A chance to taste 82 flavors of pizza in Rochester? That's amore
Emma Gielaowski of New England Pizza in Rochester serves up some slices to Randy Pierce of East Wakefield at the Rotary Club's fourth annual Pizza Bowl at the Elks Lodge Sunday afternoon. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)
More than 250 area residents sampled slices from eight local vendors during the two-hour charity event at the Rochester Elks Lodge. Each vendor brought cheese and peperoni and many tempted participants with a variety of specialties including Athenian, buffalo chicken, chicken club, eggplant, Margherita meat lovers, spinach Bianca and more.
Rotary President-elect Dan Hussey said the event, which now has a momentum of its own, gets bigger each year.
"I think there's 82 types of pizza," Hussey said, adding there's no way he can try all of them, so he attempts to find something new each time.
Like many others, he succumbed to the tempting aroma of the dessert pizza.
"I love the apple crust pizza with the ice cream," Hussey said. "I smelled it for hours and had to try it."
While the staff at Cousin Sam's Pizzeria & Brew on Washington Street thought their chicken Florentine and garlic Alfredo pizza would be a big hit, they were surprised to quickly run through four apple crisp pizzas, forcing them to call the restaurant for more.
Korah Desaulet, who works at Sam's, said people lined up to try the only dessert pizza at the event.
"It's funny, because we just brought the apple crisp pizza just for fun," Desaulet said.
As a result of the popularity of the apple crisp pizza, a panel of judges selected Sam's as having the best specialty pizza. It also won the people's choice award.
"We're not the traditional pizza place," Co-manager Kelly Brown said.
The panel of judges - who included Mayor T.J. Jean, Officer Tracy Hayes and Rotary President Gerry Gilbert - also determined Bella Fresca on North Main Street had the best crust, New England Pizza on Wakefield Street had the best sauce and Domino's on North Main Street had the best cheese.
Fat Tony's Italian Grill on North Main Street, Papa Gino's at the Lilac Mall, Village Pizza on Hancock Street and Goodfellas Brick Oven Pizzeria on Washington Street also participated in the event.
Rotarian Jackie Fitzpatrick said the Pizza Bowl provided people an opportunity to sample new flavors and offered enough variety for the whole family.
"These are some good-looking pizzas," Fitzpatrick said, adding she was most surprised to taste the pizza from Dominoes and planned to order some from the chain another time.
While the leftover pizzas were donated to the St. Charles Children's Home, the proceeds of the event will benefit charities supported by Rotary Club, including the Homeless Center for Strafford County, scholarships and international efforts to eradicate polio, according to Rotarian Walter Hoerman, who previously served as mayor.