TOP 2009: Round 2: Albany

RD2 albany

The champ vs. the upstart

Albany is the last stop in Round 2 of the 2009 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. And today's match-up in the Sausage Round has the makings of a real barn burner:

Pasquale's vs. Marisa's

First, how we got here. Pasquale's bested The Fountain, its New Scotland Ave neighbor, 63-47. Marisa's topped Little Anthony's 62-43.

So, the stage is set for quite the showdown. Pasquale's is the tournament's returning champ. Marisa's is a favorite of local food bloggers. Both pizza places had almost identical scores in the first round.

Bring it on!

sunmark pizza banner

(There's a new scoring system this year.)

Pasquale's vs. Marisa's

Pasquale's Marisa's
Crust 16 17
Sauce 13 15
Toppings 19 7
Overall taste 32 24
Totals 80 63

Post game:

Pow! Marisa's took the early lead by getting the best of Pasquale's vaunted cornmeal crust -- the judges praised the Guilderland shop's crust for having a nice crispness on the bottom. And Marisa's even took the sauce category -- one judge called it "rich and well balanced."

But Pasquale's wasn't done, yet. The New Scotland Ave shop lit up the scoreboard with a near perfect score in the toppings category. One judge described P's sausage as "nicely spicy" and "well browned." Another called it "so wonderful [and] meaty." And another said it was his favorite of the tournament. And Marisa's sausage? The judges just found it lacking in flavor.

The toppings category really turned the tide. The judges spoke highly of Marisa's pizza ("overall very good," "really nice slice"), but Pasquale's was just too much. Wrote the judges of last year's champ: "my favorite pizza so far" and "a juggernaut."

By the way: Pasquale's 80 in this round is the high score of the entire tournament.

Up next

Pasquale's advances to face Marino's out of the Schenectady bracket.

Semi-final results come out of the oven next Tuesday.


Thank goodness! The pressure has been building all day! Go Pasquales!!!

I tried Marisa's pizza for the first time the other night. It was very good, but I have to agree that the sausage was not very good. I will definitely get their pizza again, but will skip the sausage.

See, for me, it's all about the sauce and the crust. If that's not top notch, then the rest doesn't matter.

Also had Marisa's the other night (for the first time, thanks to AOA) and had to say it was delish. But I didn't get sausage. BTW, the place was hopping, and i don't know if it always is but I was wondering if they knew they were TOP contenders? Do the places ever know they are part of the tourney?

@Rebecca: We don't tell the places until we get to the finals, in which the pizzerias get to pick the pie they want to enter.

But, you know, the brackets are public so some of them probably hear about it.

I would have never discovered Pasquales if it wasn't for All Over Albany. We live in Amsterdam and we have to heat it up when we get back, but it still has us craving for more. Has the perfect balance. Went to Marino's for the first time Friday and enjoyed the topping (sausage), but the crust was lacking.

common! the pizza at Paquale's is AMAZING! try the margarita, primavera, and bruchetta pies...... absolutely out of this world! delicious & delicate


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