Never count out an underdog.
With big-name pizzerias such as Bocce and Picasso's vying for the title of best cheese-and-pepperoni slice in the city at SexySlices' People's Championship, it was a small family-owned shop in Cheektowaga that reigned supreme even though it was one of the last invited.
Macy's Place Pizzeria, at 3348 Genesee St., won first place at the Hydraulic Hearth event where SexySlices, an anonymous local pizza reviewer whose rating system narrowed down the top 10 blue-collar pizzas in the area, hosted a party in the democratic spirit, allowing eaters to decide the best of the finalists who were available to attend.
"Winning was so unexpected," said John Argy, an owner at Macy's Place. "I have been so surprised and humbled by the outpouring of support from the pizza-loving community. I've always said that Buffalo pizza is unique, and this event really highlighted that."
[Related: Smiles at SexySlices' People's Championship]
While some of SexySlices' top-ranked pizzerias were not available to participate in the final event, that left room for Macy's Place, which ranked in the sixth tier of the reviewer's spreadsheet after two visits. Obviously, pizza criticism can be an intensely personal venture with a number of preferences dictating favorites, which makes it all the more fitting that a business well outside SexySlices' top 10 triumphed.
"It’s the People’s Championship and the people have spoken," reacted SexySlices, via email to maintain his anonymity. "I’ve always said the pizza game is never one of absolutes. They may not have been in my top 10, but it’s any given Sunday at a competition and they threw it down the best."
"It was an honor to be involved in an event of this nature," added Nicholas Argy, John's son and co-owner of the business. "My family's pizza shop is our foothold in this wonderful city and sharing what I love with friends, family and neighbors is more than I could ask for."
The event presenter extolled Macy's Place for recent improvements that vaulted it above the initial B+/A- range in SexySlices' spreadsheet.
"Nick Argy has been steadily working on his pizza game, even in the past few months since I wrote my review and it showed on Sunday," SexySlices continued. "...Family shop. Awesome people. Passion for pizza and sweat equity showed. I’m glad a bunch of passionate pizza fans got to try (and love) a pizza that might not have been on their radar. That’s my favorite aspect of everything SexySlices is about."
The Sunday event was the capstone for the anonymous critic's long-term pizza-evaluating venture, where he tried more than 100 pizzas – rating them all in great detail on Instagram and Twitter. The News' Andrew Galarneau wrote a feature to explain more about SexySlices' undertaking.