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Embracing a Love of Pizza Pie

The Southington Chamber of Commerce's annual pizza fest returns, with 12 local businesses vying for the titles of best overall and most original.

Southington’s top pizza restaurants are firing up their ovens, bringing in a variety of ingredients and preparing to go to war for the title of “Best Overall” and “Most Original” pizza in town.

They are prestigious titles, said President Art Secondo, titles that come with a lot of pride and ones that twelve restaurants will look to take home in 2012. Secondo said hopes are high for the third annual event, which will take place on Aug. 23 at .

“This has really become a popular competition for local restaurants and they really go all out in hopes of winning the title,” Second said.

The third annual event, sponsored by the Southington Chamber women, will feature a variety of pies coming from ten local restaurants including Bacci's, , Randy's Wooster Street Pizza, , Zingarella's Pizzeria, , , , and .

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Organizers said they are anticipating as many as 300 people at the event – there were nearly 400 area residents at the 2011 event – with as many as 200 pizzas being made.

For restaurants taking part in the annual competition, it’s not an easy challenge to try and come out on top. It takes hours of working over a hot oven, marketing to regular customers and finding a way to transport the pizzas to the competition in a way that will keep them fresh and warm while maintaining the day-to-day business of their restaurants.

But Bertucci’s General Manager Don Spohler, who helped his restaurant take home the title in 2010, said previous competitions have been more than worth it.

“It’s a competition that really draws the best out of each restaurant and we look forward to participating each year,” Spohler said during an interview following the 2011 competition. “It connects restaurants with local vendors and the community.”

Secondo said Thursday that the annual competition has seen growing popularity in recent years, partially due to Southington’s Italian roots, but more so because it gives residents a chance to try the fares of restaurants throughout the community.

The event was founded three years ago by the chamber women, a group of female business leaders in the community, as a way to help chamber members get the word out about their restaurants. The first event drew a little over 200 people and the annual pizza fest has grown exponentially since then.

“We are just looking for a turnout of 300 people. With that, everyone will be happy,” Secondo said.

Other sponsors of the 2012 event include Arbella Insurance, Webster Bank, The Herald and HQ Dumpsters, Secondo said. All paper goods will be provided by Costco of Waterbury.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10.  Music will be provided.

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