The best pizza in town

Audra Gamble

On April 7, the Niemeyer Honors College multipurpose room was full of a smell near and dear to all college students’ hearts: pizza.

The Italian club at Grand Valley State University known as Il Geranio hosted its first ever event that was open to those outside of their club called “Mangia! Mangia!”

The event was a tasting contest to see which of three local pizzerias had the best-tasting pizza in town.

The three pizzerias in the competition were Uccello’s, Peppino’s and Fratelli’s. Uccello’s and Fratelli’s donated 10 pizzas each, and Peppino’s donated one.

Each attendee of the event paid $2 and was able to taste as much pizza as they desired. Before they left, however, they had to vote for which pizza they liked best.

The Italian club also provided coffee, biscotti and soda.

The club has recently started to expand and gain more members, and member Ashley Webb said the idea for the event came naturally.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What do American college students think of when they hear the adjective ‘Italian’?’ Our answer was pizza,” Webb said. “From there, the idea of a best pizza competition evolved.”

The clear winner of the evening was Fratelli’s with 13 of the 19 votes casted. Uccello’s was second with six votes, and Peppino’s received no votes.

While the evening was mostly about pizza, the Italian club shared some of its Italian culture with the participants.

After the pizza had been eaten, the club taught participants how to dance the Tarantella, a dance traditionally done at weddings.

Though the club has fewer than 20 members, they enjoy the opportunity to learn about and celebrate Italian culture and language outside of the classroom.

“Being able to come together and celebrate Italian culture is such a privilege, especially since we carry a two-year Italian language program,” club member Alicia Saragosa said. “It’s priceless promotion for the preservation of our language and culture.”

While the club consists of mostly American students who wish to experience Italian culture, there are a few international students in the group.

For Alonso Pareja, an Italian student, the club is “a special place from Italy, in Allendale.”

For those interested in attending the Italian club’s meetings, they are held every Tuesday from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Kirkhof room 1247. However, those details may change in the next weeks, due to final exam schedules. For the most current details from the Italian club, find them on Facebook at or on Twitter @IlGeranio.