COLUMBIA — "Good Morning America" anchor and general correspondent Ron Claiborne devoured slices of the Masterpiece Pizza at Shakespeare’s Pizza on Monday.
“Excellent. Really, really good,” Claiborne said after a few bites.
Shakespeare’s Pizza is nominated for "Good Morning America’s" "Best Bites: College Edition" competition. About 100 nominations came from viewers, Claiborne said. The show producers then narrowed the selection down to 20, and Claiborne and production coordinator Kate Santichen chose the top four.
Good Morning America will air the segment during its Saturday morning show, which starts at 7 a.m. Central Standard Time. Viewers will have until 6 p.m. to vote. The winner will be announced Sunday, but it will not receive a prize, Claiborne said.
“Ron insisted he didn’t want to do a pizza place, but we really liked the essay for this place,” Santichen said.
Nominations were via submitted essays, and an unknown essay writer pushed Shakespeare's into the running. The anonymous author said it has great prices and portions and the Masterpiece pizza is a standout, Santichen recalled.
As he sat with Claiborne, Shakespeare's manager Kurt Mirtsching said the difference from the other pizzas is the use of provolone cheese instead of mozzarella, a heavy portion of vegetables, a thick crust, and the avoidance of too much cheese and grease.
Shakespeare’s is competing against Sandwich University in Morgantown, W.Va., Ol Stuga in Lindsborg, Kan., and The Camellia Grill in New Orleans, Claiborne said. He went to Sandwich University and enjoyed its signature dish, the Fat Doboy, a cheese steak with chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and bacon. Ol Stuga, which offers Scandinavian food, is the next visit, Claiborne said.
Atmosphere is the other qualifier for "Best Bites: College Edition," Claiborne said.
“People always seem to have some kind of memory stuck with this place,” Shakespeare's employee Andrew Weir said.