The best pizza and meatballs in New Jersey will be crowned at Redd’s Restaurant and Bar in Carlstadt on Feb. 3. Pizzerias and restaurants from the Meadowlands and across the state will compete in the final round for the title of the best pizza in New Jersey..
Pizza Bowl was cooked up by Guy Madsen, founder of Jersey Pizza Joints on Facebook (with close to 100K followers). Now in its fourth year, Pizza Bowl is bigger than ever and building out its dual mission of elevating small businesses and raising money for Tunnel to Towers, an organization Madsen is passionate about.
Raising Funds for Tunnel to Towers
Tunnel to Towers “honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. We also honor our military and first responders who continue to make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for our country,” according to its website.
“It’s been to help these mom-and-pop businesses all along…these are genuine salt of the earth people, knowing how difficult it is to work even in good times, let alone bad times… this is our way of honoring them.”
Madsen also cites the sense of communal support as a key motivator and one of the most gratifying parts of this entire experience. People come from all over the state to attend and judge the Pizza Bowl.
“It’s a great way to bring the community together, a chance to be recognized as the best in the state.”
In prior years, the Pizza Bowl would feature over 250 pizzas and more than 2,000 meatballs, with celebrity judges given the power to determine what had the best taste. This year, things have been made a little easier. Twelve pizzerias will represent the best of what the state has to offer, broken up into North, Central, and South. Some celebrity judges include Tommy and Lexi Devito, parents of New York Giants quarterback and Jersey’s own Tommy Devito.
The winner of last year’s Pizza Bowl was Coniglio’s Old Fashioned in Morristown. “They would be an odds-on favorite,” Madsen said jokingly.
He doesn’t take into account whoever wins or loses though, as “everyone’s a winner for whoever’s involved.”
All of the money raised for the event goes towards Tunnels to Towers, a foundation that supports the families of fallen heroes. Last year, over the span of nine hours, $20,000 was raised, with all of it going towards the organization. “I’m a strong proponent of people who serve us and here’s an opportunity to help them.”
“It’s become culturally significant…it’s become Pizza Bowl Weekend…people come to us for food, culture, a sense of community.”