WESTFIELD, NJ - The Westfield YMCA held their 2nd annual Pizza Palooza at the Westfield Gym on Sunday. This year 9 pizzerias donated their pizza and time to the event that drew a crowd of about 200 attendees. Roma was awarded the winner garnering the most votes of the 9 participating pizzerias.

All 9 pizzerias: Buona, Casa di Pizza, Di Farina, Ferraro’s, Gennaro’s, La Casa, Roma, Rudy’s, and Randazzo’s; were from the Garwood and Westfield area, two of the four towns the Westfield YMCA serves.  

“We never turn anyone away for financial reasons here at the Y,” said Sharon London, YMCA Assistant Aquatic Director, and event coordinator. The Westfield YMCA, like all YMCAs provide financial assistance for individuals who want to become members, but cannot afford to through their Annual Support Campaign. London explained “the Pizza Palooza helps towards that program.”

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The Pizza Palooza required each participant to try a slice from each contributing pizza shop and vote on who they believed had the best tasting pizza. Criteria for judging was not specific, so individuals focused on several different aspects of the pizza’s taste.

Jane Laitman had a sentimental approach to judging, “I am going to vote for Buona pizza because it tastes like the pizza I ate growing up.” While others like the Manescu family resembled connoisseurs, detailing exactly why they felt their favorite, Buona pizza, was the best tasting. “The Pizza has a nice mixture of sauce and cheese, and the spices added are good,” explained Miron Manescu.

Husband and wife, Dan Glazer and Michele Higgins came with a decision already in mind. “Gennaro’s has the best sauce,” said Higgins and added, “I usually vote for them with money.” Glazer had a different take and said he would vote for Gennaro's for “the combination of the crust and the seasoning.” 

The event was considered a huge success, however, earlier in the week panic set in as only 20 people had pre-registered. Most of the participants register the day off, some even traveled from as far as Bayonne. The group from Bayonne consisted of 8 high school students and while Buona had a lot buzz amongst the participants, these 8 all chose the eventual winner, Roma Pizza. Buona came in second and Casa Di Pizza came in third.

The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Learn more at www.westfieldynj.org. The Westfield YMCA serves Westfield, Garwood, Cranford and Mountainside.