Niagara Gazette

January 25, 2014

Time for Tonawanda's big pizza party

By Jill Keppeler
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — The Tonawandas’ biggest pizza party will be back for its 13th year Tuesday, as Pizza Fest takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Classics V Banquet Center on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst. 

Ten venues are expected to bring out their best pizza and chicken wings this year, including Flora’s Café at Budwey’s Supermarkets, Dave’s Pizza Joint, The DeGraff Café, TC Wheeler’s Bar and Pizzeria, Café Banchetti, Little Caesars, Buffalo Wild Wings, Just Pizza & Wing Co., Papa John’s and Tops Friendly Markets, said Beckie Lombardy, administrative assistant at the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas, which sponsored the event.

Tony Candino, co-owner of TC Wheeler’s Bar and Pizzeria, said the business has been taking part in the event for about seven or eight years. It’s been known in the past for its reuben pizza, but a little something different is planned this year.

“We’re going to show off our stuffed hot pepper pizza,” he said. “ We’ll also have our regular pizza. ... For the wings, we’re going to do butter garlic parmesan wings.”

Candino said that while the event has drawbacks in that restaurants need to provide all their food and help for free, it also has its advantages.

“It’s a good advertising event, I think,” he said. “It helps get your name out.”

Dave White, owner of Dave’s Pizza Joint of Wheatfield, said the business has been taking part for the past two years. He’s choosing to surprise people with his offerings this year, but said he’s had success in the past.

“We’ve finished in the top three in some of the categories,” he said. “It’s definitely a good way to get your name out there.”

This year’s Pizza Fest judges will be Bryan Shaw of Channel 4; Beverly Loxterman, this year’s chamber Citizen of the Year, North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt; City of Tonawanda Mayor Rob Davis; Fred Priano, one of the founders of Pizza Fest; Barbara Hughes, owner of Webster’s Bistro; Jesse Gooch of Painters Plus; Hank Cole of DeGraff Memorial Hospital; Ken Kirisits of Marjon School of Beauty and Larry Denef of the Canal Fest board of directors.

IF YOU GO • WHAT: 13th annual Pizza Fest • WHEN: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday • WHERE: Classics V Banquet Center, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst • TICKETS: Cost is $15 presale until Monday, $18 at the door. • FOR MORE INFO: Call the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas at 692-5120.