Slideshow: Dispatches From The 2013 International Pizza Expo In Las Vegas

Whatever Happens In Vegas...
Whatever Happens In Vegas...

This pie at the Caputo Flour booth was pretty much the only pizza they put out that I didn't try to get a piece of. This was also the only remotely romantic thing I saw in the state of Nevada.

Let The Games Begin
Let The Games Begin

Action from round one of the Acrobatic division of the World Pizza Games. Imagine dudes twirling and tossing pizza dough instead of batons (and managing to be cool) and you get the picture. Or just check out Niki's recap for the video.

The New Caputo
The New Caputo

Caputo quietly introduced two new flours to the American market, developed specifically for pizza al metro, foccacia, and pizza bianca. Caputo Violet retains more water and provides more elasticity than their other 00 doughs. "Criscito" is a flour-made yeast that you mix in with Violet to add flavor.

Antimo Caputo (suit) is appears to be slightly more excited about it than rock star pizzaiolo Antonio Starita (middle).

Choose Your Side
Choose Your Side

This double-sided Marana Forni looks incredible and provides oven access on both sides, but the pizzaiolos I spoke to about it were unsure about its necessity in a restaurant. Do any reader/operators think this would be helpful for them?

Cutting Out The Middleman
Cutting Out The Middleman

Yeah, those are the sign-waving robot mannequins. And yeah, I've been having some nightmares.

How Would You Like Your Vegetables Prepared?
How Would You Like Your Vegetables Prepared?

This Fruvemex booth is pretty indicative of the many businesses promising a longer shelf life for ingredients. I personally love the word "dehydrofrozen," I'm just not sure if it's what I want done to my food.

The Business Side
The Business Side

NCR and the other big point of sale (POS) companies looked more like they belonged at CES or E3 than the Pizza Expo.

The Coolest Thing I Saw
The Coolest Thing I Saw

Adam Kuban tipped us off to this Marana Forni bad boy last October, but seeing it for myself was pretty amazing. The oven floor rotates pizzas around a flame, then rises to automatically dome the pies. This is surely the first step in the machine war against human pizzaioli.

The Sauce Boss
The Sauce Boss

Massive tomato suppliers like Stanislaus and Escalon were on hand with huge booths, but DiNapoli (that's Rob DiNapoli himself) cans my favorites (Chris Bianco's, too).

Going Big
Going Big

Some booths give out samples to get you to try their product. Stanislaus Food Products decided to open a friggin' restaurant.

Your Pizza is Ready
Your Pizza is Ready

I'm not sure these pagers made by LRS are any more useful than the coasters we're used to, but they're a lot more festive.

Can I Have Your Attention?
Can I Have Your Attention?

Cheeseguys Brian Argersinger and Rodney Butcher show you the key to networking. And being memorable.

Magic Mushrooms
Magic Mushrooms

Mushroom supplier Market Fresh Farms is convinced that you can't tell the difference between 2-day-old creminis and their 11-day-olds. They were very nice so I don't doubt them, but I didn't take them up on the offer to sample.

DIY Pizza Boxes
DIY Pizza Boxes

I would imagine that printing your own pizza boxes would be cost prohibitive, but I came by the Xante Excelagraphix booth a half-dozen times and they were always with a customer, so maybe it's cheaper than I think.

A Pressing Matter
A Pressing Matter

DoughXpress was just one of the many companies offering ways to quickly and effectively press out your dough (and destroy your crust). I know these have been around for a while, but the rise of fast-casual pizza has to play a role in the abundance.

The Man Himself
The Man Himself

I doubt there's a better person to demo a Stefano Ferrara oven than Stefano Ferrara, himself, so it's probably good that he chose to attend. Pictured here is Dino Santinicola, of Cane Rosso.

Master and Apprentice
Master and Apprentice

Akinari "Pasquale" Makishima, the reigning king of Japanese Neapolitan, makes dough alongside one of his mentors, the celebrated Adolfo Marletta.

