Carnival O’ Pizza 2012 Wrap Up!

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by robhomeslice on December 4, 2012

The 7th Annual Carnival O’ Pizza has come and gone, and as usual we packed just about as much fun as we could possibly have into 7 hours.  There were contests, games, dancers, marching bands, artists, countless activities, and of course…. PIZZA!!  While just about everyone who came through the midway had the pleasure of enjoying a slice or two, there were a handful of folks who got just a little bit more full than the rest.

eating contest

Contestants begin their quest to win free pizza for a year.

The Extreme Pizza Eating contest proved to be just as heated and disgusting as usual, and in a twist of fate, we actually had our very first tie!

Yes, history was made as Chris “Chompy” Floyd and Randy Harrison consumed exactly the same amount (almost 2 large pizzas) in 30 minutes, resulting in both guys receiving the sweet reward of free pizza for a year!  This is Randy’s second consecutive victory, and an incredible 5th title for Chompy!!

Co Champ Chris Floyd celebrates

Co Champ Chris ” Chompy” Floyd celebrates

In a slightly less slobbery spectacle, pizza makers from local pizzerias squared off against our kitchen crew in challenges to throw not only the largest pizzas, but to make pizzas as quickly as possible.  Taking the cake (ahem… pie) in this year’s size competition was Sergio from Austin’s Little Deli throwing a pie that was an incredible 38.5 inches in diameter, way to go Sergio!!  In the blinding speed competition, Rockland from Austin’s Mellow Mushroom took down his competitors throwing 3 pies in an incredible 58 seconds!

tossing contest

The Dough Contest heats up as Colby from Mellow Mushroom and Wilver from Home Slice square off.

As the evening cooled down, the competition heated up as the masters of endurance in our Hands on an Eggplant Sub (HOES) contest powered through the day.  People came and went, bands played, dough was thrown, massive amounts of pizza was consumed, and the constant throughout the entire day was a small group of die-hards holding onto a 3-foot eggplant sub for dear life.  In a shorter contest than years past, Chad Garyet took home the title as the last person standing after just over 16 hours.  Chad is the proud recipient of a year’s worth of free pies, and has quickly become Home Slice’s most eligible dinner mate.

HOES in full battle

HOES in full battle

The finale of the day was our grand prize raffle drawing.  Among countless prizes raffled throughout the day, one lucky person became the most eligible dinner mate (sorry, Chad forgot you have a girlfriend) at Home Slice.  Pacifico Gouge became the only person on earth who can make a reservation at Home Slice this year.  Unfortunately, kids, we can’t share his digits with you, but if you see him out and about, you may want to buy him a drink or something.

reservations winner

Pacifico Gouge receives the grand prize, being crowned the sole person who can make reservations at Home Slice.

While we crowned many champions at the Carnival, the real winners of the day were the kids supported by our awesome charity, Austin Bat Cave.  We are so proud to say that the Carnival O’ Pizza raised 19,000 dollars to help this incredible organization.  The efforts put forth by the ABC team to help kids are mind-blowing, and we are truly honored to play a small role in the wonderful things that they do.

fun now bat cave

Austin Bat Cave is a non-profit organization that provides creative writing opportunities for youngsters in Austin.

Of course, the Carnival would never be possible without our sponsors:

StagLogo   dublinbottlingworks-1  uship-logo-colorGCO-000-CMYK-bl-rd   mcjlogo   RABC

And most importantly, none of this happens without all of you, and your incredible dedication to Home Slice and your community.  We are sincerely humbled and grateful beyond words to serve you.  Until next year, keep your parm shakers high and your wine glasses full!!!!


Photos c/o Amanda Elmore of Girlskill.


HOES Fundraising Pages!

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by robhomeslice on November 9, 2012

As an effort to raise more money online for our awesome charity Austin Bat Cave, we have started an online fundraising campaign for our Hands on an Eggplant Sub contestants. Check out their pages, send them some love, and keep up with their progress!

Chad’s Page!!
Online fundraising for Chad Garyet's Hands on an Eggplant Sub Contest Page!

Fresa’s Big Chicken’s Page!!
Online fundraising for Fresa's Big Chicken Hands on an Eggplant Sub Contest Page!

