krampus, for example, was a production where ticketholders were invited to a holiday party (actually held at someone’s house), which ended up in a literal nightmare.
Past productions include Cabaret, Spring Awakening and Our Town, with a list of upcoming productions of Sweeney Todd, The Manson Family: An Opera, and another immersive experience called Horrorwood Video.
When a casino closes down, where do the bright neon lights go? To the Neon Museum! Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for future generations.
The exhibition space, called the Neon Boneyard, is home to rescued signs from the 1930s through today and depicts the changes in style and technology of Las Vegas casinos. Take a tour of the Boneyard, book a photo shoot or even host an event among the bright lights!
The Salt Room
The Salt Room is Las Vegas’ first natural, therapeutic Himalayan salt cave. As a family-operated wellness center, this local destination is a great stop for relaxing and helping treat stress and tension.
The salt cave itself is a haven for treating a cold, flu, sinus infection or general inflammation. The Salt Room also offers hot stone, deep tissue and aromatherapy massages to complete your wellness experience.
Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum
You’ll need to sign a waiver before you take a tour of Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum. Management wants to ensure that every visitor is aware of the ghosts, spirits and cursed objects in the building, which was built in 1938 and now houses 11,000 square feet and over 30 rooms of haunted artifacts.
Creepiness ensues as visitors take in paranormal heirlooms, like Bela Lugosi’s mirror, which is said to have been used in his frequent occult rituals and was found in the room where he died. Visitors can also explore Jack’s Van, the ’68 VW van where Dr. Kevorkian assisted patients, as well as Peggy the Doll, a glass-eyed porcelain doll that’s said to be possessed and can cause chest pains, nausea and debilitating headaches.
“Just left here and I can say I had the most amazing experience! So awesome seeing all the artifacts and hearing our tour guide Sarah talking so passionately about all the different things in the museum just made me all the more intrigued! I can say that the Peggy room made me very uncomfortable and I started to get clammy and sweaty to where I didn't want to be in there anymore. Also, my friend I was with said the right side of her head started hurting until she left. Crazy! I will always recommend this place! Something definitely worth seeing!”