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Editor’s Note: Last year, Michael and Nicole Borrell began reviewing Lebanon Valley’s restaurants and eating attractions as the Lebanon Valley Food Critics. Since then, the couple has aimed to offer unbiased reviews of the eating and drinking establishments the Lebanon Valley has to offer. LebTown is pleased to be partnering with LVFC to share these reviews with our readers. Bon appétit!

Welcome to the first season of our highly anticipated Lebanon Valley Pizza Wars. Eight entrants from four regions of the Valley will compete, bracket style, to be declared the winner of Best Pizza in The Valley.

Our judgement will be based upon several factors including style of specialty slice, sauce, crust, and overall impression.

We continue the first round over in the East Region pitting Justino’s Pizza in Newmanstown against Bella Pizza in Richland.

At Justino’s, we had a choice between a variety of different pie options. Today, there were no individual slice options, so we opted for the Justino’s Special, pepperoni, sausage, meatball, mushroom, peppers and onion. This pie came loaded with toppings, including a colorful array of peppers. This thin crust pie was crispy from center to edge. The sauce had a subtle flavor to it.

During our visit to Bella, we also noticed they have an expansive specialty pie menu. But for today, they had a couple specialty slices available, chicken bacon ranch, and the Grandma pizza. The chicken bacon ranch looked good but came across as bland for this critic. But the Grandma pizza, a Sicilian slice featuring grandmas special sauce, oregano, basil, parm, and mozzarella cheese – on the first bite, this zesty pie is a flavor burst, none like this critic has had in the Valley before. It’s an amazing slice, but would a whole pie with this sauce be too much?

The winner: This was yet another tough round to choose. We have found some great pizza here in our first season. The amount and quality of ingredients against a unique sauce that intrigued us. For this matchup, we have selected Bella Pizza as our winner from the East Region!

Bella Pizza will go up against the winner of the North Region, Pizza Town 1, in the second round.

We have one more match in our first round, Angelo’s Pizza in Iona vs. CC’s Pizza in Quentin.

If you have a restaurant you would like us to visit or review, whether a place you like or are nervous to try, please message us on Facebook or email lvfoodcritics@outlook.com and let us know. We thank everyone for the recommendations and the kind words we have received.