Big Chicken is competing courtesy of our Homies at Fresa’s Chicken!

Pradel’s Page!!
Online fundraising for Pradel Bonnet's Hands on an Eggplant Sub Contest Page!
Pradel is competing courtesy of our Homies at Bird’s Barbershop!

Teajay’s Page!!
Online fundraising for Teajay Pierce's Hands on an Eggplant Sub Contest Page!

Teajay is competing courtesy of our Homies at Bird’s Barbershop!

Zarina’s Page!!
Online fundraising for Zarina's Hands on an Eggplant Sub Contest Page!

Zarina is competing courtesy of our Homies at Austin Motel!

Philly Sits Down with Chad Garyet, HOES Contestant Past and Present

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by robhomeslice on November 8, 2012

I met with Chad Garyet and his girlfriend Nagisa Takahashi on last Wednesday at Home Slice. I met Chad for the first time at the 2010 Hands On a Eggplant Sub Contest, where he placed 3rd.  We went out to the back patio and discussed his participation in the 2010 Carnival, and his intentions to take the title on this upcoming Carnival 2012.

Chad places his hands on the giant sub in 2010.

Phil: Can you recall your fondest memory from the 2010 Carnival O Pizza?

Chad:  There are two, really. The first was when my Mom brought Battleship.  I played anyone. I played my Mom, my Dad, the other competitors. Everyone.

Phil: Nice. What’s the other memory?

Chad: It was that second morning you came by to watch over us from 4:00 AM – 6:00 AM and brought your guitar. It was really fun. You told us all those war stories from when you were a bartender in New York. Like the time you set yourself on fire…

Phil: Those were good times. Hanging out with you guys. Not so much the setting myself on fire part. Any moments of craziness in your time with the hand on the sub?

Chad:  Midnight of Sunday. This woman came by with a yappy little dog. You know, one of those tiny yap-yap-yap dogs. So there we are, where we’ve been for about 30 hours at that point, and up comes the woman with the dog. I pet the dog. So there I am, one hand in the sub and one hand petting this woman’s yappy dog and up comes this big German shepherd.  The German shepherd starts barking at the yappy dog. The yappy dog starts freaking out. The German shepherd starts lunging for the yappy dog. And there I am in the middle of it with one hand on the dog, and one hand on the sub.

Phil: How about a moment of clarity?

Chad: It was when I knew I wasn’t going to win. It was down to the three of us: me, Sonia, and Lauren. It was right after the point Lauren started feeling sick. She went white. I mean, WHITE. I thought for sure she was done for. But no. Lauren just kept on. Stoic.  I realized then and there I wasn’t going to beat her; and I realized second gets nothing better than third. I mean, I’d already won the bottle of wine for raising the most money. And I was staring at the tip jar. I kept thinking that I’d done enough, competed long enough. It kind of felt that taking second and losing was less honorable than walking away with third place on my own volition.  It was like a tactical move.

Phil: Any advice you want to give this year’s crop of competitors.

Chad: I’m going to compete this year so I’m going to have to take the fifth.
Chad and I talk off record regarding some alterations he’s making to his approach this year. He’s been busy thinking about this, people.

Phil: Can you tell us anything about preparation?

Chad: I’m going to stay off my feet until the last minute. Also, I’m not coming to the event until the last minute. Last time around I got to the Carnival right when it started @ noon. The competition didn’t start until 5:00. That was five extra hours of standing I didn’t need to do. The Carnival was really fun; don’t get me wrong. But I’m in it to win and I’m not doing any extra standing this year. I’m also going to stay up late and wake up maybe an hour before the competition. The sleep thing is a pretty big deal.

Phil: What about footwear?

Chad: I’m not going to tell you about this year (he told me; it’s pretty cool but confidential) but last time it was sandals and bare feet.

Phil: And how’d that work out for you?

Chad: Not a good idea. Not a good idea at all.

Phil: Why is this competition special to you?

Chad: Because before it was just a restaurant, and now I really know what Home Slice is all about, and that’s because I got to know it through that competition. I mean, everyone who works at Home Slice really seems to love it, to love the thing they’re doing. I know people who say it’s just another pizza shop, but they’re wrong. Home Slice is really pretty special.

