Pizza Wars: Who will compete for the best pizza in northern Indiana?

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By: Marshall V. King
mking@flavor574.com

Marshall V. King/The Elkhart Truth

It’s not yet time to storm the polls, but the potential competitors are shaping up for Pizza Wars.

Elkhart County will get eight spots in the group of competitors that will kick off the contest to pick the best pizza in northern Indiana Friday, May 15.

We asked Flavor 574 readers to nominate their favorites, and they suggested a number of places, most of them in Elkhart County.

Here’s who readers said should be on the list:

Rulli’s, 851 U.S. 20, Middlebury, and 54595 C.R. 17, Elkhart. This longtime business sells a lot of pizza.

Venturi, 123 E. Lincoln Ave., Goshen. This Neapolitan-style pizza is prepared in a wood-fired oven. There’s nothing else like it in Elkhart County or for miles beyond.

Colombo’s, 2425 S. Main St., Elkhart. For decades, this has been a go-to for lovers of thick-crust pizza.

Volcano Pizza, multiple Elkhart locations. For lovers of a thinner crust, Volcano has been the go-to since 1957.

Iechyd Da, 317 N. Main St., Elkhart. Elkhart’s first and oldest brewery put creative pizzas at the heart of its menu.

Antonio’s Italian Restaurant, 1105 Goshen Ave., Elkhart. Paul Cataldo has competed with his pizza internationally and serves a variety of styles.

Bruno’s Pizza, 28046 C.R. 16 West, Elkhart. Bruno Cataldo has one pizzeria and it’s on the western edge of Elkhart County. It’s different than the ones spread throughout St. Joseph County.

Chicago’s Downtown Eatery, 218 E. Vistula, Bristol. It serves deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza.

Michael’s Italian Restaurant, 528 Harrison St., Elkhart. The longtime family restaurant serves a lot more than pizza, but its thin-crust offerings are very good.

That’s nine reader suggestions for eight spots. And the one that I think is missing from the list is Cook’s Pizza (101 S. Elkhart Ave., Wakarusa), a small-town shop with a long history and very good pizza.

Boomerelli’s on the west side of Elkhart (30178 C.R. 12, Elkhart) also has its fair share of fans. Josh Royer, owner of Primo Italian Eatery (201 W. Marion St., Elkhart), would love to get his rebooted version of Vesuvio’s Pizza in the contest.

But whom do you eliminate to get them on the list?

At the risk of offending, I’d put Cook’s on the list ahead of Michael’s and Chicago’s Downtown Eatery. It’s a hard choice, but that’s what I’d do. The folks at the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau will make the final call.

As for other counties, the Wooden Peel (108 W. Plymouth St., Bremen) is a name that came up among readers for Marshall County. In St. Joseph County, the competition may be as fierce or fiercer than in Elkhart County, but the names readers suggested are Pasquale Rulli’s, Barnaby’s, Joe’s Tavern, Four Horsemen Pizza and Rocco’s.

Seven counties — Elkhart, St. Joseph, Kosciusko, Porter, LaPorte, Marshall and LaGrange — will compete as they did in Burger Wars.

At the county level, there will be three rounds of voting:

  • First Round: May 15 to 24
  • Second Round: May 28 to 31
  • Third Round: June 4 to 7

After that, county winners will compete at the regional level in another three rounds:

  • First Round: June 12 to 21
  • Second Round: June 22 to 25
  • Final Round: June 26 to 29

The rounds are shorter this year, compared to last year’s Burger Wars, and the overall competition is a week and a half shorter, according to Robby Bearss, who is coordinating the contest for the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission.

It’s going to be fun and fierce competition.

As you chew and post, the hashtag will be #PizzaWarsNI. May the best pizza win!

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