The T-Mix
The T-Mix

This 900-pound Hobart mixer might just be one-off painted for the Expo, but if the company wanted to grab my attention, mission accomplished.

How'd They Get That On The Plane?
How'd They Get That On The Plane?

Liones sells the SpeedKnife, the Darth Maul of pizza cutters, for $80. It really did cut faster than a single blade, but I can't help thinking about the shaving razor wars, and wondering who's going to up it to five blades first.

The Man From Napoli
The Man From Napoli

Spacca Napoli's Jonathan Goldsmith is in my pantheon for nicest guys I've ever met. And as if that wasn't enough, he made a very mean pie at the Caputo booth.

Gluten-Free, Not Taste-Free
Gluten-Free, Not Taste-Free

I'm sure you've seen more appetizing pies, but this ancient grain pizza from Smart Flour Foods wasn't just the best tasting gluten-free crust I had at the show, it was actually edible.

In The Mix
In The Mix

This beautiful double-arm mixer by Sottoriva is slowly becoming the go-to machine for top shelf Neapolitan shops like Sotto and Spacca Napoli. It's perfect for softer doughs (or so they tell me).

A Legend At Work
A Legend At Work

The maestro, Antonio Starita, domes a pie at the Caputo booth. I'm not sure how many folks strolling by and grabbing a slice knew that a pizza icon made their pie.

The Behemoth
The Behemoth

This monstrosity from AM Manufacturing can press 4,800 pizza crusts an hour. From mom & pop shop to commercial pizza factory, the Expo literally has something for everyone.

The Lone Wolves
The Lone Wolves

There were a surprising amount of companies that had a monopoly on their specific products. Optiva was the only vendor touting pizzeria staples like neon signs (though as you can see they aren't even neon).

Hidden Costs
Hidden Costs

There were four different companies offering insurance for pizzerias. While most restaurants have to cover worker's comp and the like, shops that deliver need more coverage. Four insurance companies specializing in pizza seemed like a lot until one of the booth guys told me there were 70,000 pizzerias in the country.

Higher Education
Higher Education

The action isn't limited to the convention floor. Tom "The Dough Doctor" Lehmann talks flour, water, yeast, and salt to a mostly captive audience in one of the conference rooms upstairs.

Do You Want Parmesan or Red Pepper?
Do You Want Parmesan or Red Pepper?

Like I said, every aspect of pizza is covered at the Expo, all the way down to the cheese and pepper packets.

Can I Just See The Box?
Can I Just See The Box?

Star Pizza Boxes had cool boxes, but they must have been worried that cardboard wasn't going to be enough to bring folks in. Girls and gambling ensued yet again.

Setting The Table
Setting The Table

What's that? Tablecloths aren't the first or second thing you think about when you hear "Pizza Expo?" Maybe that's why Americo had the market cornered at the show.

Perfect For Leftovers
Perfect For Leftovers

I hadn't seen one of these breakaway boxes from Zabox that split and form a smaller container so you can easily fit your leftovers in the fridge. Is anybody using them yet? Is the cost worth the benefit?

Seeing Red
Seeing Red

This oven from XLT was by far the prettiest one at the convention. Whether the pies roll off the conveyor belt in the same attractive fashion is another story.

Not Just Pizza
Not Just Pizza

By the way, it's not just pizza samples. You think you can just walk by a table like this and not take a bite. Then you realize how truly wrong you can be.

Lighting The Way
Lighting The Way

Ever wanted to know who makes those signs on top of the delivery cars? This guy, that's who.

Just Add Water (And Berries)
Just Add Water (And Berries)

The readymade Jiffy mix of flour, yeast, salt, and who knows what else isn't that disturbing to me. But the fruit pie on the top right sure is.

For the Gear Heads
For the Gear Heads

I didn't take loads of pictures of equipment, but if you're into pizza tools you can pick up pretty much anything at the show.

Parting Shot
Parting Shot

With literally hundreds of samples on the convention floor, there were more than a few dishwashing stations tucked away from public view. I leave you with a tribute to the folks who actually made the food happen.