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Antonio's Paul Cataldo places in top five in Columbus pizza competition

Paul Cataldo will soon have another award-winning pizza on the menu at Antonio’s Italian Ristorante.

The owner of the restaurant at 1105 Goshen Ave., Elkhart, competed in the North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show Sunday and Monday, Jan. 24 and 25. He took third place in the gourmet division and finished in the top five in the traditional division.

He was one of 50 competitors at the expo in Columbus, Ohio, where he’s competed for at least 10 years. He’s prepared pizzas in competitions in Italy and New York and is getting ready for the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas from March 8 to 10.

This third-place pizza in Columbus was the Calabrese, a thick-crust Sicilian pizza made with dough that rises for three days to develop flavor. On the crust in the walled pan he adds arrabiata sauce, fresh grape tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, sopressatta, basil, arugula and shaved Reggiano cheese.

“I was really happy with the way it turned out,” he said. “I would have been happier if it was three points more.”

In the traditional division, Cataldo again entered the Italian Stallion, which is on the menu at the restaurant. It has 80 pieces of pepperoni along with bacon, sausage, meatball, and provolone and mozzarella cheeses.

Last year the pizza placed 10th, and this year was in the top five. “It’s gonna win one of these years,” he said.

Cataldo said he enjoys going to these expos and seeing what other pizza makers are doing. “You always want to know how good your pizza is,” he said, noting that this year’s competition had makers from Austin to Brooklyn, Wisconsin to Florida. “It all comes down to crust, sauce and cheese,” he said.

He saw some crazy pizzas, including one made with meatballs, ketchup, mustard, lettuce and tomato.

“Who doesn’t want to compete,” he said.

He’s ordered pans to start serving the Sicilian pizza at the restaurant and hopes to make a few other varieties on the crust as well.

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