Chad and his ever-supportive girl friend, Nagisa.

Phil: I gotta say, your support team was pretty impressive.

Chad: Yeah, my parents and friends are really awesome. My Mom spent like 10-15 minutes every day just rubbing my legs. Scott, my high school friend hung out through the entire first night while my parents went home and slept. Scott also took care of Miyaa (Chad’s cat). But that’s fair because I’ve taken care of his cat too.

Phil: Nagisa, are you prepared to stand by and support Chad through all of this?

Nagisa: I can’t drive. But I’ll get a ride from his parents and support him.

Phil: What frightens you in a competitor, Chad?

Chad: Sonia’s huge family for sure. I mean, there were ALWAYS there. Just so much support.  That was pretty intimidating. And Lauren’s stoicism. Her strength and perseverance. I’m pretty sure I’m going to win this year because Lauren isn’t competing.

Phil: What inspires you?

Chad: That same strength and perseverance. It was so amazing when she came back from feeling sick and just stuck with it. It was totally inspiring.

Phil: Even though you took third, do you still consider yourself a H.O.E.?

Chad: Absolutely. I’m infamous at the place I used to work for being that crazy guy who did that crazy thing. When I was doing the competition I started posting a pic an hour on face book. By the end I had tons of people following it, following me. People still look at those pics. People still recognize me from it.  But it’s bigger than that. Being a H.O.E. showed me what I could do, what I was capable of.

Phil: What was it like when you put your hand in the sub?

Chad: It was like cleaning dog poop. Except without the bag that you put your hand in to pick up the poop.  It wasn’t anything worse than I’ve dealt with before, really. And, actually, afterwards my hands were really soft for like a month. Like really nice and soft. People remarked on it.


Meet Tony Villani, Owner of Little Deli and Celebrity Judge Extraordinaire

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by robhomeslice on October 30, 2012

I first met Tony Villani, the owner of Little Deli and Pizza, at the 2011 Carnival O Pizza. Tony came with two of his pizza makers, David and Caesar, both of whom competed in the Pizza Tossing Contests with tenacity and pride and was so inspired by the scene that he ended up writing a check to Austin Bat Cave on the spot. Tony will be one of our celebrity judges for the 2012 contests.  He graciously let me into his kitchen last week, fed me like family, and spoke with me like the friend and comrade in arms that he is.

The inside of the shop is pretty small, maybe 1000 square feet total. There are lines drawn on the door frame of the entry into the kitchen. These lines mark the height of neighborhood children, accompanied by their names and birthdays. The lines begin at two to three feet and reach to the top of the doorframe.  Hundreds of horizontal benchmarks, each telling the story of a family that had come to this shop to celebrate and annotate. As I looked around I saw each table, inside and outside, was occupied. Groups of three, groups of four, couples looking lovingly at each other, families with kids in strollers, young men with pitchers of beer. Everyone happy, everyone with food at their fingertips, it doesn’t get any better than that.

I went into the kitchen where there are a couple of tables next to the dried goods and sat down w/ Tony and his right-hand, David. His pizza makers were maybe six feet away, working the Marsal oven like they were born to do it. His sandwich makers were maybe 10 feet away in another direction, knocking out these amazing subs that are packed with some of the finest fresh cut meats I’ve seen in a while.  As each customer passed through the restaurant, they caught Tony’s eye, which sparkled with each customer he saw. He knows them all by name, and with each customer who passed, I could tell they all felt the same thing: Home.

“It’s a hole in the wall,”  Tony told me, “but it’s my five star hole in the wall.”

Tony’s commitment to quality and integrity is pretty amazing. He sources his ingredients from everywhere, never cutting the easy corner to get to the end. He buys what he loves, and why would you buy anything else, really? Tony told me, “When I finally decided to do this thing, to buy a running restaurant and follow my dream I knew I could either work a ‘job’ (he had been working at Dell) or do what I love.” He’s right; it’s kind of a no-brainer.

He’d been putting things into his “My Dream Restaurant” file folder since he was 18, growing up on the Jersey Shore in  Seaside Park, which is spitting distance from Seaside Heights (“Jersey Shore” filming location).  Tony worked the boardwalk as a kid, and what he wanted more than anything, all these years later, was to open a legit Jersey Shore Pizzeria. His “My Dream Restaurant” file had grown to be over two inches thick some eight years ago, before he even knew that the original Little Deli Owners (Jonathon and Lucretia) were interested in selling.

