Lenny Rago Takes Home 1st Place for Panino’s Pizza at Pizza Pizzazz!

Up against 39 other contestants, U.S. Pizza Team member Lenny Rago of Chicago’s Panino’s Pizza took home the $5,000 first place grand prize yesterday with his “Hog Heaven” pizza at the Pizza Pizzazz Culinary Competition.

Held during the Mid-America Restaurant Expo in Columbus, Ohio, the Pizza Pizzazz contest invites 40 pizzeria operators to bring their best pizza recipes and battle it out in a blind taste test.

After first-round judging, six finalists prepare two additional pizzas for a final judging that decides first ($5,000), second ($1,000) and third place ($500) finishers.

Second place went to U.S. Pizza Team member Kyle Rosch of Brenz Pizza in Chapel Hill, N.C., and third place was taken home by Craig Allenbaugh of Sauced Wood Fired Pizza in Fairview Park, Ohio.

Brian Hernandez

Brian Hernandez