Get ready for a contest for New Jersey’s tastiest bowl, the pizza bowl.

Starting Dec. 1, the 63,000 members of the Jersey Pizza Joints, or JPJ, Facebook group will begin their search for the best pizza in the state. This is no easy feat as there are over 2,200 pizzerias to choose from.

The top 16 pizza picks, four from each part of the state — North, Central, South and Coast — will compete for the best in the state at the Pizza Bowl Championship on February 4 in the Meadowlands.

“There are tons of rankings and lists of best pizza,” said Guy Madsen, a Clifton resident and founder of the JPJ Group. “This is the only contest that ends with live baking and voting.”

Much like college championships on the gridiron, the top contenders for the Pizza Bowl have perennial favorites.

In North Jersey, favorites were Patsy’s in Patterson, Calabria’s in Livingston and Santillo’s in Elizabeth.

In the Shore region, or south of the Raritan River, favorites include The Galley in Asbury Park and Maruca’s Tomato Pies in Seaside Heights. who won the 2022 Pizza Bowl.

Central Jersey has Papa’s Tomato Pies in Robbinsville, and South Jersey has Lillo’s Tomato Pies in Haynesport, which are impressing in the 2022 competition.

“There are a number of underrated places like Kinchley’s and Federici’s of Freehold,” Madsen said, adding that they made it to the upper echelons of the competition but didn’t make it to the final fabulous four of their region.

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There are some underdogs looking to unseat some of these perennial favorites.

One such underdog, at least for New Jersey pizza lovers, is Pizza Terminal in Verona, which opened in 2013 and came out of nowhere to win the inaugural Pizza Bowl in 2021.

Its owner Scott Rafferty said winning the competition was a huge advantage for the business. He said winning the first Pizza Bowl literally put his store on the map.

“I’ve had people come from Cherry Hill, Albany and even California saying they want to try our number one pie,” Rafferty told and The Record. “Sometimes I have people waiting to come in when I open.”

When voting begins, contestants aim to narrow down to the top 32 on December 15-16, the top 16 on December 22, the top eight on December 29 and the “Fabulous Four” by New Year’s. Eva.

“There are some new places, Grumpy’s Eat Big in Saddle Brook or Vinnie’s Pan Pizza of Millburn, that might surprise,” Madsen said.

The final round will again be held at Redd’s Biergarten in Rutherford. Area favorites both JPJ Star Tavern and Papa’s Tomato Pies were unable to attend the bake-off.

Papa’s is essentially a one-man operation, Madsen said. “It doesn’t have the luxury of closing on a Saturday afternoon.”

At the same event, the best patty of the state will be determined. JPJ is now counting the finalists.

Anyone can vote after December 1.

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