Items tagged with 'pizza'

Pizza at Kay's Pizza

Kay's Pizza cheese pizza

By Deanna Fox

It is said that the pizza you grow up with is the pizza by which all other pizza will ever be judged -- regardless of how good or bad that childhood pizza was. As a result, pizzas of many types -- and a range of relative merits -- have a special place in the hearts of people.

Sure, that very poofy crust/exceptionally thin crust/sweet sauced/tangy sauced/underbaked/overbaked/whatever pizza might have its flaws, but it's your pizza. And eating it evokes memories.

No matter what type of pizza holds that place in your heart -- and no matter how good (or bad) that pizza is -- there is little doubt the pizza from Kay's will stand up to it favorably.

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COB Pizza at Red Front

Red Front COB pizza whole

There's cheese in there. It's under the sauce.

By Jeff Janssens

There's a lot of exciting stuff happening these days in downtown Troy; from the shops to the restaurants to the bars, it seems like a new business is opening its doors each week. This makes it easy to overlook some of the old stalwarts of the city, places like Famous Lunch that have been turning out good food for decades.

Yet I can't help but approach any place labeled as an institution with a healthy dose of skepticism. At some places, the history and value to the community far exceed the present quality of food.

But Red Front Restaurant on the south side of downtown Troy has built a well-deserved following since opening in 1956 thanks in part to their COB Pizza -- that's "cheese-on-bottom" -- a non-traditional pizza in which the sauce and the bready crust are the stars.

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DeFazio's (finally) gets a Tournament of Pizza trophy

Rocco DeFazio with Trophy.jpg

Rocco DeFazio, with his 2013 TOP Trophy

We started to refer to them as the Susan Lucci of the AOA Tournament of Pizza -- always good enough to be nominated but never quite able to take the award. But this year, DeFazio's of Troy took first prize in the TOP. And this week we stopped by to award them their first Tournament of Pizza trophy.

Owner Rocco DeFazio, who inherited the business from his parents, says having what it takes to make it to the finals as often as they have comes from a family philosophy -- the constant desire to improve things.

Well, that and the secret of the DeFazio's crust.

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP 2013: The Final

TOP2013 Final composite

DC's vs. DeFazio's

Twenty-eight pizzas down. Two to go. It's the final of the 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose.

The match-up in this final pairing:

DC's (Albany) vs. DeFazio's (Troy)

How we got here: DC's posted a good score in the semi-final meat lover's match-up with Mario's from Niskayuna. And DeFazio's put up a very strong score -- tied for fifth highest in TOP history -- to withstand a solid challenge from Mama Mia's of Saratoga.

And there are compelling storylines in the final matchup:
+ This is DeFazio's third straight year in the final -- can the Troy shop finally take the title?
+ On the other end, this is DC's first year in the tournament. The shop across from UAlbany upset last year's tournament champ -- Marisa's Place of Guilderland -- in Round 2. Can it rally for one more big win?

Let's eat some pizza.

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: Crunching the numbers

TOP2013 DeFazios veggie pizza closeup

DeFazio's has posted a string of high scores in the TOP. But given the history of veggie pizzas, the Troy shop's record-tying score this year in the veggie round was a bit of a surprise.

We're almost to the finish line in the 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose. Here's a little something to snack on before the result from the final.

The Tournament of Pizza is now in year 5 of the modern 100-point scale era. So we have a lot of numbers piled up from the tournament -- and a lot of stats. Let's break some of them down...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: Semifinals

TOP2013 semifinals composite

We've arrived at the final week of the 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose. And it's time for the semi-finals.

The match-ups in this final four:

DeFazio's (Troy) vs. Mama Mia's (Saratoga)

DC's (Albany) vs. Mario's (Schenectady)

DeFazio's is coming off a huge performance in the second round, posting a tournament-record-tying high score. Mama Mia's grabbed the opportunity afforded it by fate. DC's posted the upset of the tournament so far in knocking off overall defending TOP champ Marisa's Place. And Mario's finds itself in the semis for the second straight year after a low-key win in Round 2.

The last round was veggie pizzas. On the crust for this year's semi-finals is a version of the "meat lover's" pie: sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, and ham.

Bring it on.

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: Round 2: Albany

TOP2013 RD2 Albany

Round 2 of the 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose -- comes to a close in the Albany bracket.

