TOP 2010: Round 1: Schenectady

TOP2010 RD1 Schenectady

Round 1 of the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, rolls on to Schenectady. The matchups in this cheesy first round:

Fireside vs. Marino's Flying Pizza

Johnny C's vs. Pizza King

Lots of drama in this bracket. Marino's was the surprise winner last year, but it's up against a time-tested favorite in Fireside. And Pizza King, the 2008 overall tournament runner up, is looking for redemption from last year's first round upset. Or will Johnny C's represent for Rotterdam?

Let's eat some pizza! The judges gathered at the elegant and fresh Anthology Design Studio on State Street in Schenectady for the tasting...

sunmark pizza banner

TOP2010 RD1 Schenectady judging

A quick note about how all this works: The four judges -- Renee, Albany Jane, Joe and Daniel B -- taste the pizza blind. That is, they don't know which pizza they're tasting during judging. They taste the competitors side by side. The scoring is on a 100 point scale -- each judge represents a quarter of those possible points.

Fireside vs. Marino's Flying

Fireside Marino's Flying
Crust 14 11
Sauce 10 16
Toppings 10 15
Overall taste 25 29
Totals 59 71

Post game:

Credit Fireside for showing up with a quality pie. The judges enjoyed the Eastern Ave spot's thick, crispy crust. The judges remarked that it was "nice and yeasty" and "enjoyable." And the panel praised Fireside for getting some nice color on its pizza (it's not unusual for TOP pies to come out a little underdone). The downfall? Fireside's sauce to crust ratio. The judges said the lightly-applied sauce got lost in the breadiness of the crust.

Marino's posted a very solid score with a pizza the judges called "satisfying" and "balanced." Remarked one judge: "feeling it."

Johnny C's vs. Pizza King

Johnny C's Pizza King
Crust 8 14
Sauce 14 15
Toppings 7 11
Overall taste 17 24
Totals 46 64

Post game:

The judges said they enjoyed Johnny C's pizza -- foremost because of the sauce, which one judge said had "deep tomato flavor." But its crust just couldn't hold up against the competition.

The King won every category with a pizza the judges said had a "nice and thin" crust with a "flavorful, herb and garlic" sauce and "nicely salty" cheese.

Up next

Marino's looks solid as it heads into a re-match with Pizza King in the Round of Pepperoni.

Tomorrow: the Tournament of Pizza heads to Troy.

Many thanks to the people at Anthology Design Studio, who were lovely and helpful.

Earlier: Results from Round 1 in the Saratoga bracket

The 2010 Tournament of Pizza is sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, which now offers banking from mobile devices. They even have an app for iPhones and Android phones.

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