The Biggest Loser: Ole Piper
There are tons of pizza places South of the River and yet all of them claim to have the best pizza. I have tried many and even dedicated entire posts to some but what I have never done is sat down and offered a side by side comparison so that you could get a better idea of what the best plain cheese pizza in the area happens to be. Well, following a suggestion from reader sui generis and the gracious offering of Mr. and Mrs. Marcos’ house as a test site, I assembled a group of 11 testers who were ready to answer the question, “who has the best pizza in the South Metro?”
sui generis, Thought Leader, and I put our heads together and came up with a list of the pizza places we thought should be compared. We decided to have a national brand, in this case Papa John’s, to give a point of reference in the analysis. We then chose 7 local pizzas: Brianno’s in Eagan, Ole Piper Inn and Goodfella’s in Lakeville, J’s Restaurant and LS Pizza Shack in Bursville, Red’s Savoy in Eagan (this one was suggested by bb stacker even though it’s not only available in the South Metro), and Pilot Knob Pizzeria in Farmington. While we certainly did not even come close to hitting all of the local places around town, we figured this would offer a pretty good cross section of some of the more popular places to get pizza South of the River. Pizza prices ran between $9.50 (J’s Restaurant) to $11.77 (Goodfellas) and averaged $10.35.
Next item on the agenda was to come up with the metrics to compare and the comparison process. First we decided that all the pizzas had to be cheese. This would eliminate the issues with additional toppings and their quality–yeah, most people don’t eat plain cheese pizzas but it’s just easier to judge that way and it brings it down to what the basics of a pizza are: crust, cheese, and sauce. Second we planned to judge the pizzas on general appearance, smell, crust, sauce, cheese, and taste. I employed the 5 point Likert scale and suggested that a rating of ‘1’ is “Strongly Dislike” and ‘5’ is “Strongly Prefer” with 3 being about middle of the road. Next we decided to do it all blind and assign the pizzas numbers (Thought Leader opted to forgo voting and did all the hard work of keeping track of the pizzas by number and cutting them up for everyone). Each person was to get a portion of the pie which included the crust and went about rating it as they saw fit. An additional comment box, suggested by sui generis, was provided so people could offer their thoughts on each pizza via the written word.
And here are the results in order from 1st to 8th:
|Goodfellas Bar and Grill||3.73||3.18||3.73||3.91||3.91||4.00||22.45||74.85%|
|Papa John’s Pizza||3.55||2.91||3.36||2.45||2.91||3.18||18.36||61.21%|
|Red’s Savoy Eagan||2.91||2.82||2.55||2.82||3.36||3.27||17.73||59.09%|
|Pilot Knob Pizzeria||3.09||2.55||2.40||2.73||2.82||2.91||16.49||54.97%|
|LS Pizza Shack||2.55||2.36||2.18||2.82||2.82||2.82||15.55||51.82%|
As you can see, all the hype surrounding Goodfellas in Lakeville is apparently true. Based on the pizzas we had tonight, Goodfellas ran away with the title scoring first in every single category (tied for 1st in “appearance”) ending up with a 22.45 out of a possible 30 points!
Of all the comments provided, only Brianno’s had consistent comments among the panel of taste testers. 5 of the 11 people scoring mentioned that Brianno’s was greasy and two of those noted nothing else for the other seven pizzas. So, if grease is something you like I’d suggest heading to Brianno’s for a pie right now.
So what do you think about our fun little pizza taste test and the results? Do you agree with how the pizzas stacked up? What was the biggest surprise for you? What other foods would you like to see us taste test in the South Metro (wings are already on the list so feel free to submit which restaurants you’d like to see participate)? Whatever you have to say about the South Metro Pizza Taste Test, go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts!
See all the pictures from the South Metro Pizza Taste Test on Flickr here.