Northampton Pizza Finale! Mimmo’s Pizza vs. Pizzeria Paradiso

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Welcome to the Northampton finale! Back when we started this project, we had no idea if we would be capable of continuing all the way to the end, and yet here we are! What started with a bracket of 12 very different pizza shops in Northampton, MA has come down to our two intrepid finalists: Mimmo’s Pizza on Pleasant Street and Pizzeria Paradiso on Craft St. I couldn’t imagine two more different pie shops than these. Walking into Mimmo’s you would not think that one of the best pizzas in town comes from here, whereas you would think exactly that at Pizzeria Paradiso, which is brimming with confidence at it’s beautiful brick ovens and artisan pizzas.

Let’s talk a little about how these two got here. In the first round Paradiso edged out a strong regional chain in Papa Gino’s, knocked off a seriously good pizza from Filo’s Greek Taverna, and finally put the kibosh on Pinocchio’s brief hopes of glory after it’s victory over Pizza Amore the week before. In the first round, Mimmo’s beat out the local dine-in restaurant Roberto’s, then surprised us all by defeating the intimidating Hungry Ghost Bread, and finally trumped Sams’ delicious eggplant in the semi-finals. While you could second guess some of the choices we made, I believe we have on our hands two very good and consistent pie shops.

Here is our current bracket:

bracket

 

Mimmo’s Pizza

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Mimmos’ strength is its crust, which may be one of the best in town.

Pizzeria Paradiso

Pizza Paradiso Exterior

Pizza Paradiso has great flavors and a great all-around pizza.

 

The Pizza

For our finale I wanted to go big, so we ended up inviting a bunch of people and in the end had about 13 adult contributors and 4 small child contributors and because of the large group we needed a large amount of pizza. So this week we went with a large cheese, a large pepperoni, and a large pepper and onion, for 6 total pizzas.  This was a lot of pizza, but in the end we ate up almost all of it!

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The large cheeses, Pizzeria Paradiso on the left, Mimmo’s on the right

The Mimmo’s pizzas are typically large and generously apportioned with toppings and sauce, while the Paradiso pie is much more sparsely topped and smaller.  Paradiso has great flavors though, and it doesn’t need a lot of them.

Before we continue I need to explain that there were some extenuating circumstances that may have unfairly tipped the scales favoring Mimmo’s vs. Paradiso.  The Paradiso pie ended up being ordered earlier with the request to have it ready at a certain time, but they may have ended up cooking it right away and letting it sit.  As such, it was noticeably less hot than the Mimmo’s pizza when we started tasting.  With that said, we did our best to factor that in to our judging.

 

The Crust

Mimmos’ pies have been one of the most consistently well cooked in town and tonight was no exception.  The crust is deliciously chewy with a satisfying crunch when you bite into it.  It is thick enough to give it structural integrity but thin and pliable enough to fold.  The Paradiso crust was slightly rubbery tonight and possibly a tad under cooked.  If that was due to sitting out longer, I’m not sure.  It still tasted as good as ever, though, and some people did prefer it.

Winner: Mimmo’s Pizza

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Mimmo's Pizza
    Crust

 

The Toppings

Those that had the pepper and onion and the cheese pizzas seemed to prefer the Paradiso offering, while those with the pepperoni were a bit more on the fence.

Winner: Pizzeria Paradiso

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Mimmo's Pizza
        Toppinigs

 

The Flavor

The Paradiso pies offered some really great subtle flavoring, but I think the fact that their pizzas were a bit cold affected this category the most.  Something changes about a pizza’s flavor when it is no longer hot, and for many people it is no longer as appetizing.  That seemed to be the case tonight and many people voted for Mimmo’s, which we’ve found to be solid in its flavors if not extraordinary.

Winner: Mimmo’s Pizza

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Mimmo's Pizza
     Flavor

 

Final Thoughts

I know what you’re going to say: “There is no way Mimmo’s is better than Paradiso”.  Believe me, I am as surprised as you guys and a little shocked.  The Paradiso pies were slightly under cooked and while not fully cold they were not has hot as Mimmo’s.  That possibly contributed to the upset tonight, but still I have to give credit to Mimmo’s.  I think if it had been any other pizza Paradiso still would have won, but Mimmo’s put together a few really solid pizzas tonight and took advantage of Paradiso having a somewhat off night.  If we were to repeat this test 9 more times it is possible that Paradiso would win the majority of those tests, and maybe we will do this one over at some point, but tonight Mimmo’s pulled off a victory!  They deserve the gold.

Alright, I’m going to go ahead and say it.

Mimmo’s Pizza is the best pizza in Northampton!

Pizzeria Paradiso Category Mimmo's Pizza
    Crust
        Toppinigs
     Flavor

bracket

Coming up next we will be starting our Easthampton contest, so check back soon!

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