Contact: Nick Bogacz

Caliente Pizza & Draft House

4624 Liberty Ave.

Pittsburgh, Pa 15224


Phone: (412) 818-3402

3rd April 2017 

Caliente Pizza takes trio of prizes at worldwide pizza event

Three chefs win big at 2017 International Pizza Expo; chef Matt Hickey wins skills competition, now the 2017 World Champion for largest dough stretch

Las Vegas, April 1, 2017:

Caliente Pizza and Draft House, with three Pittsburgh area locations at 4624 Liberty Ave in Bloomfield, and 4706 William Flynn Hwy in Allison Park, and 329 Castle Shannon Blvd in Mount Lebanon, had three pizza chefs win prizes at the 2017 International Pizza Expo.

Chefs Eric Von Hansen and Nick Fink earned first place in the Northeast division for pizza making, while chef Matt Hickey bested 30 international competitors to claim the World Pizza Games Gold Medal for “largest dough stretch.”

“I knew I had it in the prelim,” Hickey, 29, said after he watched 28 of 30 competitors stretch dough before his preliminary round attempt. “In the final, [my stretch] was not quite as long so it was a little bit more tense because I saw the competitor, and I thought he had it. It was a nail-biter.”

The best five advanced to the finals where they had five minutes to stretch an 18 ounce dough ball on stage before it was measured. Hickey’s winning stretch measured approximately 103 centimeters.

“He uses his arms, shoulders, anything he can to stretch it,” said Caliente Pizza owner, Nick Bogacz. “It looks like a big blanket when he’s done.”

Bogacz said Hickey practiced everyday for the six months on a competition dough ball he made himself, dough that uses honey instead of sugar for elasticity. Along with the gold medal, Hickey won $1,000.

“Matt worked hard all year long. He made the dough from scratch each time, and he put his heart and soul into that competition,” said Caliente regional chef Von Hansen, who’s no stranger to taking top prizes from the expo. Von Hansen’s “Quack Attack” pizza won 2016’s Best Pan Pizza in the world.

Von Hansen didn’t enter “Quack Attack” into this year’s competition even though he could have, saying his motivations are more about building Caliente’s menu range. He did win the Northeast division for Best Non-traditional with his “Hanger 18” featuring hanger steak roasted in garlic and honey chive butter, caramelized onion broccolini and topped with Boursin and parmesan cheese.

Von Hansen’s protege, Fink, won first place in the Northeast division for Best Traditional category for his “Classico” creation. The traditional category allows use of only two ingredients. Fink used 10 different kind of peppers that he charcoal roasted and three kinds of sausage.

Fink’s pie was voted best of 60 entries in the Northeast division and each entry is graded on taste and visual appearance. For Fink, 21 and an Army reservist, the win capped a 3-year ascension at Caliente and working under Von Hansen.

“It was a huge deal for us. I know [Bogacz] was really excited and he was really excited for what we did.” Fink said he only learned of the win the day after the competition when it was posted at the expo’s main hall.

The other divisions include Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, Midwest and international.

About Caliente

Caliente Pizza and Draft House is Pittsburgh’s premier spot for award winning pizza, drafts and wings. Caliente is proud to support the craft beer revolution in Pittsburgh and features local and hard to find beer from around the world. Caliente prides itself on using fresh and locally sourced ingredients “Fresh From Pittsburgh’s Little Italy.” Caliente’s pizza dough and sauce is prepared daily from scratch. All meats and vegetables are hand-sliced. More information about Caliente Pizza and Draft House can be found by visiting PizzaDraftHouse.com.

About the 2017 International Pizza Expo

The expo started in 1985 and has grown to welcome more nearly 7,400 attendees representing nearly 500 companies from around the world. 2017 was the largest validated attendance to date. Features business-to-business trade show that puts buyers who are owners and managers of independent and chain pizza restaurants in touch with manufacturers and service providers to the industry. Annual competitions at Pizza Expo include: International Pizza Challenge (bake-offs before judges in five divisions, with Pizza Maker of the Year finals); World Pizza Games (skills competition in five divisions). Approximately 90 keynote addresses, seminars, panel discussions and pizzeria menu demonstrations take place during the event. More information: PizzaExpo.com.

For Immediate Release