Pizza Bowl II picks best pies in Wilson County

Staff Reports • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:54 PM

As the countdown continues to the Super Bowl XLVIII, preparation among players and coaches play a big part. When it comes to Super Bowl Sunday, those in the food industry – particularly pizza restaurants – are no different. 

As the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks get ready for their biggest Sunday of the season, Domino’s anticipates delivering more than 11 million pizza slices and 3 million chicken wings nationwide on game day – nearly an 80 percent overall increase from a typical Sunday.

 “Every night in a Domino’s store is a practice for the biggest Sunday in football,” said Chris Brandon, Domino’s Pizza spokesperson. “Our team is certainly ready to tackle the big rush coming up next week. We’re pumped up for the opportunity to deliver a great game day meal to millions of football fans.”

In keeping with tradition in the days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, The Lebanon Democrat kicked off its Pizza Bowl last week with online voting. More than 20 Wilson County pizza restaurants, including one bowling alley this year, participated in the online event, which garnered more than 600 votes cast. 

And though it came down to the wire in the final minutes of voting Friday, Nona Lisa Pizzeria in Watertown became the crowd favorite, garnering 34 percent. In a close second was Painturo’s Pizzeria in Lebanon with 31 percent. Only a 14-vote margin separated the two. 

Also on Friday, 19 participating Wilson County pizza restaurants offered up their best pies for The Democrat staff’s blind taste test, which included two special guest judges this year. Mt. Juliet Assistant fire Chief Jamie Luffman and Lebanon police Officer Matt Dedman joined the newspaper staff in selecting their personal favorites.

“We thought it fitting to give a little something back to our friends in the police and fire departments,” said Democrat director of content Jared Felkins. “Not only did we get these two fine public servants a chance to dig into the competition, all of the leftovers were sent to the various police and fire departments in Lebanon and Mt. Juliet. It was particularly fitting since Lebanon firefighters and police fought a house fire earlier in the day.”

Both the staff and guest judges chose their favorites in seven categories along with an overall winner. 

The surprise overall winner picked by The Democrat staff came from a pizza establishment not known for its cooking. Papa Murphy’s in Mt Juliet, which prepares pizzas to be baked at home, was selected for its unusual yet tasty artichoke chicken pizza. Dedman chose DiCicco’s Pizzeria in Lebanon, which opened recently and offers Chicago-style pies, as his overall favorite. Luffman went with Painturo’s Pizzeria in Lebanon, known for a thinner crust, as his top pick. 

The Democrat will present a plaque to the popular online vote getter, Nona Lisa Pizzeria, and certificates to the overall winners selected.

“Congratulations to those that received honors and all the pizza restaurants that participated in Pizza Bowl II,” Felkins said. “This event has become a fun one for our staff and those who participate each year. Hopefully we can open it up to the public in the future so everyone can enjoy the same pizza we did Friday. Of course, it’s only a short drive or a phone call away for anyone in Wilson County, especially on Sunday.” 

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