Tony grew up on his Grandmother’s cooking. She is, I suspect, exactly the Italian grandmother you are picturing.  The little woman who puts out a mountain of amazing food made from simple ingredients every Sunday, with an extra platter of pork chops just in case someone is still hungry.  He knew that was something he wanted to be associated with, something he could be proud to do.

“If you wake up in the morning, roll over, and say to your wife, ‘I know how we can make a lot of money,’ “ he told me, “this is the wrong business for you”.

Marie Villani, the owner’s grandmother

That mentality comes from Grandma’s cooking. If you are interested in making food to show off, Italian cooking isn’t going to satisfy you. If you are interested in bringing people together, sharing and loving and being family – then you are doing something worthwhile. The food is an expression of the love, passion, and commitment to family and community. The quality of ingredients and the care of preparation shout that from the mountaintops.

As we’re sitting in the back room we get a pizza delivered to the little four top nestled a foot away from the walk in cooler.  The crust on this pizza is OUT OF SIGHT, the crunch is legit, and the flavor on the dough is deep and intricate. As I look around his tiny kitchen I see two “bigga” starters he has working for the next day’s dough. A bigga is a kind of bread sponge that is made hours in advance of the actual dough. It is a painstaking and tedious process that most people in the business discard as being antiquated and useless. Not Tony.  This is what gives his dough that depth. Sure, it’s hard; but why would you do it any other way?

As we eat his delicious pizza, (which is followed by an mind blowing gyro with a home made tzatziki sauce and a side of their home made “Hot G” hot garlic sauce) we talk about the kind of work we do in the pizza and deli world.  We talk about how we have noticed that hoity-toity “culinary trained” chefs tend to think of the thing we do as sort of low-brow and disposable, at which we both have a laugh.  As Tony says, “I may be a Chihuahua, but I think like a pit bull”. Sure, neither of us have a bag of knives (and we certainly have respect for those cats that do), but for us it comes down to what the shop can do, not what we individually can do. When talking about his shop, he is never really talking about himself but the thing that’s bigger – his crew, his community. He sums it up perfectly in one sentence, “There’s something special here”.

Tony is an admitted Pizza fanatic.  He started working on his recipe in his house on Wednesday nights, years ago before he had a shop.  While he’d worked in restaurants for years, knew grill, knew fry, he didn’t know dough.  Although he didn’t know how to bake, he knew he wanted to.  He wanted to know how dough was supposed to feel.  Like how a grandmother makes dough without a recipe or a cookbook.  There’s a phrase for it: Salt of the Hand.  Tony wanted to be that grandmother, wanted his hand to have that salt, so he started cooking for a couple of friends at his house.

“You bring the beer, you bring the ingredients,” he told a couple of close friends, “and I’ll make the pizza”.

Within six months there were 25 people showing up to his house on a Wednesday night. He made pizzas on screens, pans, and pans with holes on them. And then he cooked on stone. There was no turning back from there.

He was cooking in a convection oven that just wouldn’t get hot enough. He figured out he could fake out the oven by turning it to the “CLEAN” setting and then killing the cycle half way in. This got his oven hotter than the oven thought it could be.  With this he was able to get closer and closer to the kind of pizza he wanted, that Jersey Shore pizza he had grown up with when he was eating his Grandmother’s endless supply of Sunday dinners.

It was his neighbors, Jonathon and Lucretia, who were the original owners of Little Deli. They had a buyer in line when he found out they were letting the restaurant go.  They hadn’t asked Tony if he was interested in buying them out because he wanted a pizza shop, not  a sandwich shop.  Time passed, the buyer fell by the wayside, and Tony was in line to pick up the space.

He lost 20% of the clientele when he took over, despite not changing anything for two years.  And then he found a way to put a pizza oven into his tiny 1000 square foot shop.