The pizzerias in this head-to-head matchup of veggie pizzas (green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives):

DC's - Albany - winner of the Round 1 Albany pool of new-to-the-tournament shops

Marisa's Place - Guilderland - not just the returning bracket champ, Marisa's won the whole tournament last year

So, this isn't exactly an enviable matchup for DC's. Marisa's has one of the highest shop averages in the TOP modern era. And the pizza it made for last year's final was fantastic.

But, hey, the Tournament of Pizza isn't settled in a spreadsheet. It's settled on a paper plate.

Let's get to it...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: Round 2: Troy

TOP2013 RD2 Troy

With two down and two to go in Round 2, the 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose -- heads back to Troy.

The pizzerias in this head-to-head matchup of veggie pizzas (green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives):

Deli & Brew - Troy - winner of the Round 1 Troy pool of new-to-the-tournament shops

DeFazio's - Troy - the returning bracket champ, coming off a first round bye

You gotta think DeFazio's is the favorite here -- it's posted a series of great scores in past tournaments (without ever taking the overall title). But Deli & Brew, known for its subs, posted a very respectable score in Round 1. It faces a great challenge -- but there's also great opportunity.

Once again we head to the Arts Center of the Capital Region...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: Round 2: Schenectady

TOP2013 RD2 Schenectady

The 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose -- continues its Round 2 tour with a stop in the Schenectady bracket.

The pizzerias in this head-to-head matchup of veggie pizzas (green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives):

Giovanni's - Scotia - winner of the Round 1 pool of new-to-the-tournament shops

Mario's - Niskayuna - the returning bracket champ, who had a first-round bye

Can the Scotia shop wrest the bracket from its fellow suburban competitor? Or will the ever-treacherous veggie round be too tall a challenge?

We head back to the headquarters of the Mop & Bucket Company...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: Round 2: Saratoga

TOP2013 RD2 Saratoga

The 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose -- loops back around to start Round 2 in the Saratoga bracket.

The pizzerias in this head-to-head matchup of veggie pizzas (green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives):

Pizza Works - Saratoga - winner of the Round 1 pool of new-to-the-tournament shops

Mama Mia's - Saratoga - not last year's bracket winner, but occupying the slot because last year's winner is no longer open (MM won the bracket in 2011)

Back to the Case Center on the campus of Skidmore College...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: Round 1: Albany

TOP2013 RD1 Albany

The opening round of the 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose -- makes its final stop in Albany.

The new-to-the-tournament pizzerias in this Round 1 pool competition of sausage pizzas:

Soho - Albany
Dino's - Albany
DC's - Albany
Andriano's - Delmar

The judges gathered to eat yet more pizza...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: Round 1: Troy

TOP2013 RD1 Troy

The opening round of the 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose -- heads toward the final turn with a stop in Troy.

The new-to-the-tournament pizzerias in this Round 1 pool competition of sausage pizzas:

Pizza DaVinci - Troy
Deli and Brew - Troy
Elia's - East Greenbush
Goomba's - East Greenbush

The judges gathered at the Arts Center of the Capital Region...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: Round 1: Schenectady

TOP2013 RD1 Schenectady

The opening round of the 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose -- continues with the Schenectady bracket.

The new-to-the-tournament pizzerias in this Round 1 pool competition of sausage pizzas:

Visco's - Scotia
Giovanni's - Scotia
I Love NY Pizza of Schenectady - Schenectady
Pizza Buono - Niskayuna

The judges gathered at the Mop & Bucket Company studio...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: Round 1: Saratoga

TOP2013 RD1 Saratoga

The opening round of the 2013 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by The College of Saint Rose -- starts in Saratoga. (As is tradition.)

The new-to-the-tournament pizzerias in this Round 1 pool competition of sausage pizzas:

LaBella - Halfmoon
Pizza Works - Saratoga
Publik House - Ballston Spa
Pizza Nook - Malta

The judges gathered at the Case Center on the campus of Skidmore College...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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TOP2013: The judges

TOP2013 judges overhead pizza plates

It requires an enthusiastic appetite.

Ingredients needed for the Tournament of Pizza: brackets, pizzas, and judges.

Here are the brackets.

And without ado -- either of the further or much variety -- here's the panel of judges for this year's TOP...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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Tournament of Pizza 2013 brackets

tournament of pizza 2013 badge

Feel the warm autumn sun. Breathe in the cool autumn air. Smell... the pizza.

