When the voting ended at 10 p.m. Sunday, Grandma Tony’s defeated Frog and Firkin for the chompianship, 1,736 to 1,624.
It was a run for the ’roni, an epic, hard-fought battle that started off with 32 contenders and lasted nearly as long as the NBA finals.
And now, it is over. Done. Fini.
“It was wonderful; we had so much fun,” said Grandma Tony’s owner, Tony Terry, who hosted an old-fashioned “get out the vote” party Sunday night. Gaslight Theatre (Terry owns that, too). Actors made appearances, pizza was were given away, a running tally was kept on a dry-erase board since customers kept calling and texting to find out the standings.
“I was exhausted,” Terry said. “I don’t know how people in politics do it.”
Despite the outcome, Frog owner Garrett Raetzman isn’t crying into his veggie Firkin pizza.
“I don’t mind losing to him at all,” said Raetzman, who’s known Terry for more than 20 years. Both men belong to the Centurions, a local nonprofit that supports Carondelet Health Network. “He’s a wonderful man. He does so much for the community.”
At 10 p.m. Sunday, Terry got an instant message from Raetzman, saying it was a classy race and he was honored to compete with him.
“I said the same thing to him,” said Terry, who plans to bring his management staff to Frog and Firkin for ’za this week.
It was an interesting matchup between two diverse eateries: The 12-year-old Frog and Firkin is a pub serving a full menu. Its pie offerings have pizza-zz, like the Falcon Firkin topped with red sauce, grilled chicken, blue cheese and a drizzle of wing sauce.
Grandma Tony’s, on the other hand, is all about family-friendly value. Not surprising considering the eatery got its start 30 years ago when Terry was trying to figure out a way to entice his Gaslight actors into two shows a night. Pizza was his answer. But after a few weeks of running across the street to Pizza Hut, he figured it’d be cheaper to buy his own oven. And another business was born.
“It’s all about serving reasonably priced food and buying the best ingredients,” Terry says. “We’re not a trendy pizza store; we’re not a designer pizza. Never have been.”
Grandma Tony’s is known for its $10 pickup special, an extra-large, one-topping pie. For an extra $2.95, you can get an extra large with unlimited toppings.
The championship may be over, but no one is resting on his anchovies.
“I am going to keep making pizzas six days a week, like I have been, and we’ll keep doing it with integrity and passion, like we have been,” Raetzman said.
Terry’s sentiments echoed those of his fellow Centurion and competitor.
“We’ve got to make sure that we stay on top of our game and make sure that our product is the best we can do every day,” he said. “The expectation is high.”