Five Long Islandbased pizzerias competed in each of five categories: regular, marinara, Sicilian, grandma, and specialty. In Mr. Mao's words:
Our favorites from the day were Paradiso for regular pizza, Prince Umberto's in Sicilian, Paradiso's in marinara, Antino's in grandma, and Paradiso's in the specialty pizza. The winners for best pizza were Prince Umberto's for best regular and Sicilian, Paradiso for best marinara, Antino's for best grandma, and Spasso's for best grandma. Pizzas weren't judged on any particular criteria like crust, sauce, or cheese, but all based on the preferences of the judges. In addition to the pizza contest, there was also a pizza eating contest. Unfortunately due to our judging responsibilities, we could not participate. The winner, Mike Hoffman, ate almost a whole pie in about six minutes.
That's Mr. Hoffman above, looking for all the world like he's struggling to hold down what he's taken in.
I had the dubious honor of judging this event in 2004. I say dubious because I foolishly gorged on slices early in the judging process instead of taking two or three strategic bites of each.
Mr. Mao's Gothamist post has more photos and detail. Do click through.