tournament of pizza 2009 brackets

The 2009 Tournament of Pizza

i heart pizza

Don't we all?

Sixteen pizza places. Thirty pizzas. Hundreds of slices. One winner.

Fire up the oven. The Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, is back.

sunmark pizza banner

(Results from last year's Tournament of Pizza)

The selection committee had its work cut out for it (in triangular slices, of course) this year. The AOA crowd suggested 49 new entrants for this year's field. The committee originally decided to bring back every pizza place that won a match last year, but you clamored for fresh competitors. So we changed.

This year's field includes the four semi-finalists from last year, plus 12 newcomers. Those new entrants are drawn from a wider area this year, as you'll see in the brackets. There were a lot of tough decisions. Good pizza places inevitably got left out. But we think the field is strong.

The brackets are laid out above. Here's a pdf if you'd like to print them out.

Here's the bracket breakdown for this year:

Albany
Pasquale's: The champ returns with its signature cornmeal crust.
The Fountain: An overwhelming favorite from the crowd suggestions.
Marisa's: A well-regarded newcomer from Guilderland.
Little Anthony's: Central Ave fave famous for its vegan pizza.

Schenectady
Pizza King: Last year's overall runner-up -- is a re-match in store?
Marino's Flying Pizza: Incoming!
Nico's: A State Street staple.
Ario's: A competitor from Route 7 in Latham -- the committee placed them in the Schenectady bracket.

Troy
I Love NY: All you need is love?
The Purple Pub: Straight out of Watervliet.
Jimmy's: Representing Lansingburgh.
Vintage: Another Latham entrant -- the committee placed them in the Troy bracket.

Saratoga
D'Andrea's: Last year's bracket winner.
Venezia: A Clifton Park fave.
Nunzio's: La Vie en rose?
West Ave: Representing the west side.

Results start on Monday.

Thanks to Sunmark Federal Credit Union for sponsoring this year's tournament. They're currently offering online defensive driving courses, which could save you 10 percent on your car insurance.

Comments

Might I ask how and why this year's pizza tourney is being sponsored? (Just curious)

No suburban entries, despite all the comments to that effect in previous posts?

Paesan's isn't being considered and The Fountain is???? What a joke!

Guilderland is totally a suburb.

And so's Latham. You could argue that Watervliet is too.

My personal favorite is DC's pizza on Western avenue, across from SUNY uptown campus.

this is the second year in a row that pope's has been excluded from the saratoga bracket. it's such a huge local favorite that its omission is starting to become a little suspect...can it really be an oversight two years in a row? what's up??

Clifton Park is suburban too.

@CJ: About the sponsorship: the TOP costs a lot of money to run. The sponsorship helps us cover the costs.

@Ellsass: Four of the entries come from Clifton Park, Guilderland or Latham. That's 1/4 of the field.

@Sean: Paesan's was in last year's tournament. It didn't win its bracket, so it didn't return. When we asked people to suggest pizza places for this year's tournament, the Fountain got more support than any other place.

@Lu: DC's was definitely in the running for a spot. A lot of good places got left out.

@jen a: I'm glad you brought that up. The TOP is a bit of a logistical challenge. That might sound odd, but trying to coordinate all the judges and pizzas gets complicated. For the second year in a row, the Saratoga tasting is on a Monday. Pope's is closed on Mondays. Thus, no Pope's. It's unfortunate. We'd very much like to include them next year.

No DeFazio's and no Bacchus? I have already dismissed this tourney. How sad.

Yay! Maybe this will solve our neighborhood debate of Pasquale's vs. The Fountain. They're both so good in different ways... and much better than Paesan's.

Nuts to the haters.

After the tourney, I'd love to hear from the judges...did you get sick of pizza? How often did you eat it? How long until you eat it again? Any nightmares of being chased by giant talking pepperoni?

Also...daaamn, AoA readers take their pizza pretty seriously. Anger, allegations of suspect omissions, pissy comments. One would think we were discussing politics!

@KimmieofTroy - DeFazio's lost in the first round last year, which is why it wasn't included again.

Dear pissy commenters,

Your baby is ugly, it tastes funny, and the cheese is oily.

Such a shame Saratoga's round is a Monday - ALL of the good pizza up here is closed on Mondays! Pope's, Mama Mia's, Pizza Etc. I predict a West Ave first round loss.

Glad to see Marino's representing Schenectady. I think their Sausage pizza is amazing. Although you can't go wrong with plain 'ol cheese.

Pizza King is the most amazing. I've never had such a variety of pizza. The fresh tomato and basil is one of my favorites and the spinach deep dish has a spicy afterthought which I like very much.

I had Marino's years ago and couldn't stand it. I don't know if they've changed it but in my opinion, Pizza King is King.

Fountain? Seriously? Man, I miss the downstate pie...

Sad that no one ever considers New Madison Grille ... their 30+ year old recipe (which I hear is on the deed of the place) is the best pizza in Albany hands down.

But again, style in one's pizza is key, and comparing pizzas of different styles (thin vs thick crust, wood over vs pizza oven), is often like comparing apples and oranges.

I'm backing my pony right out of the gate: I'll put up a pint of your choice at Mahar's on Marisa's taking it all.

Any of you keyboard-brave chumps wanna take me on?

Re: suburbs, guess I should actually read the fine print instead of scanning the bold words...

Boo no DC's might as well put tatino's on the bracket

D'Andrea's? I don't see the appeal. It makes me sick every time I eat there!

Glad to see Nunzio's in the running, though! Their cajun shrimp pizza rules.

I second the lack of Pope's. Shoot for a non-Monday tasting next time, please.

I'd also like to nominate Mama Mia's and Giacone's in Saratoga for inclusion next year.

No Paesan's?! C'mon now

@mattyk72: Paesan's lost in last year's tournament, so it didn't return. There's always next year.

Definitely the best thin crust is at the new madision grille.

@Sandor.
I'll take that bet.
So Marisa's wins and I buy you pints, any else wins and you buy me pints. Is that how I'm reading this?
If not I'll take The Fountain.
Either way we're going to Mahars, and thats good times.

Woo Hoo!
Some action!

If it's just the two of us, let's go with Marisa's vs The Fountain and the first to get knocked out does the buying. In the unlikely event of a tie, we'll come up with some other baroque method for determining buying each other pints. It might involve eating chili pakoras from Curry House.

@Sandor
yes....to all of that.
interweb friends ftw!

Lotof good pizza around here. Marista's, new kid on the block, is excellent NY-style pizza. Fountain has been great for years- what about the Fireside in Schenectady? Mercato's on Delaware Ave. in Delmar has great pizza- apparently those who whine most probably aren't familiar with anything outside their neighbothoods...

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