June 10, 2009

On the Origin of Scoring

Over the past four months, we've amassed a pretty sizable database of numbers, some of which we've provided you in the leaderboard and at the end of each post, some of which we've kept to ourselves as they're not really revealing enough to make sense of. That said, we've garnered quite a bit of criticism regarding our "Pizza" ratings with respect to what some of our readers consider "really good" pizza, most notably the discrepancy that may exist between the two. Some might see Colony outside the top ten and reach for their torches and pitchforks, but relax, we've got some 'splaining to do.

As we've laid out in our overview, we judge each restaurant based on several categories within larger segments of "Establishment" and "Pizza." The "Pizza" is a comprehensive rating that includes what each judge thinks of the pie's sauce, crust, cheese, texture, etc., all rolled into a single score. This process involves a complex scoring system that includes individual rubrics, weights, component scores, and the like (that we're bound to publish eventually), amounting to a sufficiently mechanical assessment of pizza quality that requires a bunch of math and stuff. So, if you're looking for overall quality of a pizza, sort by "Pizza" ratings on the leaderboard.

But what of pizzas that aren't, in a matter of speaking, "fresh" or "of high quality," but just happen to taste really freaking good? Allow us to illustrate:

For those looking for a pie with heart and soul, look no further than a pizza's "Hits the Spot" number. HtS is unique to each judge and essentially quantifies how most of the pizza eating public would rate a pizza: on a scale of zero to ten. Naturally, a 10 corresponds to the best pizza around, while a zero is so bad that we wouldn’t hit a dog in the face with it. All of the judges rate this separately according to their own, personal, indescribable tendencies, and what gets published to the site is an averaged score. So if you want to know how "good" a pizza is, with no heed paid to details such as ingredient slip or temperature, sort by Hits the Spot.

Hopefully, this clears up any misconceptions that you may have regarding our metrics. We've come across a lot of technically proficient pizzas without any heart or soul and we've come across some that ooze heart and soul that would be condemned by technical criteria alone. Now you know how to tell them apart.

(As of press time, the top five "Pizza" scores belong to (in order) Remo's, Sorrento, Hope, Ridgeway, and Pellicci's, while the top "Hits the Spot" scores belong to Hope, John the Baker, John's, Outpost, and Springdale.)

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