Whenever an event happens for the first time, you never really know what to expect.
But it was safe to assume a night that made taste-testing pizza the star of the show would be a hit. And was it ever.
The inaugural Pizza Pie Showdown, hosted by the Concord Monitor (and us) and held at the Holiday Inn, took place last week to once and for all decide the best pizza in Concord.
By now, you’ve probably heard the news that Constantly Pizza took home the crown with a selection of cheese, spinach-feta-mushroom, chicken Caesar and buffalo chicken.
“We’re pretty excited to say we’re the best pizza in Concord,” said Constantly co-owner John Constant.
Of the more than 140 registered pizza voters, 34 voted for Constantly, which just narrowly edged the likes of Vinnie’s Pizzaria (29 votes) and Sal’s Pizza (27). Donatello’s, Chief’s Place, Checkmate, EJ’s on Main and Veanos II also brought lots of pizza for folks to try – and hopefully vote for.
“We’ve had all of them before, but not all the different flavors,” said event goer Phil Bates.
And we can’t forget that this was a fundraiser for the Friendly Kitchen, as it brought in more than $700 from ticket sales and quite a few non-perishable food items. They also took more than 30 boxes of leftover pizza back to the soup kitchen to serve for lunch the next day.
Now heading into this thing, we were curious what combinations we’d find. Places were told to bring whatever they felt best represented their selection.
And did we ever see some creative slices during our many trips around the Holiday Inn function room. There was the Zigfield from Donatello’s that is thousand island dressing instead of sauce with salami, pastrami, chopped tomatoes and Swiss. EJ’s on Main had a couple of interesting combos – including shepherd’s pie, taco and apple crisp (for dessert).
Others brought options like chicken-bacon-ranch (Sal’s), and the Greek (Chief’s), which comes with egg on it.
“It’s very popular, but some people shy away from it because it has egg on it,” said Sammie O’Brien, a longtime Chief’s employee.
For Chris McCabe, he’s a pepperoni lover, and actually, about a decade ago, got a ’roni pie from each local place and rated them. At the event, he tried all eight places and was discussing and dissecting each slice with his wife – via text because she was home with a sick child.
Jennifer Goodman casted her vote for Sal’s.
“I just like the taste of their pizza,” she said.
Reanna Benoit was on the Donatello’s bandwagon.
“Their sauce is the best,” she said. “They really showed up tonight.”
As you can imagine, there was a lot to choose from, which made it hard for voters to make an informed decision. But somehow, some way, they did.
We didn’t get to try nearly as many slices as we would have liked to, but that’s just how it goes when you’re looking for insight into people’s inner most thoughts about food. But we were more than happy with the slices we did get to wolf down between interviews.
Now we know there were a lot of you who wanted tickets and couldn’t get them before they sold out, but the success of the event could lead to another one next year. Stay tuned!