A pizza war is coming to the Shore.

Sixteen pizzeria owners from across the state will compete in the Jersey Shore Pizza War, a friendly competition hosted by longtime chef and restaurant owner Umberto Turelli. The event takes place April 8 at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center in Toms River.

To determine the contestants, Turelli, owner of Zi Marie’s Original Pizzeria-Trattoria in Toms River, spent a year sampling pizza at dozens of pizzerias for his YouTube show, “What’s Cookin’ Jersey Shore.”

“It started out as a little Jersey Shore thing,” he said of his videos, for which he is now receiving requests from pizzerias in Florida to Massachusetts. “It’s blown up. It’s really growing into something big.”

More: These pizza places at the Jersey Shore are a real slice of heaven

Umberto Turelli, pictured in 2015, takes a torch to an order of crème brulée at his now-closed Toms River restaurant, Umberto's Blaze Bistro. His other former restaurants include Nuova Luna in Toms River and Ocean Township, and Trattoria Portobello in Freehold Borough and Seaside Heights.

Umberto Turelli, pictured in 2015, takes a torch to an order of crème brulée at his now-closed Toms River restaurant, Umberto’s Blaze Bistro. His other former restaurants include Nuova Luna in Toms River and Ocean Township, and Trattoria Portobello in Freehold Borough and Seaside Heights.

So far, Jersey Shore Pizza War competitors include Manzano’s in Waretown, Frankie Fed’s in Freehold Borough, Joe Dianos Tomato Pies in Point Pleasant Borough, DeCaro’s Pizzeria & Italian Eatery in Brick, Calabria Pizza & Italian Grill in Absecon, Brooklyn Original Pizzeria in Haddon Heights, and Filippo’s Pizzeria & Grill in Glassboro.

The winners will be determined by audience participation and chef judges David Burke, Enzo Ferrante, Geoff Johnson and Eddie Goldberg, plus local pizza reviewer Johnny C the Pizza Guy.

More: At The Sauce Pizzeria in Oceanport, there are different sauces for different pies

A large plain pizza from Manzano's in Waretown, which is one of 16 pizzerias competing in the upcoming Jersey Shore Pizza War.A large plain pizza from Manzano's in Waretown, which is one of 16 pizzerias competing in the upcoming Jersey Shore Pizza War.

A large plain pizza from Manzano’s in Waretown, which is one of 16 pizzerias competing in the upcoming Jersey Shore Pizza War.

Turelli hopes to fill the room with 300 pizza fans, whose ticket purchases will benefit his nonprofit organization, Cookin’ for the Cause, which hosts fundraising events for charities like Ocean of Love and The Maximilian Foundation.

“Cookin’ for the Cause doesn’t have a set charity,” said Turelli, who encourages groups in need to reach out to him. “(Charities) let us know when they need help. Nothing’s too small, nothing’s too big.”

Go: Jersey Shore Pizza War, 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, April 8, Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 815 Route 37 W., Toms River, $40 (includes pizza tasting and live music); 732-684-8912, jerseyshorepizzawar.com.

Sarah Griesemer joined the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey in 2003 and has been writing all things food since 2014. Send restaurant tips to [email protected], follow on Instagram at Jersey Shore Eats and subscribe to our Jersey Shore Eats newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Jersey Shore Pizza War brings 16 New Jersey pizzerias together

Share.
2024 © Network Today. All Rights Reserved.