As we kick off 2024, here’s a look back at the top ten most read stories on the PMQ website.

Without further ado:

10. Beloved Seattle Pizzeria Closing After Just Three Years in Business (December)

Three Blotto team members admire a pizza in their Seattle shop.

Rather remarkably, the tenth=most-read story of 2023 was published on Thursday, Dec. 28. The story was about Blotto, a pizzeria that had made quite a name for itself despite having a brick-and-mortar location for just over two years. Started during the pandemic as a pop-up, Blotto had become one of Seattle’s favorite pizzerias. Now it will close, due in part to the building being sold by current ownership.

9. Dave Portnoy Gets Into Cussing Match With Pizzeria Owner (September)

You didn’t think you’d make it through this list without seeing the name of the most polarizing figure in pizza, did you? Wherever Portnoy goes, headlines seem to follow. His showdown with the owner of Dragon Pizza in Somerville, Massachusetts, caused major waves across social media and the internet. In one corner: those who believe Portnoy’s famous “One Bite” pizza reviews give a much-needed boost to select pizzerias across the country. In the other corner: those who believe Portnoy’s outsized influence can have an unfair and negative impact on a pizzeria’s reputation and business based on a single bit (or five) of pizza. Here at PMQ, we don’t choose sides. We just report on the drama.

8. Pizza Tower: High-Speed Game Puts Chef Peppino to the Test (January)

A retro-like video game was making the rounds about a year ago now. Pizza Tower was a fun way to simulate opening and running a pizzeria inside the safety of a virtual world. “Described by PC Gamer as ‘madcap platforming at 100 m.p.h.,’ Pizza Tower takes inspiration from 1990s cartoons like ‘Ren and Stimpy’ and the popular Wario Land series, complete with zany animation and a hapless hero,” we wrote back in January.

7. At Three Years Old, This Pizzeria Ranked Best in Chicago (October)

A Chicago deep dish pizza from Milly's.

There are no shortages of pizzeria rankings, just as there’s no shortage of debating which pizzeria is the best in you-name-the-city. One thing that is more rare, however, is when a new pizzeria in an established pizza hotbed like Chicago climbs to the top of a list. The pundits at Chicago Magazine bucked some trends when they named Milly’s Pan Pizza—just three years old—as the best the Windy City has to offer.

6. Here’s Why Pizza is Good For You (No Matter What Anyone Says) (February)

You’ve probably been told your whole life that pizza wasn’t exactly nutritious. Well, good news: not everyone agrees with that line of thinking. This story was actually originally published in 2001 and written by Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann. But the message within the story is timeless (and perhaps something we all like to hear).

5. Famed Pizza Power Couple Sells Their Beloved Miami Restaurant (July)

Few Pizzerias in Miami achieved the success that Crust, founded and owned by Anita and Klime Kovaceski, did. The pizzeria was named a Top 100 “best places to eat” in the country by Yelp and was once featured in a page-long story written by the Wall Street Journal. So why did the “pizza power couple” sell after eight years in business? They wanted some time to relax, which is understandable. Running a pizzeria—especially one as busy as Crust—is no easy task.

4. Who Are the Country’s Leading Pizza Influencers for 2023? (July)

Before you read this one, remember that the list isn’t so much ranking pizza influencers by followers, but rather, ranking them by what FeedSpot—a database of bloggers and podcasters—feels they contribute to the world of food. That explains why the second-ranked influencer on the list, for example, has fewer than 3,000 followers.

“Most of the content creators on the FeedSpot list are perhaps better described as ‘micro influencers,’” we wrote in July, “defined as social media accounts with 1,000 to 100,000 followers. Micro influencers are individuals who are well-known in the pizza niche with a highly engaged audience.”

3. A New Jersey Throwback Named One of the Best U.S. Pizza Joints (March)

There are some regional pizza styles that have made it nationally, whether it’s Detroit-style pizza, or New York-style pizza, so it seems odd that a Jersey-style pizza joint has made it big in a place as far away as Seattle. But that’s exactly what Dino’s Tomato Pie has done. In March, the Jersey-style pizzeria was named a top 20 pizza joint in the U.S. by Trips to Discover website.

2. Good Morning America Seeks Best Pizza In U.S. (Feb)

Donatella Arpaia, wearing a red chef coat, leans on a counter and smiles, with her pizza oven in the background

“Good Morning America” was the latest media platform to take a stab at crowning the best pizza in the U.S. It took an interesting route to doing so, pitting pizzerias from five different areas (New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit) against one another and having a panel of judges decide the best one.

Spoiler: Wrecktangle Pizza in Minneapolis ended up taking the crown. Later in the year, the pizzeria memorably closed during a heat wave in order to protect its staff from dangerous conditions. Let that be a lesson: you don’t become the best pizzeria in the U.S. (or one of them, anyway) without taking care of your team members.

1. One of California’s Oldest Pizza Chains Closes Three Stores (Jan)

A Mary's Pizza Shack storefront.

Perhaps pizzeria closures are our industry’s version of the old journalistic truism “if it bleeds, it leads.” Did you notice that three of the top ten stories had to do with folks either closing a pizzeria or selling it?

Due to ongoing and rapid inflation, Mary’s Pizza Shack closed three locations at the beginning of the year. That brought the legendary chain down to nine locations, or fewer than half of the 20 locations Mary’s once claimed. According to the chain’s website, it looks as if Mary’s has opened one location since and currently has 10 stores.

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