Smile Politely

Bracket Breakdown: Black Dog burnt ends versus Old Orchard thin-crust pizza

Burnt ends at Black Dog and thin-crust pizza at Old Orchard
Burnt ends at Black Dog and thin-crust pizza at Old Orchard; Photos by Alyssa Buckley

Alas, the time has come for the Championship round of Smile Politely’s Food & Drink Tournament 2024. During the tournament rounds, readers voted for their favorites in chaotic head-to-head matchups of local foods, and last week, readers determined which of the top four foods should move on to the Championship round. Readers chose the legendary burnt ends from Black Dog and the glorious thin-crust pizza from Old Orchard.

The final food fight starts today and ends at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3rd. Here’s the final bracket breakdown, looking at the two undefeated beloved eats competing for the 2024 Championship.

Black Dog burnt ends

Champaign’s Black Dog Smoke & Ale comes to this round after dominating the entire tournament, knocking out delicious things left and right. Showing no mercy, Black Dog’s burnt ends destroyed Cloud Mountain Kombucha’s award-winning Autumn Mary brew with a 60-point spread in the first round. Then it was time to slay burgers. The burnt ends conquered Smith Burger Co’s insanely amazing Glazed and Confused in the second round, and in the Elite Eight, barbecue beat burger again as Black Dog eliminated The Space’s signature Smashy McSmashface. Black Dog’s burnt ends’ most fraught battle was the Final Four round versus Baldarotta’s porketta sandwich, but in the end, burnt ends won by two percentage points.

Champaign’s Black Dog has the home field advantage in addition to being a higher seed and the reigning champ of the last SP Food & Drink Tournament.

Old Orchard thin-crust pizza

Fifth-seed for their division, Savoy’s Old Orchard Lanes & Links‘ thin-crust pizza had a successful run of matchups so far this tournament. First, the delicious pizza confidently beat Stango Cuisine’s popular beignets, and then next, Old Orchard narrowly won head-to-head against Cheese & Crackers’ Mindy Italian sandwich with a final score of 47% to 53%, in favor of pizza. During the Elite Eight, the thin-crust pizza fought taco al pastor by Maize, squeaking by with 51% win. In the Final Four, the bowling alley pizza somehow emerged victorious over their division’s number-one seed the French toast at Sam’s Cafe. In the final round, the thin-crust ‘za will compete against the burnt ends in a food championship battle of unstoppable reader-favorites.

Who will win the 2024 Championship?

You decide. Cast a vote for one of these two foods before voting ends April 3rd at 5 p.m.

Food + Drink Editor / / instagram

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