COLUMBUS, Ohio—Don Schmitt of Bexley Pizza Plus (Bexley, Ohio), and Eric Lippmann of EJ's Neighborhood Pizzeria and Italian Eatery (Cypress, Texas), out baked 73 other contestants during the annual Pizza Pizzazz contest, held here at the North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show, Feb. 19-20.
According to a news release, Schmitt's award-winning Mega Meat pizza took top honors in the traditional pizza division, while Lippmann's Texas-Style Barbeque Chicken won the gourmet pizza division.
Winning the competition earns both Schmitt and Lippmann expenses-paid trips to the April World Pizza Championships in Salsamaggiore, Italy, and spots on the U.S. Pizza Team.
Second prize and $400 in the traditional category went to Tim Duffey, DeFelice Brothers Pizza, St. Clairsville, Ohio, while third place and $200 went to Terry Bryant, Angelo's Pizza II & Hound Dog Café, Avon, Ohio.
Second prize and $400 in the gourmet category went to James Catalfino, Catalfino's Pizza & Pub, Canal Winchester, Ohio, and third place and $200 went to Paul Cataldo, Antonio's Italian Ristorante, Elkhart, Ind.
Contestants in both categories competed in first-round bakeoffs that yielded five finalists each. Those five went to a final round in which they again prepared their original entries. A panel of 25 judges each day ruled on appearance, marketability and taste.