The line was nearly out the door at Elder Brewing Co. Saturday night for its Pizza-Off competition.
The lines of people were for those interested in registering to be the taste testing voters, determining which pizza joint was the best in the city of Joliet.
Elder Brewing Co. started this new series of events to showcase restaurants in the city. Each event includes blind tastings of specific food, and popular vote and an electoral food college vote determine the winners.
“We just wanted to bring something different and have a fun competition and promote Joliet,” said Melissa Polykandriotis, who runs the microbrewery with her husband, Andrew.
Polykandriotis said they wanted to really showcase the pizza joints that people in the community suggested. It was also good for participants to discover new pizza places they’d never heard of before Saturday.
To participate, voters had to pay $5, eat some pizza and vote. For Saturday’s vote, there were three categories – best cheese pizza, best sausage pizza and best cold pizza.
The contestants included the Big Chill and Grill, Aurelio’s Pizza, Linda’s Pizza, Cemenos Pizza, Maurie’s Table Pizza and Pub, Michael’s Pizza and Niko’s Pizzeria. Each pizza joint had a specific identifier tag for participants to vote for, but they never actually knew which establishment they were tasting.
In the end, more than 150 votes were cast. Elder Brewing Co. said they heard only positive feedback, and they got a lot of new faces coming through the doors.
Michael’s Pizza won in the category of Best Sausage Pizza. Linda’s Pizza won for Best Cheese Pizza. Michael’s Pizza also took home the title of overall winner.
Elder Brewing put on the event in collaboration with What’s Goin’ Down in Downtown J-Town, a podcast on the entertainment, art, food and festival scene in Joliet.
The organizers are planning to do more of these types of contests in the future, with one happening every two months or so. Polykandriotis said they for sure want to try tacos, hot dogs and wings in the future.
“It was just overwhelmingly positive to see so much Joliet support,” she said.