Hungry pizza lovers started lining up at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Niles West High School gym for Pizza Wars 4--a pie lover's dream.
Ten pizzerias set up shop at tables, and hundreds of people lined up to get samples from each. Then, they voted for their favorites in the annual contest for the title of "Best Pizza."
The pizzerias donated the pies, and patrons paid an entrance fee of $10 to $15, which went to the Niles Township High School D219 Educational Foundation, which provides school supplies, breakfast and other expenses to help needy students.
At the end of the night, Pizza Wars 4 Emcee Mark Collins declared Village Inn the winner, based on the number of ballots cast for them.
That made a repeat, since Village Inn was last year's winner, too.
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"It's good sauce, and it's good cheese," said William Gold, Village Inn manager, to explain the pie's popularity, as he was texting owner Randy Miles to tell him the good news.
D219 Educational Foundation President Alyse Burman said she expected to have final figures on attendance and proceeds tallied by next week.
Participating pizzerias included: include Lou Malnati’s, Barnaby’s,Father & Son Italian Kitchen, Giordano’s, Gulliver’s, Jet’s Pizza, OrganicLife, Papa John’s, Village Inn, and Wa-pa-ghetti’s.
Approximately three out of every ten District 219 students qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program, which foundation representatives say demonstrates the need for it. It's a number that has grown dramatically since the foundation was formed. Since 2007, the foundation has awarded more than $135,000 in grants in the form of graphing calculators, refurbished computers, AP testing, college entrance exams, community college scholarships, and college campus bus tours for students who may not have considered higher education until their visit. More recently, the foundation has also been providing school supplies and breakfast bars to students in need.
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Other which are helping the Foundation include: CostCo Niles,Evanston Subaru, Fear City, Heartland Law Firm, Illinois State Representative Lou Lang, North Shore Community Bank, Scentsy, Sport Clips, the Tennes Family, Diana & Edwin Vdovets, and the Niles Township Federation of Teachers D219 as “Extra Cheese and Sausage” sponsors, AAA Insurance, Skokie Caucus Party, the Lorge Family, and the Niles Townships Support Staff D219 as “Cheese Only” sponsors, and First Bank & Trust as “The Works” sponsor. Please visit the District 219 website at www.219foundation.org for more information or to purchase tickets for Pizza Wars 4.