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Published: Wednesday, 7/24/2013 - Updated: 3 years ago

The dough is rising in preparation for Pizza Palooza

Laney Bauman said she liked all the pizza while working her way through multiple slices at the 2012 Pizza Palooza at Centennial Terrace in Sylvania. Laney Bauman said she liked all the pizza while working her way through multiple slices at the 2012 Pizza Palooza at Centennial Terrace in Sylvania.
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While the dough is rising for pizza being made for this week’s Pizza Palooza competition, a handful of area pizza makers met in Sylvania to talk about their winning strategy.

Bobby Jorgensen, president of Kistler Ford which has been one of the sponsors for the four-year running pizza contest, greeted area bakers Wednesday morning in the car showroom.

The full-of-energy Mr. Jorgensen wished all the area pizza makers well for the contest that runs for two days, Friday and Saturday, at Centennial Terrace.

In the midst of those representing small-business pizza parlors were last year’s winning champions, Charlie’s Homemade Pizza and Italian Cuisine owners Steve and Laurie Weaver. They proudly held the sign proclaiming their pepperoni pizza the best for two years in a row.

“Consistency,” is what gives them a competitive edge, the couple said. This year 10 Toledo- and Sylvania-area pizza shops will compete in two categories, Best Cheese and Best Specialty Pizza. The two would not give major clues as to what toppings would appear on their specialty pizza. They only hinted that it is one pie customers keep coming back for at their store.

They will also have a gluten-free crust pizza for patrons to purchase.

This is the first time Jim Jacob, owner of J-Cups Pizza, will participate in the contest. He too, declined to say what specialty pizza he will submit for the judges to taste.

Abe Mahmoud, owner of Jo-Jo’s Original Pizza, said his pizza is the best due to its thin crust. But in the end, it is the panel of judges that will have the final say on who dishes out the best pizza in town.

This year’s panel of judges includes City of Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough, Lourdes University President David Livingston, The Blade’s Food Editor Dan Neman, and Sylvania Township Trustee John Jennewine, among other local celebrities. Mr. Jorgensen will not be able to attend this year, so in his place will be his colleague Bill Zuccarel.

He recalled the first year of the contest. Pizza competitors were judged on the best slice while enduring sweltering weather. Pat Nowak, Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, assured him and the contenders that this weekend promised cooler weather for outdoor pizza eating and competing.

The competition is great for Sylvania and the community, Mr. Jorgensen said, adding “who doesn’t love pizza.” Besides getting a chance to spend the weekend outdoors, it also spotlights area small-business pizza shop owners, he said.

Pizza Palooza runs from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and 4 p.m. to midnight Saturday at Centennial Terrace, 5773 Centennial Rd. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children 5 to 12, children under 5 are free. Pizza slices are additional. For more information visit

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or

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