Yes, the seasons are changing and that can only mean one thing.

That most august of traditions -- the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by The College of Saint Rose -- has returned.

Here's a breakdown of this year's field, which include a few new twists...

Saint Rose Tournament of Pizza ad 2013 in post

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A trophy for the Tournament of Pizza champ

marisas place exterior TOP trophy

Marisa's Place's Alfredo Musumeci and Albert Pistana, with AOA Mary and David Weinstein from TOP sponsor Sunmark Federal Credit Union.

We stopped by Marisa's Place in Guilderland Thursday to award them the trophy for winning this year's Tournament of Pizza.

This was Marisa's first tournament championship. And even though the shop has competed many times before -- and turned out some very good pizza (average score: 67.5) -- we didn't know much about the story behind Marisa's. So we stayed a few minutes to talk with owner Alfredo Musumeci.

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: The Final

Tournament of Pizza 2012 Marisa's vs DeFazio's

Marisa's Place vs. DeFazio's.

After 28 pizzas from 16 pizza places, we're now down to just two pizzas and two shops.

It's the final of the 2012 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. The match-up in this championship round:

DeFazio's (Troy bracket) vs. Marisa's Place (Albany bracket)

How we got here: DeFazio's blew the roof off during its semi-final match with Amore (Saratoga), scoring a TOP-record 82 with its Buffalo chicken pizza. And Marisa's posted a solid score of 69 in its matchup with Mario's of Niskayuna.

Despite posting a string of excellent scores, and two previous appearances in the final, DeFazio's has never won the Tournament of Pizza. With its huge score in the last round, the Troy shop has to be the heavy favorite in this final match. But Marisa's is a formidable opponent -- with a set of its own strong performances.

Can DeFazio's finally claim the crown? Or will Marisa's Place take the title?

Bring on the pizza!

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: Crunching the numbers

DeFazio's Buffalo chicken pizza

The highest scoring pizza of this -- or any other -- Tournament of Pizza.

Updated

Now that we're almost finished with our fourth Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, of the modern era (using the 100 point scale), we have a lot of numbers we can crunch.

So, here are a bunch of stats this year's tournament -- and tournaments past -- highs, averages, breakdowns. And, for the first time ever, stats for judges...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: The Semi-finals

Tournament of Pizza 2012 semi-finals

We've arrived at the final four in the 2012 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. The match-ups in this showdown of bracket winners:

DeFazio's (Troy) vs. Amore (Saratoga)

Mario's (Niskayuna) vs. Marisa's (Guilderland)

How we got here: DeFazio's topped its fellow downtown Troy shop, I Love | Amore gutted out a win against Pope's | Mario's represented for Niskayuna in beating Schenectady's Nico's | and Marisa's held off a tough tavern challenge from The Fountain.

Now these four face a challenge never before taken on in the TOP: Buffalo chicken pizza.

Yep, things just got real. Ready, set, pizza!

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: Round 2: Albany

TOP2012 RD2 Albany

Here we are, at the final stop in Round 2 of the 2012 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- the Albany bracket.

The pizzerias in this head-to-head matchup of veggie pizzas (green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives):

The Fountain vs. Marisa's Place

How we got here: Marisa's posted a huge number in Round 1 -- an 81, the highest ever in the TOP. And The Fountain represented for taverns, putting a very respectable 68.

Tavern pizza hasn't had the best track record in the TOP, but The Fountain turned out quality in the opener. Could this be the year a tavern pizza breaks through?

Let's. Eat. Some. Pizza.

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: Round 2: Troy

TOP2012 RD2 Troy

Hello, Collar City. Round 2 of the 2012 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- finds itself back in your warm embrace.

The pizzerias in this head-to-head matchup of veggie pizzas (green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives):

DeFazio's vs. I Love

How we got here: DeFazio's posted a big number in the Round 1 pool (78) and I Love joined it in advancing with a respectable score of its own (64).

DeFazio's has pretty much owned this bracket for the last few years -- can I Love end the domination?

Let's go back to the Arts Center of the Capital Region for the tasting...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: Round 2: Schenectady

TOP 2012 RD2 Schenectady

The second round of the 2012 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- stops back in the Electric City.

