OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio Angelina's Pizza and Deli was selected as the backstage site for the Food Network's first-ever national pizza competition, which the network is hosting as part of the Great Big Food Show at the IX Center Nov. 12-14, according to a news release. Food Network celebrity Mario Batali, host of "Molto Mario" is among the competition judges coming to Cleveland for the show.

Angelina's was chosen as the chefs' prepping location because of its proximity to the IX Center and Angelina owner Ann Reichle, who is a personal acquaintance of the show's coordinators from Pizza Marketing Quarterly magazine, the release noted. Reichle also is chairman of the North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show, which is held in Columbus, Ohio.

"The Food Network is focused on food the same way NAPICS is focused on independent operators," Reichle said in the release. "Bringing the Great Big Food Show to Cleveland is a reflection of the discriminating tastes of the area's restaurant customers."

The contestants are among top competitors from five U.S. regions that best represent pizza, including New York, Chicago, California, the South and Ohio. Each of the five teams are made up of one culinary and one acrobatic (dough stretching) expert, the release stated.

"These are all top caliber contestants," Reichle added.

The staging of the competition in Cleveland comes on the heels of Angelina's catering open house at its new location in North Olmsted Nov. 7.

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