NEPA Pizza Madness Round 1 Results and Recap

NEPA Pizza Madness started out as my little idea to promote many of the pizzerias in the area that we know and love.  In my mind it was a small project that I hoped people would have some fun with while giving some of these restaurants some exposure.  The immediate and prolonged response we received was remarkable, and in just 2 weeks of first round voting, the Madness generated an astounding 25,838 votes which I was thrilled and extremely grateful for.  I have to be honest, watching the votes tally up, and watching battles like the epic Andy's vs. Angies play out over two weeks was so much fun.  It just goes to show how much pride that we, the NEPA Nation take in our pizza and how much support we can show these deserving local businesses.  

To Vote in the Next Round, Visit the NEPA Pizza Madness Page Here

Of course, not all of the reaction was positive.  Scores of customers and business owners were upset that their restaurant was left out of the tournament and voiced their displeasure via email, facebook, twitter, and in the comments section below the voting tool.  When it was pointed out to me that I had inadvertantly included two pizzerias which were closed, I was mortified and issued an immediate public apology, but also issued personal apologies via email to all business owners who could have been a part of the Madness in the place of these two former pizzerias.  The moral of the story is I'm not perfect and I do this for fun during the wee hours of the morning, but I do have the best intentions, and this was an honest oversight that I wish I could have fixed.  More importantly, there were only 64 slots in the bracket and as I always say, NEPA has the largest selection of great pizza in the world, so there are way more than 64 deserving pizzerias to be included.  Since the NEPA Pizza Review is here to stay, and I will be hosting NEPA Pizza Madness for years to come, rest assured that I will cycle in the more popular reader suggestions to keep the tournament fresh.  I am even considering creating a "selection committee" for next year, so hit me up if that is something that interests you (dedicated inquiries only)!

Top Vote Earners
The top vote getters in Round 1 were Angie's Pizza (Dickson City) with 4,432; Nicholas Pizza (Scranton) with 4,150; and Roberto's Pizza (Scranton) with 4,089.  These high vote tallys were a true testament to their competitors, who all put up huge vote results in excess of 3,000 each.  These were hard fought battles, and I watched the numbers climb quickly in the final minutes of voting for each.

Best Matchups
The best matchup was without question Andy's vs Angies who were essentially tied for at least 10 days.  There were at least 10 lead changes that I recall seeing.  It wasn't until the very end of the first round did Angie's turn it on and really churn out the vote.  Only 24 votes separated Ghigiarelli's and Cafe Rinaldi (both of Old Forge), with Ghigiarelli's edging out a victory and advancing.  Angelo's and Savo's ran a tight race the entire way, but a late surge in the fourth quarter gave Angelo's the win.

Biggest Upset
Although I admit that the seeding totally subjective, somewhat random, and is by no means a science, we did have a HUGE UPSET in the Luzerne Region where the 16 seed The Dough Company (Wilkes-Barre) took down the 1 seed Pizza L'Oven (Exeter).  Although this wasn't exactly David vs. Goliath when you take a step back and look at it logically, Cinderella has entered the ball and I'm calling it an upset because the bracket says so!

Although I'm not sure who I expected to win many of the matchups, there were a ton of surprise upsets everywhere and I could not believe how evenly matched most of the pizzerias were.  I did notice that the higher vote volumes did tend to follow those pizzerias with a stronger social media presence and those who actively promoted participation in the Madness.  Some pizzerias even got creative - to see what I mean, head on over to Joe's Pizza in Nanticoke facebook page!  In future rounds, I'm hoping to see some more creativity like this.  Maybe we can even post the images on this site if we get enough participation.


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