The pizzerias in this head-to-head matchup of veggie pizzas (green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives):

Mario's vs. Nico's

How we got here: Nico's and Mario's both separated themselves from the other shops in this bracket with scores of 74 and 64. Those are very good totals. And they ousted the defending tournament champ from the contest.

Now, it's the always difficult veggie pizza.

We head to Anthology Studio in downtown Schenectady. Pizzaaaaaaa...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: Round 2: Saratoga

Tournament of Pizza 2012 RD2 Saratoga

Round 2! The 2012 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- kicks off its second round back in Saratoga.

The pizzerias in this head-to-head matchup of veggie pizzas (green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives):

Amore vs. Pope's

How we got here: Amore and Pope's both posted solid scores -- 61 and 69, respectively -- in besting last year's bracket champ, Mama Mia's, and the mystery chain, Pizza Hut, in pool play.

Now they go crust-to-crust on veggie pizzas, a tricky challenge in tournaments past. All those veggies provide a lot of opportunity for a misstep.

Let's eat some pizza! Again, we go to the Case Center on the campus of Skidmore College...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: Round 1: Albany

TOP2012_RD1_Albany.jpg

The opening round of the 2012 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- heads for home with a final stop in Albany.

The pizzerias in the Round 1 pool competition of sausage pizzas:

Returning champ: Marisa's Place - Guilderland
Crowd pick: The Fountain - Albany
Tough luck: Pizzeria Sapienza - Albany
Mystery entry

Marisa's Place has turned out a series of high quality pizzas in the Tournament of Pizza -- though it's never won the championship. The other shops are facing a formidable competitor.

The judges gathered for the tasting...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: Round 1: Troy

TOP2012 RD1 Troy

The opening round of the 2012 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- rounds third with a visit to the Collar City.

The pizzerias in the Round 1 pool competition of sausage pizzas:

Returning champ: DeFazio's - Troy
Crowd pick: Bacchus - Troy
Tough luck: I Love - Troy
Mystery entry

DeFazio's has been the tournament runner-up two years in a row -- is this year it finally takes the title? It'll have to get through Round 1 first.

The judges assembled at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in downtown Troy...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: Round 1: Schenectady

TOP2012 RD1 Schenectady

The opening round of the 2012 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- rolls ahead to Schenectady.

The pizzerias in Round 1 pool competition of sausage pizzas:

Returning champ: 5th and 50 - Scotia
Crowd pick: Nico's - Schenectady
Tough luck: Mario's - Niskayuna
Mystery entry

5th and 50 is not just the defending bracket champ -- it won the whole the tournament last year. Its title defense starts now.

The judges got together at Anthology Studio in downtown Schenectady...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2012: Round 1: Saratoga

TOP2012 RD1 Saratoga

The opening round of the 2012 Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- starts in Saratoga.

The pizzerias in Round 1 pool competition of sausage pizzas:

Returning champ: Mama Mia's - Saratoga Springs
Crowd pick: Pope's - Saratoga Springs
Tough luck: Amore - Saratoga Springs
Mystery entry

The judges gathered at the Case Center on the campus of Skidmore College...

sunmark pizza banner

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Tournament of Pizza 2012 brackets

i heart pizza

It's that time.

If the leaves are turning, and the air is crisp, it must mean that most august of traditions has returned.

That's right -- the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, is back.

Lots of plotlines for this year's field: Can 5th and 50 repeat as TOP champ? Will this finally be DeFazio's year? Who are the mystery entrants in this year's field?

Here's a breakdown of this year's brackets...

sunmark pizza banner

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Tournament of Pizza 2012 field voting

TOP2011 final 5thand50 closeup

5th and 50's tournament-winning chicken parm pizza from last year.

Voting's closed! Brackets will be announced toward the end of September!

The 2012 Tournament of Pizza will soon be here. The selection committee is currently assembling this year's field. And we need your help.

This year's brackets will include:
+ The four finalists from last year -- 5th and 50 (Schenectady bracket), Marisa's Place (Albany bracket), DeFazio's (Troy bracket), and Mama Mia's (Saratoga bracket).
+ Four mystery selections that will be revealed to no one except the Editors -- not even the judges.
+ Four "tough luck" pizza shops -- pizzerias that have turned out pizzas with very good scores but for whatever reason didn't win their bracket (and weren't selected by crowd voting).

That leaves four spots to be filled by crowd voting. The pizzerias with the most votes in each bracket will earn a spot in the 2012 TOP.

