, the iconic pizza chain which started in Capitola, is now the best pizza in the world! Pizza My Heart took top honors in the International Pizza Competition in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday, March 15, becoming the first American pizza to ever win the prize since the contest’s inception in 2008.
Previously, the “Best Traditional Pizza” award has been won exclusively by Italians, but the surf-loving Pizza My Heart has brought the bragging rights home to Santa Cruz County.
Earlier this week, Pizza My Heart was named Best in the West, which qualified them to compete for world’s best in the International Pizza Competition.
The competition required chefs to use only two toppings from a list of nine traditional pizza toppings. Pizza My Heart Chef Leah Scurto and Regional Manager Tim Silva went with a pepperoni mushroom pizza. A panel of judges, including Celebrity Chef Elizabeth Falkner, the Iron Chef and Citizen Cake fame, scored the pizzas on crust, sauce, cheese, toppings and overall taste.
Chuck Hammers, owner of Pizza My Heart (but whose business card title is “The Big Cheese”) said the win is thrilling for him and all of his employees.
“We’ve always believed our recipe was the best out there and we’ve worked hard to put the best ingredients into our pizzas, so this win is incredibly gratifying," he said. "How cool is it that a pizza that started in Santa Cruz beat out pizzas from Naples, Verona, New York, Canada and beyond?”
Pizza My Heart first opened in Capitola in 1981. There are now 21 locations around the Bay Area and Monterey.
--Contributed by Pizza My Heart