FRIDAY, APRIL 1: FINAL FOUR >>>
And then there were four ...
Believe it or not, fine readers, there have been days during the Tournament of Pizza when, by noon or so, it was already obvious which pizza joints would be moving on and which would be going home. There were blowouts ...oh were there ever. Sometimes, it made our job a little easier; we could work on the next day's copy at a decent hour of the evening without fear the game would suddenly turn.
Oh, but yesterday was different. Yesterday, the votes just kept coming - from tipoff to the final buzzer. And each of the four contests stayed close. First we topped a thousand votes - dead heats. Then two - still neck and neck. Then three - are you kidding?
By the time we got to four thousand votes you'd think a pattern would have developed - obvious favorites would have emerged. But it was not to be. Our Weekly Volcano Tournament of Pizza vote counters were up late last night tallying the results - which weren't settled for good until the very end.
Yesterday played out just like you'd expect the Tournament of Pizza "Baked Eight" to. Here's a look at the results and today's highly anticipated Final Four matchups.
Apollo's Pizza & Pasta vs. Casa Mia Italian Restaurant
After mounting quite a tear through the Tournament of Pizza, a tear that - quite honestly - many weren't prepared for (apparently taking the award-winning history for granted) Casa Mia's run came to a halt when it faced Apollo's Pizza & Pasta yesterday, the newly crowned champion of the Tournament of Pizza South Region. Apollo's moves on to the Tournament of Pizza Final Four, taking the pride that comes along with making it further than any other Olympia or Lacey pizza establishment with it.
Katie Downs Waterfront Restaurant vs. Upper Crust Bistro & Bakery
Katie Downs has made a lot of friends in its nearly 30 year history on the Ruston Waterfront. And its pizza has pleased many a belly. Yesterday, the Tacoma destination for stiff drinks and massive pies needed all of those friends and pleased bellies to take down Upper Crust, one of the Tournament of Pizza's more surprising stories. Who would have thought the Northend Tacoma spot known for high brow pies and, at least on our visit last week, $5 glasses of red wine to prime the voters would have advanced all the way to the Baked Eight? That's exactly what happened, but yesterday's Katie Downs gained the upper hand after an intense battle - moving onto the Final Four to face Rollies.
Rollies Tavern vs. Trackside Pizza
When first discussing the Tournament of Pizza, in editorial meetings that seem like they were many moons ago, Rollies Tavern was mentioned almost immediately. It's got a following, and everyone knows it. Rollies pizza quickly comes to the lips of many when discussing the best South Sound pizzas. The bar frequented by military types and pie-lovers alike has fared well so far in the Tournament of Pizza, and yesterday - despite being locked in one hell of a close game all day long - Rollies again prevailed, taking down the much loved Puyallup institution that is Trackside. Neither competitor has anything to be ashamed of as they both mounted impressive runs. That said, Rollies moves on to the Final Four, while Trackside begrudgingly goes home.
Delbrocco's Pizza, Steak and Hoagie vs. The Fan Club Sports Bar
If there's one pizza joint that can play the "us against the world," "we don't get the respect we deserve," card - it's undoubtedly Delbrocco's Pizza, Steak and Hoagies. The Philly-style, T-Town pizza spot has killed it so far in the Tournament of Pizza, to the surprise of many.
That said, most prognosticators still assumed Delbrocco's would go down when facing might Fan Club of Lakewood. Surely, the Fan Club would have too much fire power for Delbrocco's, right?
Well, yes, but it took every minute of voting, and every ounce of possible effort on the part of the Fan Club to get the job done. In what was easily one of the closest, most exciting contests to track of the entire tournament - even considering "tracking" the game basically meant watching votes come in - the Fan Club eventually emerged victorious, scraping out 51 percent of the vote on a day when more than 4,600 chimed in.
Sponsored by al Forno Ferruzza Traditional Sicilian Cuisine
OK, time to move on to today's pizza battles. Vote for one pizza joint per battle, then scroll to the bottom and click "Done." Only one vote per person. Any duplicate or Spam responses will be disqualified.
Monday's Pizza Battle: The Final
After today's voting, there will be two South Sound pizza joints left in the Tournament of Pizza. Jump on Spew tomorrow to find out which two pizza joints will be battling it out Monday, April 4.