Tournament of Pizza 2014

TOP2014: The Final

tournament of pizza final a lot of pizza

Sometimes things live up to the hype.

The final of the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini, was this past weekend at Shmaltz Brewing Co. in Clifton Park. And, as would only be fitting for the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza, it featured a clash of local pizza titans: DeFazio's of Troy versus Marino's of Schenectady.

DeFazio's, so many times a finalist, finally broke through last year to take the title. Marino's won the title in 2010 by beating, yep, DeFazios's. The two shops have posted the two highest individual pizza scores this year. And they represent the two highest all-time shop averages in TOP history.

That all adds up to a lot of expectation. And they exceeded it.

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TOP2014: Crunching the numbers

16 slices of pizza on judges table
Your concept of "a lot of pizza" changes after 172 174 pizzas.

Corrected to include numbers from the 2013 final.

The the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- is almost finished. One last clash of champions remains for this Saturday.

That means it's time for some number crunching. And there are a bunch of numbers now that we have six years of scores in the modern 100-point-scale era of the TOP.

Let's take a look.

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TOP2014: Semifinal: Spicy

TOP2014_semifinal_pizza_boxes.jpg

This is it, the second leg of the semifinal of the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini. The results of this leg will decide which two shops face off in the tournament final.

This year's all-champions format has resulted in four past overall tournament winners meeting in the semifinal: 5th and 50 of Scotia (tournament champ in 2011), Marino's of Schenectady (2010), DeFazio's of Troy (2013), and Marisa's Place of Guilderland (2012).

The TOP semifinal is a contest with two legs, each pizzeria offering up a pizza for each leg of the contest (so two pizzas from each shop, eight pizzas total). The two best aggregate scores advance to the final.

The theme for the first half of the semifinal was "classic." The theme for the second: "spicy."

Back to the Keeler Mini showroom...

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TOP2014: Semifinal: Classic

tournament of pizza semifinal at keeler mini

We have arrived at the semifinal of the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini. And it's shaping up to be quite a clash.

This year's all-champions format has resulted in four past overall tournament winners meeting in the semifinal: 5th and 50 of Scotia (tournament champ in 2011), Marino's of Schenectady (2010), DeFazio's of Troy (2013), and Marisa's Place of Guilderland (2012).

The TOP semifinal is a contest with two legs, each pizzeria offering up a pizza for each leg of the contest (so two pizzas from each shop, eight pizzas total). The two best aggregate scores advance to the final.

And the theme for the first pizza match: "classic." The shops were given this prompt and allowed to interpret it however they wanted in deciding which type of pizza to make.

Let's head to the Keeler Mini showroom to see how things turned out...

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TOP2014: RD1: DC's vs. Marisa's Place

DC's and Marisa's shop windows

Dueling neon.

The final first round matchup in the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini is last year's tournament runner up, DC's of Albany, against the 2012 tournament champ, Marisa's Place of Guilderland.

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And, again, the two types of the pizza for this first round: sausage and the deceptively difficult broccoli ricotta white pizza.

Can Western Ave handle the drama...

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TOP2014: RD1: I Love vs. DeFazio's

I Love and DeFazio's exterior

The 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- heads for Troy and matchup between 4th Street rivals I Love, a two-time semifinalist, and reigning tournament champ DeFazio's.

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And, again, the two types of the pizza for this first round: sausage and the deceptively difficult broccoli ricotta white pizza.

Pizza fuit, pizza est...

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The Tournament of Pizza championship pizza tasting event is now free thanks to pizza miracle

TOP2014 logo final event 2

Update: The tickets have now all been claimed! And a waitlist has been set up.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Capital Region, we would like to take a moment to tell you today about a bonafide pizza miracle. Years from now, when they write the history of the Tournament of Pizza -- and they will (well, maybe they will) -- let them write that on this date, the first day of October in the year 2014, a great benefactor came forth from the world of real estate brokers and offered free pizza to the citizens of this great land.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's true -- tickets to the All Over Albany Tournament of Pizza championship final tasting at Shmaltz Brewing on October 11 are now free thanks to realtors Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe of The Capital Team at Realty USA.

