When you can go to war for a good cause, it helps morale. When you can crown a place as having the best pizza, even better.

It’s called the Jersey Shore Pizza War and it’s coming to Tom’s River in April. This isn’t just a spectator event, but it’s partly that. Hundreds will gather at Clarion Hotel and Conference Center on April 8 to participate and help determine the winner. Chef judges will also have a say like David Burke, Eddie Goldberg, Enzo Ferrante and Geoff Johnson. Umberto Turelli is host of the event.

Turelli is taking this war seriously as one should. He’s spent a year sampling pizza at dozens of places for his YouTube show “What’s Cookin’ Jersey Shore.”

Pizza pepperoni isolated on white background, top view

Turelli, who owns Zi Marie's Original Pizzeria-Trattoria in Toms River, is narrowing the competitive field down to sixteen pizzerias. It’s all for a good cause. Spectators pay $40 then get to sample a ton of pizza and the ticket sales go to Cookin’ for the Cause. They set up events to raise money for worthy charities like Ocean of Love and others.

Cookin' for the Cause doesn't have a set charity,” Turelli explains. "(Charities) let us know when they need help. Nothing’s too small, nothing’s too big.

So far he has lined up places like Manzano’s in Waretown, Frankie Fed's in Freehold Borough, Joe Dianos Tomato Pies in Point Pleasant Borough, DeCaro's Pizzeria & Italian Eatery in Brick, Brooklyn Original Pizzeria in Haddon Heights, Filippo's Pizzeria & Grill in Glassboro, and Calabria Pizza & Italian Grill in Absecon.

A fun night, some celebrity chefs, a good cause, and pizza. What more do you need?

Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash
Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash

The Jersey Shore Pizza War will be waged at 815 Route 37 W., Toms River from 6pm to 9pm Monday April 8 at the Clarion. Your $40 not only gets you in for the pizza tasting as a pizza influencer, you’ll also get live music. For more info go to jerseyshorepizzawar.com. Consider it the Sweet Sixteen of pizza competitions, or maybe the Savory Sixteen.


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