The ballot for this year's field is after the jump. Voting closes at noon on Friday.

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TOP2011: The Final

TOP2011 defazios vs 5thand50

DeFazio's from Troy vs. 5th and 50 from Scotia

We have finally reached the end of the long road that is the 2011 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. And we have a prime matchup here in the final (bracket):

DeFazio's (Troy) vs. 5th and 50 (Schenectady)

Both shops are coming off solid wins in the semi-finals, each with a score in the 70s. DeFazio's was the overall tournament runner-up last year. And 5th and 50 has quite a claim -- it knocked off Marino's, last year's overall champ.

As is TOP tradition, the shops were allowed to pick which pizza to enter in the final. And as we've seen in past years, having that choice hasn't always been a good thing. Would this year's competitors choose wisely?

Off to the Hilton Garden Inn Albany Airport to taste some pizza!

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP2011: The Semi-finals

TOP2011 semi-finals

Here we are with just four pizzerias remaining in the the 2011 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. The semi-finals line up as such (bracket):

5th & 50 (Schenectady) vs. Marisa's Place (Albany)

DeFazio's (Troy) vs. Mama Mia's (Saratoga)

The pizzas for this round: sausage, peppers, and onions. We were inspired by Marino's winning pizza last year.

Let's head to the Hilton Garden Inn Albany Airport to taste some pizza!

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP2011: crunching the numbers

TOP2011 score distribution all years

A distribution of the pizza scores from 2009, 2010, and 2011 (so far).

Now that we have about 2.5 tournaments-worth of scores on the 100-point scale from the Tournament of Pizza, we thought it'd be interesting (well, probably more fun than interesting) to crunch the numbers on those scores.

So, here's the results of that crunching: highests, lowests, averages, and all that...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2011: Round 2: Albany

TOP2011 RD2 Albany

Albany is the last stop in Round 2 of the 2011 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. The pizzerias vying for a spot in the sem-finals in this matchup of pepperoni pizzas:

Pizzeria Sapienza (Albany) vs. Marisa's Place (Guilderland)

How we got here: Sapienza and Marisa's separated themselves from the pack with two solid scores -- a 71 and 69, respectively.

This is probably the most even Round 2 matchup of the tournament. Who will prevail? There's only one way to find out...

Let's eat some pizza!

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2011: Round 2: Troy

TOP2011 RD2 Troy

The Collar City is the next stop for Round 2 of the 2011 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. The pizzerias facing off in this round of pepperoni pizzas:

Giuseppe's (Watervliet) vs. DeFazio's (Troy)

How we got here: DeFazio's posted one the highest ever first round scores, a 77. Giuseppe's grabbed a spot in Round 2 by outstretching Joe's Tavern and Red Front.

So, DeFazio's is the favorite here. Can Giuseppe's pull the monster upset?

We're back at EMPAC for tasting...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2011: Round 2: Schenectady

TOP2011 RD2 Schenectady

Round 2 of the 2011 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, rolls along to Schenectady. The pizzerias facing off in this round of pepperoni pizzas:

Marino's (Schenectady) vs. 5th and 50

How we got here: Marino's posted a solid 70 in opening round pool play. 5th and 50 squeaked into the second round by winning the tie break with Mario's after both posted 68s.

This is an interesting matchup -- Marino's is the returning overall TOP champ. 5th and 50 won Pizzageddon (or whatever it was called) at Proctors and scored well in the first round.

We head back to Anthology Studio on State Street in Schenectady for the tasting...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2011: Round 2: Saratoga

TOP2011 RD2 Saratoga

We're back to Saratoga for the first matchup in Round 2 of the 2011 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. The pizzerias facing off in this round of pepperoni pizzas:

Mama Mia's vs. Amore

How we got here: Mama Mia's posted one of the best-ever first round scores with a 75 in opening round pool play. Amore went through after edging out Marino's (Saratoga) and Clifton Park Pizza for the second spot with a 53.

This is on the of the wide open brackets because there's no returning winner. But Amore now occupies of the location of Nunzio's, last year's bracket champ. Could that be an advantage? Or will Mama post another a big score?

We're back at the Case Center on the campus of Skidmore College for the tasting...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2011: Round 1: Albany

TOP2011 RD1 Albany

The Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- makes its final Round 1 stop in Albany.

