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The best local pizza? Readers and critics agree

Before "awesome" was appropriated by surf dudes and eventually embraced by two-and-going-on-three American generations as THE go-to adjective to describe any mundane experience with even a vaguely positive association, it was a word with great heft and power.

Isaac Newton inventing calculus was an awesome intellectual feat. To stand at the crest of the Grand Canyon is to behold nature's awesome grandeur. The stormy collision of despair and artistic expression that inspired Goya's Black Paintings? Nothing less than awesome.

What's not awesome? The Kardashian tennis shoe line.

And yet ... pizza is truly, TRULY awesome.

And to sit in judgment of pizza is as awesome a responsibility as rending verdicts at the Salem Witch Trials, the Scopes Monkey Trial, or Nuremberg!

Behold! We bring you the results of The Day's Pizza Madness Brackets competition. Which pie, and from what purveyor, did our readers determine was best — not to mention: a separate decision from a panel of discerning Day newsroom feasters?

We accepted nominations March 2-10, asking readers to send us the names of their favorite pizza places. In all, 108 different restaurants were submitted, indicating a whole lotta folks like a whole lotta different pizzerias. How can that be bad?

Once the nomination period closed, we took the 64 most frequently named restaurants and randomly matched them up in an NCAA March Madness-style bracket. Readers then voted round by round, and the turnout was, well, awesome. In all, 1,445 people cast a total of 18,555 votes over the course of six voting rounds.

As determined by our crust 'n' toppings-happy readers, the Elite Eight competitions included 2 Wives and the Recovery Room (both New London); Waterford's Crown Pizza and New London's Ocean Pizza; Mango's Wood-Fired Pizza in Mystic and Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana at Mohegan Sun; and Brick & Basil Wood-Fired Pizza in Norwich and Mr. G's Restaurant in New London.

The Final Four pitted the Recovery Room against Crown Pizza and Mango's versus Brick & Basil.

In the championship final, readers chose Brick & Basil the champion of our Pizza Madness!

It's worth noting that The Day's newsroom panel, in a blind tasting of pepperoni pies from the Final Four competitors (along with various other pies from those restaurants thrown in for good measure and because we were hungry), came to the same conclusion: Brick & Basil, to paraphrase Edgar Allan Pie — er, Poe — holds illimitable dominion over all!

And that's awesome.

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