The Kentucky-Louisville college football game may have been the hottest ticket in town, but it wasn’t the only heated
rivalry unfolding in Lexington back in early September. Pizza makers from Kentucky’s two largest cities staged a showdown of their own at the
fourth annual Bluegrass Bakeoff on September
10—and it was delicious.
Standing outside in cool, breezy weather in downtown Lexington, nearly 700 people came out to enjoy
good pizza, Kentucky Ale brew and live music by
the band Superfecta. Meanwhile, it was Lexington
vs. Louisville in the fight for the title of best pizza in
the Bluegrass State. And just as the Louisville Cardinals prevailed in Commonwealth Stadium, a team of
pizza makers from DiOrio’s Pizza & Pub in Louisville
took home top honors in the bakeoff. The team, led
by owner Vic DiOrio, won with a pie called Aaron’s
Heat and Sweet, a pesto-sauce pie with spicy sausage,
jalapeños, sweet red onion, pepperoni, and basil covered in fresh mozzarella.
Greg Spaulding of Lexington-based Puccini’s
Smiling Teeth ( puccinissmilingteeth.com) finished
in second place while Louisville-based Papalinos
( papalinospizza.com), led by Alan Rosenberg, took
third prize. Fourth place went to William Bodne
from Pazzo’s Pizza Pub ( pazzospizzapub.com) in
As the first-place winner, DiOrio earned a spot on
the U.S. Pizza Team and is eligible to compete with
the team in the World Championship of Pizza in
Parma, Italy, next spring. Spaulding has previously
won the Bluegrass Bakeoff and has been a member
of the U.S. Pizza Team for several years.
A total of 20 competitors vied for the title in the
Bluegrass Bakeoff. Event sponsor Pizzaovens.com
teamed up with food supplier Presto to bring the
ovens and other needed materials for the pizzaio-los. The competing pizzerias brought their own toppings and sauces for their pizzas.
Helping the Community
Pizzaovens.com began the competition four years
ago to tie into the big in-state rivalry football game,
and he soon learned that the competition was fierce.
For Fash Asvadi, owner of PizzaOvens.com, it’s less
THE Bluegrass BAKEOFF
(Opposite, clockwise from
top) Rachel Williamson,
Vic DiOrio, and Candace
Cochran from DiOrio’s
Pizza celebrate their victory; Alan Rosenberg of
Papalinos shows off his
pig tattoo; Rosenberg’s
pie, The Righteous Pig,
helped him place third in
contest; and pizza fans
enjoy samples from the
DiOrio’s Pizza & Pub of Louisville takes top honors
in Kentucky’s fourth annual pizza making showdown.
By Melanie Addington
Click here to view our special video
coverage of the Bluegrass Bakeoff!