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The Best Pizza in Town

I remember ordering pizza with friends as a teenager in Crookston. Whenever we were trying to decide what kind to have -- whether it was in Al's after a dance at the old National Guard Armory or in Johnny's after an amateur baseball game -- someb...

I remember ordering pizza with friends as a teenager in Crookston. Whenever we were trying to decide what kind to have -- whether it was in Al's after a dance at the old National Guard Armory or in Johnny's after an amateur baseball game -- somebody invariably would say, "anything but anchovies." I don't even remember if anchovy pizza was on either of the menus.

There's a chance some of my older Reds' baseball teammates had sampled the tiny salt-water fish and truly didn't like it, but I seriously doubt any of my peers ever had eaten anchovies, much less had them on pizza.

For me, it didn't matter. I could and did eat any slice of pizza that was put in front of me. You see, if there is one food that I have a weakness for, it's pizza. I don't care what kind it is, although these days, my preference is for one loaded with veggies. In fact, there was a stretch during the mid- to late-1970s, when I gave up meat and a veggie pizza was the only kind that appealed to me.

So, when Emily Wright, civic engagement coordinator with the Grand Forks Housing Authority, asked me to help judge the Best Pizza in Grand Forks Contest this coming Monday, I was tempted to yell out "Mama Mia!" over the phone.

Other guest judges include Jim Bollman of KNOX radio, Tom Petros and Ric Ferraro of the UND psychology department, City Council President Hal Gershman, Fawn Behrens-Smith of Grand Forks Homes and Kelly Greenlees of the Bremer Foundation. There also will be a kids' panel of LaGrave Learning Center residents, ages 5 through 15, judging the Kids' Choice category.

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The event, which starts at 5:30 p.m., is being emceed by Tony Trimarco of the UND Memorial Union, and will be in the Link (300 Cherry St.). It's open to the public. Freewill donations will be used to fund teen events at the LaGrave center.

The pizza contest is part of Neighborhood Networks Week, a national celebration at more than 1,300 NN centers across the U.S. The four Grand Forks NN centers focus on providing technology and learning opportunities for all members of the Grand Forks community, "specifically those living in our properties," Wright said. "The pizza contest was started as a way to encourage neighborhood involvement, celebrate togetherness, and take pride in our community."

Seven restaurants (Boston's, Green Mill, Mamma Maria's, Rhombus Guys, Slapshot, 'l Bistro and Sbarro have entered the contest. All have entries in each of the six categories -- People's Choice, Kids' Choice, Best Crust, Best Gourmet, Best Value and Most Creative. (See Page C2.)

I wonder if any of the pizzas will have anchovies on them.

Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at 780-1136; (800) 477-6572, ext. 136; or jtiedeman@gherald.com .

For more information, contact Emily Wright, (701) 792-2875 or ewright@grandforksgov.com .

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