Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

It's Pizzafest in the Park in Lawrenceville You Can Order Pies from 8 Pizzerias

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

It's Pizzafest in the Park in Lawrenceville You Can Order Pies from 8 Pizzerias

Article excerpt

While working a food-truck roundup in Arsenal Park last winter, Michael Devine, better known to Pittsburgh as DJ Zombo, found himself looking around the food offerings and hankering for a slice of pizza, which was nowhere to be found.

This led him to picture a "Steel City PizzaFest" in the same park, with pizza joints selling their specialties and vying for a People's Choice award.

But while rib cook-off dudes haul their rib-smoking equipment from festival to festival all summer, how could pizza joints pull off this setup? You can't very well haul the pizza oven out of the restaurant and down to the park.

He did some research and found three other cities that had held pizza festivals - New York, Chicago and Cleveland - but those cities all had pizza ovens set up for their events. How could he keep it lower-maintenance?

He thought it through and solved the problem, and now the first Steel City PizzaFest is scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. this Saturday, May 9, in Arsenal Park.

Eight local pizza shops will have tents in the park that day. They'll have warmers on hand, but the pizzas will be baked in the shops, and teams of "pizza runners" with special parking will haul the pizzas from shop to park.

Participating joints are:

* Angelo's

* Caliente

* Cattivo

* Graziano's

* Hambones (they're just starting into the pizza business with novelties such as mac-n-cheese pizza)

* Pesaro's

* Pizza Parma

* Spak Brothers (specialties include vegan pizza)

Mr. Devine limited the pizza vendors to those located in Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, East Liberty, Garfield and Downtown - that is, within a few miles of Arsenal Park so the pizza runs could be made quickly.

He's leaving prices and sales up to the individual vendors, so some might choose to offer free samples, cut small slices for low prices, or sell by the pie. Some vendors also will sell sodas, bottled water, desserts or other food, but the main attraction is pizza.

Six local bands will play family-friendly roots rock, alternative country, indie rock and other genres.

A "Ms. Pizza Pittsburgh" contest will be held around 4 p.m., between bands. Contestants will be judged on their costumes, as well as on who can be "the most sultry" eating a slice of pizza, he said. The winner will get a trophy and a "Ms. Pizza Pittsburgh" sash.

Second Shift Crafters will have more than 50 craft vendors on hand.

Carnegie Library of Lawrenceville is planning children's activities, and Pizza Parma plans to bring dough-throwers and "make a spectacle of things," he said.

Admission is free: facebook.com/pghpizzafest.

ETHNIC FOOD

* Ukrainian Food Festival: Stuffed cabbage, halushki, pierogies, plus a plant sale for Mother's Day. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Hall, South Side.

* Salsita: Food, cocktails and entertainment celebrating Latino culture and the Spanish language, including a salsa cook-off among area chefs. …

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