He moved walls, sacrificed seating, did everything he could do, and in the end brought his vision to fruition. This is Tony’s way…  He is that guy. It’s like his “flat grill”, which is actually an 18” Panini press. Regardless, he’s kicking out Philly Cheese Steaks w/ provolone not to mention the gyro that is seriously better than any other gyro I’ve ever had. He’s cooking in a tiny space, but with wide vision.  More importantly, he expands his menu to his taste, his love, and not to his seeming limitations. Honestly, it’s a kind of crazy person who looks at a Panini press and believes it will be a working flat grill. Crazy like a fox.

When we talk about sauce, or “gravy” as Tony’s grandma might call it, Tony’s truest self comes alive.  He talks about the quality of tomatoes, and the integrity of the people he gets them from.  He loves how they rotate their crops in the blends and the honest simplicity of ingredients.  “Simple is the best.  Consistency is everything”. While he had made sauce in every way possible he finally settled on a basic sauce that isn’t heated until it hits the oven with the pizza, due to the carmelization that occurs upon heating. Too much carmelization, and the sauce can be too sweet.  No matter what, though, the sauce has to sit for a full day before it’s good to serve, which allows the spices have time to mix and marinade. Sure, you have to wait; but honestly, what’s the rush?

And that’s the thing about Tony, and about Tony’s shop: each thing in there has a kind of care behind it that belies respect.  It takes time and patience to cut prosciutto razor thin, to make a bigga for dough, to make a “My Dream Restaurant” file folder two inches thick, to grow a shop into the place that a community depends upon and thrives with.

While Tony talks fast and still carries a definite Jersey Boardwalk energy, he is in no rush other than to make someone happy, make them feel at home, make them feel welcome, like they are sitting at his Grandmother’s table.  I am truly grateful that he sat me down inside of his shop and let me feel what that is like. I am blown away by the kind of deep knowledge he carries about dough. He definitely has the salt of the hand, and I am deeply, deeply honored that he has agreed to be a judge at this year’s Carnival O Pizza. I can’t wait for you to meet him.


2011 Eating Contest Coverage

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by Joseph on April 4, 2012

Chompy Chews Away. Photo by Michael Thad Carter.


American Way magazine’s February issue has a nice write up on the 2011 eating contest from the Carnival O Pizza.  4 time winner Chris Floyd was back to attempt to take back his title from Porkchop Chedsey, but neither went home the champion.

Prizes for Gigantic Raffle and (Mostly) Silent Auction Announced

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by Joseph on November 11, 2011

Yo yo yo, check out this sick list of stuff you can win at the Carnival O Pizza on Saturday November 19.  And don’t forget, raffle tickets are on sale now for $5 each at Home Slice Pizza.  Buy as many as you like.  All proceeds from the raffle and the silent auction go to Austin Bat Cave.

(Mostly) Silent Auction

The (Mostly) Silent Auction runs from 7-9pm during performances by Crooks and Residual Kid.  Here are some of the items you’ll be able to bid on if you get yourself down there:

  • Home Slice will fly you and a friend to San Francisco to have lunch with Dave Eggers.  Yes, really.  Includes lunch, one night hotel stay and incidentals on us.
  • Literary giant George Saunders will read/edit your story, give you notes on it and discuss in a follow up phone call.
  • Your own private version of The Story Department at your house on a weekend.  You choose the theme and Austin Bat Cave will find the storytellers.
  • and much more.

The Gigantic Raffle

Prizes will be raffled off every 15 minutes throughout the Carnival from noon – 6. as part of The Gigantic Raffle.  The Grand Prize drawing will take place at 6:00.   Note that you gotta be present to win the grand prizes.

Grand Prizes

Other businesses donating prizes for the Gigantic Raffle include:

Alamo Drafthouse, Amy’s Ice Cream, Bird’s Barbershop, Blackmail, Great Hills Country Club, Guero’s, Hopdoddy,, Stag, Vespaio and over 50 more.

The Carnival O Pizza is sponsored by our pals over at to Sponsor the Carnival Ya’ll!

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by Joseph on November 8, 2011

We are psyched to announce our title sponsor for the 2011 Carnival O Pizza is Austin’s own  These guys are lending their financial support to the festivities.  With their help (and yours) we should totally be able to exceed our goal of breaking last year’s record and raising over 15k for our deserving charity, Austin Bat Cave.

Full press release to follow.  Stay tuned for tons more exciting announcements this week (there are a few gems below for you careful readers.)

