I know this is a ding against me, and I realize it’s biased in the worst way, and I’m aware it makes me sound like a two-bit galump, but …
… but whenever I hear some over-confident dude sporting that horrible Boston accent I want to punch him, except for the fact there’s a 100 percent chance he has a tough guy friend named “Sally” who will then destroy me.
OK, fine, kidding. I don’t want to punch those people. That was just a little columnist hyperbole. I do, however, want to stuff lead-infused cotton in my ears so I don’t have to hear them prattle on with that annoying accent. Really. It’s like linguistic kryptonite to me.
Which is why when I - along with everyone else on Facebook - discovered that Barstool Sports guy was in town to sample Papa’s and DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies, I cringed. How the hell was this guy going to “get” what Papa’s and DeLo’s are selling? This guy … you know who I’m talking about. The “one bite, everyone knows the rules” guy. The guy with the Boston accent so thick Ben Affleck oozes out of his mouth.
Anyway, the guy - who’s nickname, almost certainly self-given, is “El Presidente” - is a much bigger deal than these online pizza reviews would lead you to believe. If you don’t know who he is - and I didn’t realize it, didn’t put two and two together - you’re going to be surprised. His name is David Portnoy, he’s the founder of Barstool Sports, he sold half of it for a fortune a few years back, and still retains control of the company. He’s about as big a deal as you’re going to find in the world of modern media.
And he’s running around the area sampling pizza.
To sum up: He’s loaded, runs a sports website, and eats pizza. (That sound you just heard was me unlocking the “jealousy” badge.” Anyway …)
Anyway, the pizza thing is a monster. There’s an app, it’s featured on the Barstool site, and YouTube views alone number in the millions. Seriously: Single videos of this guy eating a piece of pizza get upwards of 2 million views.
To give you an idea of how huge this guy is, there’s a video of him doing a pizza taste test in the streets of Manhattan with Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jake Johnson, and Hannibal Buress, and Portnoy was the one passers-by recognized and were excited to see.
So him coming to Papa’s and DeLorenzo’s is a big, big deal.
And it didn’t start out too hot. The Papa’s review came first, and it starts with him wondering if he’s in “Robbinsville” or “Robbinsburg,” and then he somehow pronounces “Papa’s” as “Puppa’s,” which caused me to throw my Chromebook against the wall.
Then he said he went into Papa’s, where he was recognized, and was asked if he was here to review the pizza, to which Portnoy said “we’re not just in the middle of Nowheresville for the f*** of it” and then said “tomato pie” is some “fancy-schmancy Trenton style pizza which means you put the toppings and everything on before you do the tomatoes. Sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo.”
At this point, I mean, come on. All the Sallys in the world wouldn’t be able to stop me.
And then …
And then he took his one bite and gave it an 8.3, which is pretty good. Then he tried it again, one fresh out of the oven (the one he ate was boxed, and eaten after pictures and such), and gave it a 8.9, said maybe 9.1 if he had this one first. These are historic scores on Portnoy’s scale.
Then he went to DeLorenzo’s … a 9.2, one of the highest scores he’s ever bestowed upon a pizza. Said it “rivaled” any pizza he ever had. He marveled at the total lack of "flop." Really. A 9.2 is nutballs.
So to sum up ...
I love this guy. Love his accent. What a great guy, right? I mean, coming in cold, never sampling a true Trenton tomato pie, not complaining about the tomato-to-cheese ratio, not complaining that it’s “burnt” like some yahoo … and giving them 9+ each? That’s incredible. The vast majority of his reviews are in the 6-to-low-8’s range. He gets it. What a guy. Someone send him a gift certificate or something. Lahbsters on me. Go Sox! This isn't wicked hahd.