Brian and Reggie say they're pleased to be able to share their love of pizza and beer with AOA readers. They've purchased all of the tickets to the first-ever public tasting event in the august history of the Tournament of Pizza, and they're giving them away to Capital Region pizza lovers.

No, you say -- it cannot be. But yes, we assure you, it is. So how do you get to take part in this delicious miracle? You need to claim a free ticket and you can do that at this link.

The event is Saturday, October 11 at 3 pm. The free ticket includes four slices of championship pizza (one from each pizza entered in the final), two five-ounce pours of Shmaltz brews, a ballot for the People's Choice Plate, brewery tours, and other surprises.

(And if you've already purchased a ticket (thank you!) keep an eye for an email confirming a refund and switch to the free ticket.)

The AOA Tournament of pizza is sponsored by Keeler Mini.

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TOP2014: RD1: Mario's vs. Marino's

Marino's and Mario's exteriors

The 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- rolls along with a showdown between 2010 tournament champ Marino's of Schenectady and two-time semifinalist Mario's of Niskayuna

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And, again, the types of the pizza for this first round: sausage and the ever-tricky broccoli ricotta white pizza.

Pizza judges, assemble!

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TOP2014: RD1: Mama Mia's v 5th and 50

TOP2014 RD1 MamaMias 5th50 shops

And so it begins: The 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournament of Pizza -- opens with a matchup between 2011 tournament champ 5th and 50 of Scotia against two-time semifinalist Mama Mia's of Saratoga Springs.

This year's clash-of-champions format includes first round matches consisting of two pizzas. Highest aggregate score advances. And the types of the pizza for this first round: sausage (classic, a test of fundamentals) and a broccoli ricotta white pizza (a little tricky, if only because of the lack of red sauce).

The judges assembled at the shops for the tasting...

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Tickets are now on sale for the 2014 Tournament of Pizza final

TOP2014 logo final event

The final of the 2014 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Keeler Mini -- the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- will be October 11 at Shmaltz Brewing in Clifton Park. And for the first time ever, the final will be open to the public. People will get the chance to taste the pizzas entered in the final -- and, in another first, you'll also get to vote for the People's Choice Plate winner.

Tickets are now sale for the event -- they're $20 -- and available online (follow that link). There are a limited number of tickets.

The tickets include four slices of pizza (one from each pizza entered in the final), two 5-oz samples of Shmaltz beer, and a ballot for the People's Choice Plate, a competition to see which pizza shop created the crowd's favorite pizza of the four final pizzas. And, of course, there will be additional beer on tap for sale. And Shmaltz will be offering tours of its brewery.

The TOP final starts at 3 pm on Saturday, October 11.

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TOP2014: Meet the judges

TOP2014 judging through window at DCs

Somebody has to eat all that pizza, you know.

Here are the judges for the 2014 Tournament of Pizza -- AKA, Tournament of Pizza: Clash of Champions; AKA, the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- sponsored by Keeler Mini.

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Tournament of Pizza 2014

TOP2014 logo

Each September in the Capital Region we mark the return of the crisp autumn air, the warm sun shining upon us from brilliantly blue skies, and a tradition most august: The Tournament of Pizza. Many years we have celebrated this tradition -- multiple champions have been crowned and (so) much pizza has been eaten.

So it is with great excitement that we now announce the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza -- TOP2014: Clash of Champions, sponsored by Keeler Mini.

For the first time ever the Tournament of Pizza will pit only returning winners against other in a new format that will challenge the shops on both quality and consistency. The winner will stand as the victor of the last-ever Tournament of Pizza.

But, wait, there's more: Also for the first time, you -- yes, you -- will have the chance to attend the TOP Final and your votes will help decide who wins a new trophy.

Here are the details...

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The Scoop

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