Pepperoni, beef, mushrooms and veggies are the common toppings you’d expect at a pizzeria.
But at Evel Pie in Las Vegas, customers are jumping at the chance to try a slice topped with lime-and-garlic-roasted grasshoppers.
“I wondered: 'Was this pizza too risky or crazy to put out?'” Branden Powers, Evel Pie’s managing partner and creator, told “Good Morning America.” But despite the initial hesitation, the new Canyon Hopper pizza has become a hit.
Evel Pie only expected to sell maybe two or three of these pies, but quickly realized that the demand was high. They had to work fast to support the number of people who seemed to love the pizza.
“We sold out of the supply we had by 2 p.m. that day and had to scramble to see how we were going to get more supplies and stay ahead of this,” said Corey Horan, Evel Pie’s general manager and head pizzaiolo.
This idea for the eccentric Canyon Hopper came as Nevada faced swarms of grasshoppers in recent weeks. Powers and Horan, along with kitchen manager Will Stander, wanted to ride the wave of national attention and simply wanted to have a good laugh.
Plus, it was a way to pay tribute to the namesake of the pizzeria.
“The Canyon Hopper is an ode to Evel Knievel's failed attempt to jump over the Snake River Canyon in his rocket,” Powers said. “It also paints a picture of the grasshopper invasion heading towards Las Vegas.”
The creators also wanted to show their strength, even against a swarm of grasshoppers.
“We are pretty resilient,” Powers added. “We kind of did the whole ‘take lemons and make lemonade’ thing. Well, we took grasshoppers and made grasshopper pizza.”
Expectations were exceeded and consumers lined up for more -- and what started out as fun has shifted into popular menu item.
But, as Horan notes, it not only has to taste good but also has to look good.
“People always eat with their eyes and noses first,” he said. “We thought the arugula would be a good idea because it gave the impression that the grasshoppers were in a bed of grass, and if we could give a good appearance and a great flavor, then that's what I am traditionally looking at.”
Although this pizza brings attention from many Instagram lovers and food daredevils, Powers believes the impact of this pizza is not just crust deep.
“Insects are definitely a viable food source option for protein and nutrition that I’m hoping America will open their minds to moving forward,” he said.
Even though Evel Pie has gotten a lot of attention thanks to the the grasshopper-topped pizza, the creators said the brand is still enduring and unchanging, priding themselves on “throwing the best pizza party every day of the week, making incredible pizza, and having great service and a great atmosphere.”
What’s next for them?
“I'm willing to explore all the flavors and see what works,” Horan said. “There's nothing hands off about pizza. You can do pretty much anything.”