The pizzerias in this opening round pool competition of cheese pizzas:

Crowd pick: Hill Street Cafe - Albany
Renee's pick: Pie Hole - Albany
Committee pick: Pizzeria Sapienza - Albany
Committee pick: Marisa's Place - Guilderland

This bracket is wide open because Pasquale's -- the two time overall tournament champ that dominated the Albany bracket for so many years -- is no longer in business.

The judges -- plus our guest judge -- gathered for the final Round 1 tasting...

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TOP 2011: Round 1: Troy

TOP2011 RD1 Troy

The Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- rolls along to the Troy bracket.

The pizzerias in this opening round pool competition of cheese pizzas:

Returning champ: DeFazio's - Troy
Crowd pick: Giuseppe's - Watervliet
Renee's pick: Joe's Tavern - Cohoes
Committee pick: Red Front - Troy

The judges -- plus our guest judge -- gathered at EMPAC on the RPI campus...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2011: Round 1: Schenectady

TOP2011 RD1 Schenectady

The next stop in the the Tournament of Pizza -- sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- is Schenectady.

The pizzerias in the opening round pool competition of cheese pizzas:

Returning champ: Marino's - Schenectady
Crowd pick: Pizza King - Schenectady
Renee's pick: Mario's - Niskayuna
Committee pick: 5th and 50 - Scotia

This is probably the toughest bracket in the tournament. There's the returning overall champ (Marino's), a former finalist (Pizza King), and a newcomer that won a different contest (5th and 50).

The judges -- plus our guest judge -- gathered at the lovely Anthology Studio in downtown Schenectady...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2011: Round 1: Saratoga

TOP2011 RD1 Saratoga

That most august tradition -- the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union -- opens in Saratoga. And, as you well know, Round 1 is a contest of cheese pizzas. Simple? Perhaps -- but simple things are often the hardest to do well.

The pizzerias in the opening round pool here:

Crowd pick: Marino's - Saratoga
Renee's pick: Mama Mia's - Saratoga
Committee pick: Amore - Saratoga
Committee pick: Clifton Park Pizza - Clifton Park

There is no returning champ because Nunzio's is no longer in business. That leaves a wide open bracket. Who will step up?

The judges -- plus our guest judge -- gathered at the Case Center on the campus of Skidmore College for the tasting...

sunmark pizza banner

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Tournament of Pizza 2011 judges

top 2011 judging

A glimpse over the shoulder of a TOP judge.

We need two things for the Tournament of Pizza: pizzas and judges.

Here's the lineup of pizza shops in this year's Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union.

And here is the panel of judges -- which includes a new judge, and a surprise or two (or three or four)...

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Tournament of Pizza 2011 brackets

marino's schenectady winning pizza 2010

The pizza that won the whole thing for Marino's in Schenectady last year. You know the one thing harder than winning the Tournament of Pizza? Winning it twice.

Toss the dough! Season the sauce! Slice the pepperoni! Ready the antacid!

The Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, is back!

This year's field is more open than any we've had in the history of the TOP. Two repeat bracket champs -- Pasquale's in Albany and Nunzio's in Saratoga -- are no longer in the pizza business, and that's opened the field for new competitors. And new winners.

Also this year: a new format for the first round!

Here's a breakdown of this year's brackets...

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Crowd picks for Tournament of Pizza 2011

pizza king

Could there be a TOP without Pizza King?

tournament of pizza badge smallCrowd voting for the 2011 Tournament of Pizza field ended last night -- and the results are in.

Here's how the brackets shape up so far...

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Tournament of Pizza 2011 voting

i heart pizza

You gotta love it.

The 2011 edition of the Tournament of Pizza will soon be here. The selection committee is currently assembling this year's field. And we need your help.

This year's brackets will include:
+ The two finalists from last year -- Marino's in Schenectady, DeFazio's in Troy
+ Four selections made by judge emerita Renée McAllister. (Does this mean we have a new judge this year? Suspense.)
+ Six selections by the committee -- four in each bracket, plus two for the (sadly) non-returning bracket champs (Pasquale's in Albany, Nunzio's in Saratoga).

That leaves four spots in the tournament, which will be chosen by crowd voting. The pizzeria with the most votes in each bracket will get a spot in the field.

The ballot for this year's field is after the jump -- as are Renee's picks.

(there's more)

The Scoop

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