Pie Wars: Dawn of the Dough will be held Jan. 20 at The Charles in downtown Johnson City. The third annual pizza contest will raise money for CASA of Northeast Tennessee. (Contributed)
Local pizza parlors to battle for Pizza Cup
Today at 7:02 PM
The annual battle over who has the best pizza in Johnson City will soon be waged as Pie Wars: Dawn of the Dough returns for a third year.
The charity event will be held Jan. 20 at The Charles in downtown Johnson City.
This year, 10 local pizza parlors will be competing to see just who has the best pie in town, including last year’s reigning champion Main Street Pizza. Samples will be available from Earth Fare, Marco’s Pizza, One 12 Downtown, N&K Specialty Foods, Papa John’s, Pizza Inn, Pizza N Gyro, Schmuck’s and Scratch Brick Oven.
The winner gets to display the coveted Pizza Cup for a year and lay claim to bragging rights.
“The competition between the pizza places has grown. We’re seeing on social media some smack-talk between the participating pizza places,” said Samara Litvack, communication director for Young Professionals of the Tri-Cities, the group responsible for the event.
All 10 pizza parlors will compete in one round — Chef’s Choice. The single round competition is a bit of a change for Pie Wars, which has held multiple rounds in years past. In order to reduce waste, organizers decided to cut out rounds and just focus on an overall winner.
“By the time people got to the third round people were full and couldn’t keep eating, so we’re just doing one round,” Litvack said.
With Pie Wars in its third year, Litvack said the community’s embrace of the charity event has turned it into a tradition that people are excited to participate in.
All of the proceeds from the event will benefit CASA of Northeast Tennessee, which works with juvenile courts in Johnson City, and Washington, Greene and Unicoi counties.
“By now people are familiar with the event. They understand that we always partner with children’s organizations. I anticipate that it will be a very successful event, in part because of who we’re partnering with and also because people are familiar with the event,” Litvack said.
Since Pie Wars started, the event has raised a little more than $18,000 for local nonprofit groups.
“We’ve been lucky to partner with some really great organizations and I think the community sees the value in the nonprofits with which we partner, and this years is no different,” Litvack said.
Litvack said she hopes the continued success of the charity event will help raise more money for CASA of Northeast Tennessee.
“We’re very excited to be working with them. A lot of people recognize who they are and are very passionate about that cause, so we feel that again we will be able to raise a lot of money for a great organization,” she said.
Another change to this year’s pizza battle is the removal of the beer and wine tasting component. Litvack said the organizers wanted to simplify Pie Wars and make sure pizza was the true star of the show.
“We really this year wanted to bring the focus back to the pizza and as such we took a couple of the components out and we lowered the ticket price,” she said.
In addition to the pizza tasting, the event will also feature the Man vs. Pizza competition in which 10 people will race to eat a large pizza for the chance to win a prize.
Tickets to the event give people a vote, music by DJ Shorty Tripp and the chance to win door prizes donated by local businesses. Liquor, wine and beer will be available for purchase and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit CASA of Northeast Tennessee.
Pie Wars will be held from 5 to 11 p.m. at The Charles, 308 E. Main St. Pizza samples will be served beginning at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Attendees must be 21 years old or older. To purchase a ticket, visit www.piewars.eventbrite.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/YPTri or www.yptri.org.