Austin’s partners with Home Slice Pizza to Raise Money for the Austin Bat Cave’s Writing Program for Youth

AUSTIN, Texas – November 2, 2011 – With the holiday shopping season nearly upon us, you’d think that online coupon giant RetailMeNot would have their hands full helping millions of consumers get more for their money. But the local startup jumped at the chance to join forces with Home Slice Pizza to be the lead sponsor and host the 6th annual Carnival O Pizza, the proceeds from which will go to support the Austin Bat Cave, inspired provider of creative and expository writing programs for kids aged 8-18.

“As we continue to grow our business as the largest online coupon marketplace in the world right here in Austin, we’re committed to supporting the needs of our community and local businesses that enable us to be a local success story” said Cotter Cunningham, CEO of WhaleShark Media, parent of “We are pleased to sponsor the Carnival and support a charity like the Austin Bat Cave and hope our neighbors will stop by our booth and learn more about our company.  We encourage local businesses to post their coupons to our site for free; and we are always looking for local talent to join our organization.”

“We’re super excited about the Carnival and our partnership with  In fact we’ve already begun raising money by selling raffle tickets in our stores.” says Home Slice co-owner and Austin Bat Cave board member Jen Strickland.  “This money is going directly toward programs that help kids improve their writing skills and publishes their personal stories, which creates so much satisfaction and self esteem. It really opens a doorway into a better life.”

The Carnival is at once a celebration of the art of hand tossed pizza, a sixth birthday party for the restaurant, and a charitable endeavor intended to give back to the community that has made Home Slice one of Austin’s favorite eateries. The event, which takes place Saturday, November 19, 2011 in the parking lot between Home Slice Pizza and More Home Slice, will feature wacky pizza themed contests, carnival games, entertainment, and many chances to win amazing prizes via both a raffle and a silent auction.  All proceeds directly benefit the Austin Bat Cave.

Highlights of the event include:

  • Pizza Eating Contest in which 10 carefully chosen contestants vie to win free pizza for a year.
  • Hands on an Eggplant (H.O.E.S) contest wherein the combatants place a hand on a Home Slice eggplant sub and leave it there for as long as they can.  Last person touching the sub wins free pizza for a year.  (Last’s year’s contest went 63 hours!!!)
  • Dough tossing contest where local pizzerias including Hoboken Pies, Southside Flying Pizza, and Saccones compete against Home Slice pizzaioli for the largest stretch, fastest stretch and fastest box fold.
  • Live music from Crooks, Big Don, Flying Balalaika Brothers, Residual Kid, Minor Mishap Marching Band and more.
  • Dance performances by Little Stolen Moments and ATX All Stars.  Magic show by Black Bert.  MC rocked by the good folks from The Encyclopedia Show
  • Live graffiti art installation by Austin’s best spray can wizards.
  • Carnival midway featuring tons of silly stuff for the kiddos of all ages.
  • Amazing Raffle: win prizes from, Hotel San Jose, Hotel St.Cecilia, Alamo Drafthouse, Stag, Shiner Beer, and close to a hundred more Austin businesses.
  • (Mostly) Silent auction:  Dave Eggers will have lunch with you, author George Saunders will critique your writing,and much more.

About Austin Bat Cave:

Austin Bat Cave is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides children and teenagers (ages 6-18) with opportunities to develop their creative and expository writing skills. They connect a diverse population of young writers and learners with a vibrant community of adult volunteers in Austin. All of their programs are free.

ABC understands that public school teachers are the hardest-working people in town. With all their programs, they strive to be a resource, mobilizing volunteers to help teachers accomplish what they might not be able to accomplish on their own

About the Carnival O’ Pizza and Home Slice Pizza:


The idea for the carnival came from a desire to create an uniquely Austin version of a mix of Coney Island, the San Gennaro Festival in New York’s Little Italy, and co-owners Jen Strickland and Terri Hannifin’s childhood memories of block carnivals in support of various charities. Home Slice’s carnival continues in this tradition of grassroots, makeshift neighborhood carnivals but augments it with events that celebrate the art of hand-tossed pizza, and also serves a birthday party for Home Slice itself and its mascot, Slicey, who turns 6 years old this year.


