As we start moving on to Round 2 in Northampton, let’s take a moment to revisit round 1.
Several of us were really pulling for Papa Gino’s for nostalgia reasons, but we could not deny Pizzeria Paradiso’s quality, flavor, and crust. Papa Gino’s is a regional chain and they make a really good New York-style pie that generally has a good chew in the crust and bright flavorful sauce. In a way it is a shame it went up against Paradiso in round 1 because their pizza is better than some other round 1 winners. Pizzeria Paradiso’s pies are brick-oven fired with a gourmet flair and pack in a lot of subtle flavors.
Winner: Pizzeria Paradiso
This ended up turning into a challenge of remaining unbiased against what is probably the biggest pizza chain the country, going up against a small-town greek-style pie shop. The Domino’s Pizza had strong seasoning but ultimately tasted kind of fake and overproduced. On the other hand, the Pizza Amore pie was decent but didn’t especially stand out, mostly winning by default. However, it did have good quality toppings (sausage) and above average mouthfeel, and that was enough to give it the win.
Winner: Pizza Amore
Here was a surprising result! Most people in town tend to pooh pooh Mimmo’s as gimmicky with their “Largest Slice” claim and sketchy interior, but they produce a large quality pie with good flavor and delicious chewy crust. Unfortunately, Roberto’s was not up to the challenge, sporting a crust that left us wanting. It was a thin-crust pizza but a bit too crispy and oily for our tastes. It may be that this pizza does not travel well, so it is worth a chance dining in, but for take-out there are probably better options.
Winner: Mimmo’s Pizza
Joe’s is a place I’ve been curious about for a while but haven’t quite gotten myself in the door. I’ve never had the pizza at Big Y either, so this was great to try two brand new pizzas for the first time. Unfortunately, neither pizza was outstanding. The Joe’s pizza had a crust that was thin and dense, kind of off-putting, though it had good flavors. And the Big Y pizza was larger and quite cheap, but overcooked with a crunchy crust instead of chewy, and lacking in strong flavors. We are a bunch that likes a good chewy crust, and we weren’t especially satisfied by either option, but the Big Y pizza was definitely closer to what we like.
Winner: Big Y
Top 8 from Round 1 (best to worst)
- Pizza Paradiso – Good quality gourment, brick-oven fired pizzas. Nice chewy crust, subtle flavors in sauce and toppings.
- Mimmo’s Pizza – A giant of a pizza for a good price. Nice chew on the crust. Get a party size for large crowds.
- Papa Gino’s – Classic New York-style pie, good flavors, good crust. An old stand-by.
- Big Y – Good “office pizza”, inexpensive and inoffensive. Cooked right, the crust might be decent. Toppings are fresh and tasty.
- Pizza Amore – If the crust were improved they would be a contender. Not bad, but I prefer the pita sandwiches (which are great).
- Roberto’s Pizza – Good flavors, but the pie is small and priced similar to larger pizzas elsewhere. Not a great take-out option as the crust tends to turn to stone and the cheese gets congealy.
- Joe’s Pizza & Spaghetti – Another one that might be better as dine in. The flavors were good but the crust was thin and dense in an offputting way.
- Domino’s Pizza – Not much to say, you have 7 better options right in front of you!