Top Five Local Shops for Sinful Sin City Sweets

By Lisa Goin

In the Las Vegas Valley, a diverse collection of restaurants and food establishments await the eager tourist. Names like Wolfgang Puck, Payard’s and Bouchon grace some of our eateries. Beyond the names and the neon though are local businesses that delight the pallet as well as (if not more than) Strip establishments.  There is an array choices a foodie with a sweet tooth can take delight in offered in Las Vegas.  Here are my top five favorite sweet shops in the Vegas Valley.

Luv-It Frozen Custard

In 1973, a small little shop on Oakey Boulevard near the Strip opened to sell homemade frozen custard. Now, 39 years later the same building stands selling the same goods and owned by the same family.  Luv-It offers five flavors of homemade frozen custard a day, with special sundaes, shakes and malts. Although the neighborhood has certainly changed, they haven’t. They only accept cash, but this hasn’t affected business at all. Drive up to Luv-It’s during the summer, and sometimes you might find a limousine, a Mercedes, a family, young couples or even people whose company is solely their sweets craving.  Luv-It is one of the oldest locally-owned establishments still around and still in the same location. The creamy, tasty custard and their commitment to serving up sweets to Las Vegas locals since the population was only in the hundred-thousands makes it a mandatory spot for both locals and tourists to check out.

My treat of choice: the Scotch Jimmie, a cup of creamy vanilla frozen custard topped with fresh sliced bananas, drizzled with sinful butterscotch and sprinkled with chocolate sprinkles for added sweetness and texture for $5.25

Freed’s Bakery

Freed’s Bakery is another tasty piece of Vegas’ history. Milton and Esther Freed first moved to the Valley when the population was only 17,000 in 1959.  What started out as a snack bar aiming to bring the desserts of New York City to Las Vegas became one of the most famous bakeries in the city. It has been featured on the Food Network multiple times, in magazines, and in both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. They offer an array of cakes and do both traditional layered cakes and unique shapes as well.

In addition to cakes, they make cookies and pastries fresh everyday. They cater to the average local and to a list of celebrities. Their signature Bavarian cream and buttercream frosting recipe direct from Vienna has earned them a large and diverse clientele.

My treat of choice: Rainbow Cookies, a cookie made of three layers of green, yellow and red-colored cake sandwiched with sweet and tart raspberry jam (the most important ingredient in my opinion), then covered in a layer chocolate for $14.00 a

Layers Bakery

Some blocks away from Freed’s Bakery is yet another bakery: Layers Bakery.  Their motto is “No artificial ingredients, no preservatives, no trans fats NOT EVER. Real food for real people.”  Every day they prepare ready-made cakes, and take orders for others. Unlike Freed’s, Layer’s prefers to do only traditional and classic round cakes. However, where they lack in unique shape they make up in unique flavors. Some of their flavors include Cherry Cola Chocolate Chunk, Heavenly Coconut, and Golden Nugget Fortune Cake. They make the best buttercream frosting in town, balancing a sweet but not overwhelming flavor. They also offer gluten-free cakes and desserts for those of us who are sensitive to wheat or gluten. If you don’t care for cake that much, no sweat- they also bake fresh breads daily and offer lunch.

My treat of choice: the Tickle Pink cake, a chocolate cake with raspberry white chocolate mousse between the layers and frosted with pink buttercream frosting for $28 (a 6-inch round cake).

Patisserie Manon

Patisserie Manon is technically a chain, but the owners now live here in Las Vegas and the other shops were in Tahiti, Moorea and French Polynesia.  This French bakery stands out, not only for its French specialty, but for the rare macaron. Not to be confused with the macaroon with two O’s, these cookie sandwiches are made of almond flour and have a signature flakey outside but moist inside.

A sweet center for flavored cream holds the two cookies together. To compare them to an Oreo is sacrilege.   They also make fruit tartes, éclairs, and meringues.  Like Layer’s Bakery, Manon also offers savory options such as quiches and ham and cheese croissants.

My treat of choice: the blueberry and cream cheese macaron, with two cakey blueberry sandwiches with the trademark flakey macaron crust and a perfect layer of cream cheese frosting in center for $1 a cookie.

Ronald’s Donuts

Ronald’s Donuts is one of those places that even tourists know about. Many visitors make sure they have time to stop by and sneak a bite.  What sets them apart from other doughnut shops in Las Vegas is the fact that they make vegan doughnuts daily, and the difference in ingredients does not take away from flavor or quality. Each little pastry is big, fluffy and always soft as if they were just made, even the treats that are made without dairy products.  They bake all the traditional doughnuts we’ve come to know and love daily, including glazed doughnuts, maple bars and apple fritters. Much like Luv-It, though, this joint is cash-only so bring some greenbacks.

My treat of choice: vegan Boston cream-filled doughnut, a classic but also unique, having Ronald’s signature soft dough and a decadent but not-to-overwhelming cream center while still being free of any animal by-products for $7 per half dozen.

There are a host of other locations for locals to indulge, but don’t let me keep you from making your own list! Try these five out, try some others, and judge for yourself the lovely work of our local businesses in the sweet and sinful sometime.

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