TOP 2010: Round 1: Troy

TOP2010 RD1 Troy

The first round of the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, now makes its way to Troy. The matchups in this cheeeeeeese round:

DeFazio's vs. Giuseppe's

I Love vs. Pop's

Some big-time reps in this bracket. DeFazio's is renowned, but Giuseppe's was a huge favorite in the crowd voting. I Love is the returning bracket champ, but Pop's is a well-organized newcomer.

Let's hope for some exciting pizza performances! We had a fitting venue: the ever impressive EMPAC at RPI.

sunmark pizza banner

TOP2010 RD1 Troy 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.

DeFazio's vs. Giuseppe's

DeFazio's Giuseppe's
Crust 16 8
Sauce 17 11
Toppings 14 14
Overall taste 28 21
Totals 75 54

Post game:

DeFazio's made an early exit from the 2008 TOP, but it returned with some serious quality this year. The judges praised the shop's "light and pillowy", "like an artisan bread" crust with a "well-charred" bottom. They enjoyed the "really nice tomato flavor" of the sauce. And they liked the herbs sprinkled on the pie (though they almost universally thought there was a bit too much cheese). Remarked one judge, who gave DeFazio's a near-perfect score: "This is really speaking to me."

Giuseppe's made a nice showing, but it was up against a tough competitor. The judges said the Watervliet shop's pie looked great and had nicely browned cheese. But it was tripped up by a crust that was described as being a little tough. Even so, one of the judges did score Giuseppe's slightly ahead of DeFazio's.

I Love vs. Pop's

I Love Pop's
Crust 16 7
Sauce 11 5
Toppings 15 7
Overall taste 30 11
Totals 72 30

Post game:

I Love returns with a solid performance. The judges enjoyed the Troy shop's thin crust, though they said they might have enjoyed it even a little more done. They also praised the "good and salty" flavor of I Love's cheese with its "well-browned spots." Overall, the judges called it a "well-balanced" slice and "a good example of New York thin crust" pizza.

This was a tough first outing for Pop's. The judges commented that the Cohoes newcomer's sauce was a little too much for the rest of the pie. They also weren't digging the pizza's parmesan cheese. But Pop's is a new shop with what appears to be an already loyal following, so it looks like good things are ahead for it.

Up next

Round 2 is shaping up to be quite a matchup in Troy, with two Collar City titans -- DeFazio's and I Love -- facing each other.

Tomorrow: the Tournament of Pizza heads to Albany.

Many thanks to EMPAC for providing us with space for this round -- easily the most technologically-advanced TOP site ever.

+ Results from Round 1 in the Schenectady bracket
+ 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.


Every year you guys do this I get fat from eat nothing but pizza for a month.

Big thank you to the AOA staff and the judges for this fine contest. Giuseppe's would like to thank all of our supporters, without you we're not even in the discussion with a fine establishment like De Fazio's. We look forward to serving Watervliet and surrounding areas with our pies for many years to come. Best of luck to all of those who have advanced on in this competition. Until next year, I hope everyone stays safe and continues to enjoy the fine pizza this area has to offer.


Grandpa J

While I cant say I agree with the judge's vote for Pop's Pizza in Cohoes, its def a good thing for them to be in the running.

Plus, how do you go up against "I Love" in the first round!? Anyway, our family is a fan of Pop's and will continue to get our business! Thanks.

I've become a big fan of Pop's myself. Have enjoyed both pies I've had from there. Just had a sausage and black olive one last weekend that was great!

FWIW, I've sort of grown tired of I Love...I often feel after eating two slices there that I've eaten a pound of salt. But I keep going back so they must be doing something I like.

One of my fraternity brother's (back in '93) discovered the secret to getting the best take out pizza from "I Love", ask them to cut a little bit off the dough before they flatten it to make the pie. If you get pizza in the shop it's made on huge sheets that would never fit in the box (which you can see in the picture above). They are still my favorite pizza in the area, but I'm going to give Pop's a try as it's just up the street.

I'm sad that Pizza Bella aka Big Apple Pizzeria up on College and 14th (right off south side of RPI) wasn't included in the tourney. They are much much better than I Love....

Oh wow!! I think I'm in love with Giuseppe!! What a classy comment!! Way to be a sport. I'm getting me some of his pizza, just because!

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