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Local pizzerias duke it out at the first annual Dough-Raiser

Fundraising Rule Number One: the path to people’s minds – andwallets – is through their stomachs.

This was a lesson well-learned by the Bay Ridge Democrats asthey hosted their first annual Dough-Raiser on Thursday, June 2 atThe Pour House on 7901 Third Avenue, where over $1,600 was raisedfor the club.

The [Bay Ridge Democrats] is really trying to get more involvedwith civic-mindedness, promoting big and small D democracy, saidclub President Justin Brannan, who grew up in Bay Ridge. We wantto bring people together, to show that it’s not only about apolitical agenda. And Brooklyn and pizza [goes together] likepeanut butter and jelly. No one didn’t want to be involved.

Competing for the titles of Best Crust, Best Sauce and BestSlice Overall were seven of Bay Ridge’s most beloved pizzerias:Pizza Wagon, Mancini’s Pizza, Bay Ridge Pizza, Elegante Pizzeria,Nino’s Pizza, Gino’s Restaurant and Peppino’s Brick Oven Pizzeria.An eighth competitor was a homemade offering from local residentTom, aka TJQ’s.

Several dozen pizza fans from throughout Brooklyn plopped down$35 apiece to vote on their favorites. Each pizzeria donatedseveral different types of pies and each group was numbered fromone to seven so that voters/eaters did not know which pie was madeby which restaurant. Votes were collected in a makeshift ballot boxperched on a bar stool.

I moved back from Washington, D.C., where there is no pizza soI’m in heaven, said Andrew Gounardes, a club member and executivedirector at the Citizens Committee of New York City.

This is fabulous that we’re still gathering during a slow pointin the political season, added Linda Orlando, who serves as theclub’s recording secretary. You really can’t go wrong with anypizza in Bay Ridge.

After nearly two hours of pizza sampling, drinking and comparingnotes – pie #7 had mushrooms that put it over the top, accordingto club member John McElhinney, while others agreed that pie #2 hada good thin crust, and pie #3 had nice sauce. The votes were in:The winner in all three categories was Bay Ridge Pizza at 7704Fifth Avenue.

We were very excited, very happy that we won, said GaspareTumminello, who runs Bay Ridge Pizza with his father Sal and uncle,Tony, who founded the pizzeria in 1978 and filled the menu withrecipes they grew up with in Santa Margherita in Sicily. We’vealways believed in our product and we’re happy to know that heconsumers of the area voted for us.

The runners-up were Mancini’s Pizza – pie #2 – for Best Crust,Nino’s Pizza – pie #5 – for Best Sauce, and Peppino’s – pie #7 -for Best Slice Overall.

Not only was the event a roundup of Bay Ridge’s best pizza, butit was also a who’s who of political figures. Public Advocate Billde Blasio, Councilmember Vincent Gentile and 60th A.D. DemocraticDistrict Leader Joanne Seminara all bumped pizza crusts, alongsidecommunity leaders, residents and political hopefuls.

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