5.02.2015

A-List Names Blackbird "Best Pizza in Bozeman"

We've all been in this situation. You're out having pizza with friends. Someone exclaims, "This is the best pizza in town!" Inevitably someone else chimes in, "No way. This is good but the pizza at xxx is so much better." What follows is a lively conversation about the best pizza in town. (The same thing often happens with coffee, beer, burgers, sushi, breakfast joints, etc.)

In these situations, I have always wondered how one could have a strong opinion about which pizza is the best when they are not comparing the two side-by-side. Perhaps it's the fact that while I enjoy good food and drinks, I'm not much of a gourmet. The nuances of food and food memories don't stick with me, and I couldn't honestly declare a pizza (Or beer, coffee, burger or anything) the best unless I tasted them in one sitting. Thus the idea for the Best of Bozeman Pizza Tasting Party was born.


Mike and I assembled 24 members of the A-List for the tasting last evening. The thoughtful and enthusiastic crowd sampled pies from five of Bozeman's pizza establishments and had this to report...

The pies selected were: 1) Pizza Campania; 2) Blackbird; 3) Bridger Brewing; 4) Tarintino's; and 5) Red Tractor. (These were the number each was given in the blind taste test.) To keep consistency among the pizzas tasted and assure the statistical validity of the test, Margarita pizzas were purchased at all locations.

In addition to picking the best pizza, the tasting garnered insight to the operation and management of each of the establishments. Mike ordered the pizzas beforehand and gave specific instructions for timing of pickup or delivery. Blackbird, Red Tractor, and Tarantimos all failed to follow directions with Red Tractor and Tarintino's promptly baking and delivering the pizza, rather than waiting as we had requested. It was obvious that the pizza from Blackbird had been sitting around for a while when Mike picked it up. Both Pizza Campania and Bridger Brewing get an A for the ability to follow directions.

As for the best tasting pizza in Bozeman, Blackbird came out on top with a weighted score of 27. Tasters raved about the sauce and the overall flavor of the pie but a few found the crust to be soggy. If you're a fan of thin-crust, artisan pizza, you'll love the pizza at Blackbird.
A gathering of Bozemanites gathered to determine the best pizza in Bozeman.
Just like they do it in the Old World
Pizza Campania (22 points) and Tarintino's (21 points) took the silver and bronze medals. Pizza Campania was the overall winner when it came to the crust and many tasters believe the crust to be the most critical part of a pizza. Interestingly, one party-goer found Pizza Campania to be "tasteless" while others commented on the spicy sauce. Tarantino's also ranked highly on crust. Pizza Campania is a thinner, artisan-style pizza very similar to Blackbird and Tarantino's is more of a New York-style.

In fourth place with 19 points was Bridger Brewing. With all of the pizza joints to pick from, we knew we had to get Bridger Brewing as it was recently voted best pizza in the Bozone magazine reader's poll (Tarantino's was second in the same poll) and we were curious to see if they could retain the title. Tasters liked it and found it flavorful but the crust, while good, was not great and ultimately prevented Bridger Brewing from placing higher in the rankings.

One of the newer pizza places in Bozeman,  Red Tractor, rounded out the list with ten points. It faced
Red Tractor's box rocked!
tough competition and was an overall good pizza but many people found the crust to be soggy. Tasters did not like the saucy nature of the pizza (The sauce to cheese ratio was different than the other pies) and many found the sauce too sweet. While Red Tractor placed last among the five pizzas sampled, their box was clearly above and beyond the others in terms of artistry. Very nice job Red Tractor!

Before trying the pizzas, we had tasters write down their favorite pizza place in Bozeman. Cosmic Pizza came out on top, followed by a three-way tie between Pizza Campania, Tarantino's, and Blackbird, with Colombo's, The Emerson Grille, Third Floor Pizza, and MacKenzie River each earning a vote.

So there you have it, the best pizza in Bozeman according to the A-List. We by no means tasted all of the pizzas in town and new pizza joints seem to open up on a regular basis so the big question of "Who has the best pizza?" will continue to be debated. Please add your thoughts to the comments section of this blog. Mangiare!

Pizza Cake topped with gummy candy & fruit leathers
Pizza tasting was followed by ice cream and a "pizza cake" by Amy and you always know it's bound to be a great party if an Amy cake is involved!