Yukon Pizza, a sourdough pizza concept currently operating out of Vegas Test Kitchen, will soon open its first ever brick-and-mortar restaurant.
You might ask: What’s Yukon about it? The name refers to the origin of the restaurant’s sourdough, which was born in the Yukon Territories in 1897, during the Klondike Gold Rush.
“It’s been part of our family for over a century,” co-owner Alex White told What Now Las Vegas in a Tuesday morning phone call.
White’s family has been baking with this same sourdough for generations. When White went off to college, his father gave him a gift in a mason jar. It was White’s inheritance: a sourdough starter.
“I started messing around in college and holding pizza parties, making pizzas but not thinking much about it,” White said.
Over time, this hobby blossomed into a full-blown obsession, as White began studying to improve his pizza know-how. Alongside his job in the film industry, the hobby became a catering side gig, as White attracted attention with his “End of the World Parties,” for which he would drive out into the desert, drop a GPS pin, and invite friends for pizzas and beer.
“For years, I did what I call knucklehead doughmaking,” White said. “I became obsessed with how to make the best sourdough, Neapolitan-style pizza. I dug my head into learning about the history of pizza in Italy, sourcing flour, learning where to buy cheese and tomatoes.”
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, removing the last obstacle to making Yukon Pizza a full-time occupation: White’s job in the film industry.
“Suddenly my brother and I are out of jobs,” White said. (His brother, Cameron White, was also working in the film industry at the time.) “Everyone is at home not doing anything. So my wife and I started slinging street-side pizzas and it really started to pick up steam.”
The project, a family collaboration between Alex and Cameron White, spouses Dani Garcia-White and Jess White, and pizza chef Justin Ford, has been growing ever since, getting a jumpstart at Vegas Test Kitchen and now opening its first standalone restaurant.
Opening at 1120 S Maryland Pkwy, the new restaurant will build on Yukon’s slate of sourdough pizzas, constructing a full menu with the help of Chef Ford, who brings to the table 15 years of experience as a pizza chef and 20 years in the world of fine dining. The menu will include appetizers, salads, and proteins and veggies from the woodfired oven, sticking to the project’s proven sourdough- and Yukon- themed Italian cuisine. The restaurant will also be licensed to serve beer and wine.
No firm opening date has been established, but Yukon Pizza is working towards an opening late this spring.