Home Slice Pizza is an independent neighborhood pizza joint serving authentic NY-style pizza – by the pie or slice – to nice people like you. Home Slice offers their homemade, hand-tossed, bona fide pies for either dine in or carry out.

Home Slice Pizza has won best pizza in the Austin Chronicle Reader’s Poll every year since 2007, was named #6 overall favorite restaurant in the 2011 edition of the Chronicle poll, and has been featured in local and national press including Texas Monthly, Delta Sky Magazine, Austin Monthly, Tribeza, Austinist, Spin, and Every Day with Rachael Ray.

About ( is the leading consumer destination for collaborative online coupon, deal and promotional code hunting and sharing. Our mission is to help consumers save money and enjoy a hassle-free discount shopping experience. Since November 2006, our users have shared millions of deals at more than 130,000 merchants. Online coupons are rated and ranked by users, ensuring that quality deals rise to the top and expired coupons drop down the list. is operated by WhaleShark Media, Inc., the world’s leading marketplace for online coupons and deals.  Make sure to “like” RetailMeNot on Facebook and follow the company via Twitter @retailmenot.

About WhaleShark Media, Inc:

WhaleShark Media, Inc. ( is the world’s leading marketplace for online coupons and deals. The company’s websites connect consumers seeking savings with discounts from more than 130,000 merchants, stores and retailers. WhaleShark Media welcomes more than 300 million visitors to shop its websites every year. The WhaleShark Media portfolio of websites includes, the largest online coupon site in the United States;, the largest online coupon site in Europe;;;;;; and WhaleShark Media is a fast-growing, profitable company funded by venture capital firms Austin Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Adams Street Partners and Google Ventures.

Media Contact:

Home Slice Pizza

Joseph Strickland


Austin Bat Cave

Manuel Gonzales


Brian Hoyt


Win Free Pizza for a Year

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by Joseph on November 4, 2011

Yes the rumors are true, you CAN win free pizza for a year at the Carnival O Pizza.  How you ask?  There are 2 ways:

  1. You can out eat everyone in the Pizza Eating Contest.
  2. You can leave your hand on a sandwich longer than anyone else in Hands on an Eggplant Sub (H.O.E.S).

Simple, right?

Here’s what you should know:

  • To compete in either contest you gotta apply so we can make sure you are serious about competing.
  • There is a small entrance fee for each contest, all of which goes to our charity for the Carnival, Austin Bat Cave.
  • For the Eating Contest we are only taking 8-10 applicants so get your app in soon and make it awesome.
  • For H.O.E.S, once you accepted into the contest, we ask that you get your friends to sponsor you online at Sponsor a H.O.E.  You have to raise $50 in pledges to qualify; the money goes straight to Austin Bat Cave.  Highest earner gets a special prize!
  • Check out these Rules for Hands on an Eggplant Sub

Think you have what it takes?  Fill out the short application and drop it off in person at Home Slice or email it to us.

2010 winner Billy "Porkchop" Chedsey chewing his heart out

H.O.E.S. 2010 begins. 63 hours later, Lauren Shugart (pictured) would emerge victorious

Home Slice Pizza selects Austin Bat Cave as 2011 Carnival-O-Pizza beneficiary

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by Joseph on October 12, 2011

Another afternoon of pizza-themed zaniness in South Austin is right around the corner, as Home Slice Pizza announces the 6th annual Carnival-O-Pizza.

The Carnival is at once a celebration of the art of hand tossed pizza, a sixth birthday party for the restaurant, and a charitable endeavor intended to give back to the community that has made Home Slice one of Austin’s favorite eateries. This year’s Carnival-O-Pizza will take place Saturday, November 19, 2011 from 12 to 9 PM, with all proceeds directly benefiting this year’s charitable recipient: Austin Bat Cave.

About Austin Bat Cave:

Austin Bat Cave (ABC) Austin Bat Cave is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides children and teenagers (ages 6-18) with opportunities to develop their creative and expository writing skills. They connect a diverse population of young writers and learners with a vibrant community of adult volunteers in Austin. All of their programs are free.

ABC understands that public school teachers are the hardest-working people in town. With all their programs, they strive to be a resource, mobilizing volunteers to help teachers accomplish what they might not be able to accomplish on their own.

