Gothamist doesn't make it out to Long Island very often, but last Saturday we went to Adventureland in Farmingdale to help judge Long Island's best pizza. The nominees were submitted and voted on by users of LongIsland.com with the top five vote-getters participating in the finals on Saturday.
The different types of pizza that the judges sampled were regular, Sicilian, marinara, grandma, and specialty. While a marinara pizza may be self explanatory (it's all in the sauce), some marinara pizzas actually have a little cheese on them. Grandma style was explained to us as a thinner crust and similar to Sicilian-style pizza. We can't say that we've ever had marinara or grandma style pizzas before Saturday, but after sampling those pizzas, we can see what we're missing.
The entries in the specialty pizza category included a buffalo chicken pizza with ranch from Antino's, a chicken marsala from Spasso's, a penne a la vodka from Albert's, a shrimp and bacon with francese sauce from Paradiso's and a chicken Alfredo pizza from Bucci's. While Gothamist is generally a traditionalist when it comes to pizza toppings, a few of these pizzas were quite good. That said, we would stick to the more traditional offerings at almost any pizza joint.
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.
Special thanks to LongIsland.com, all the pizzerias that participated in the events over the weekend and to Adam over at Slice (who judged in 2004) for warning us not to eat any of the first slices that we sampled. We're glad we listened to his advice because we tasted 25 slices through the day.
As it turns out there may be a few more reasons to venture out to Long Island besides the Hamptons and the island's fine beaches. We kid, we kid. At the end of the day, we had something to ponder on our ride back on the LIRR - what has better pizza, New York City or Long Island? Clearly the answer is to sample more pizza!