“We’re really excited to be working with Austin Bat Cave this year. It’s a cool feeling that the money we raise will be put toward helping kids harness the storyteller within and feel the sense of pride and power that comes from speaking one’s truth” says Home Slice Pizza co-owner Jen Strickland. “In addition to giving many unpaid hours of their time leading up to the carnival for planning, design, sign painting, pounding the pavement for raffle prizes, and mobilizing Home Slice’s volunteer army of people from the community that we call The Pie Club, our staff also wants to volunteer to help out with kids someday” adds co-owner Terri Hannifin.  “Their dedication to their work has inspired us to work harder to put this event together.”

Manuel Gonzales, ABC’s Executive Director, agrees it’s a good fit.  “We couldn’t have asked for a better partnership than the one Austin Bat Cave shares with the awesome folks at Home Slice Pizza,” says Gonzales, “there’s no better way to highlight the creativity we inspire in the kids via our writing workshops than by teaming up with them for this ridiculously super-creative day of family fun.”

About the Carnival O’ Pizza and Home Slice Pizza:

The idea for the carnival came from a desire to create an uniquely Austin version of a mix of Coney Island, the San Gennaro Festival in New York’s Little Italy, and co-owners Jen Strickland and Terri Hannifin’s childhood memories of block carnivals in support of various charities. Home Slice’s carnival continues in this tradition of grassroots, makeshift neighborhood carnivals but augments it with events that celebrate the art of hand-tossed pizza, and also serves a birthday party for Home Slice itself and its mascot, Slicey, who turns 6 years old this year.

Held in the Home Slice Pizza backyard and parking lot at 1415 South Congress Avenue, the carnival promises fun for all ages with:

  • carnival-style games (each with a Home Slice spin to them)
  • kid-themed offerings including our own invention: Pee Wee Pizzioli
  • a huge raffle featuring amazing prizes from business all over South Congress and beyond.
  • Entertainment including live music, readings by the ABC kids, graffiti artists, dancers, moustache painting, hair styling, and more.
  • Concessions including beer (lots!), Italian wines, beverages, and pizza.
  • Last but not least is Hands on an Eggplant Sub in which contestants vie to be the last person standing with their hand on 3 feet of sandwich; in 2010 the contest went on for an incredible 63 hours!

Stay tuned to this space for tons more details!

It’s a wrap! Winners and highlights of the Carnival

Posted in Carnival O' Pizza by Tara Bouley on November 26, 2010

If you missed the Carnival O’ Pizza, because you were being corralled by a pack of wild boars, here’s how the contests shook out:

John Pennington wins largest pie thrown. Photo courtesy of


Provence defending his endurance title. Photo courtesy of Susan Beth Sloan

The dough throwing contests size, speed and, endurance were all dominated by last year’s champs. Jose Aguilar from Home Slice won speed, John Pennington from Southside Flying Pizza won size and Mike Provence of Home Slice won endurance, all winning for the second year in a row.

Photo courtesy of Susan Beth Sloan

Down to the weigh in. Photo courtesy of Susan Beth Sloan

Big upset this year in the eating contest. The undefeated, 4 year champion Chris Floyd was taken out in a neck-and-neck battle to the tune of a mere 1/4 oz of crust by last year’s runner up Billy “Pork Chop” Chedsey.

The new champ, Billy "Pork Chop" Chedsey. Photo courtesy of Susan Beth Sloan.

Photo courtesy of Susan Beth Sloan

The Hands on an Eggplant Sub contest went a record 64 hours! The last 6 hours saw Sonia Arellano, the 2008 runner up and a determined Lauren Shugart both in it to win it. But shortly after dawn, Sonia accidentally removed her hand making Lauren this year’s champ.

We’d like to thank everyone who attended, volunteered, donated, competed, and performed at this year’s Carnival O’ Pizza. We are proud to announce that we raised over 15,000 dollars for Habitat Young Professionals! We couldn’t have done any of it without your support, good looks, talent, and giving spirit. You guys rule!

Super huge thanks to our sponsors Polycom, Dublin Dr. Pepper, Collings Guitars, Austinist, and Real Ale Brewing Co.


See you guys next year!