Ten days. Thirty-two places. Nearly 32,000 votes in total, and more than 1,500 unique individuals voting. But in the end, only one pizza place in the Bangor area could be named the readers’ choice for our BDN Bangor-area pizza bracket. And only one place could be named the judges’ choice, out of the final four.

There were lots of tough decisions, but those who voted ended up making it clear: the readers’ choice was Pat’s Pizza, which has Bangor-area locations in Hampden, Holden and at its original spot in Orono. It edged out Bangor’s Fairmount Market by more than 200 votes. Many congratulations to Pat’s Pizza — after nearly seven decades of serving pizza to Mainers, you’ve certainly figured out the magic recipe.

We knew we needed to go beyond the bracket, however. And so, we also decided to do a taste test of our final four readers’ choice winners, and have judges choose a winner from those: Pat’s Pizza, Fairmount Market, Tesoro in Bangor and Mason’s Brewing in Brewer.

A pizza to be judged in the final BDN pizza bracket challenge. Four competitors remained for the final and the pizzas were judged by Rep. Laura Supica, Brother Don from Friar’s Brewhouse and BDN reporter John Holyoke. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

We chose a pepperoni pizza from each of the four locations — we figured that pepperoni is a classic type of pizza, and one that anyone (aside from vegetarians and vegans) could get behind. We recruited three judges who evaluated each pie based on three aspects — crust, sauce and toppings. They rated each on a scale of one to 10, for a maximum of 90 points for each pie. The pie with the highest cumulative score was named the judges’ choice.

Each of our three judges brought a unique perspective to the table. Prior to being elected to public office, Laura Supica, a Democrat who represents part of Bangor in the Maine House, worked in the food and beverage industry for over a decade, in both Maine and California, doing everything from waiting tables and bartending to selling cheese and wine. This summer, she’ll return to her service industry roots when she goes to work in a Bar Harbor restaurant for the season.

Brother Don from Friar’s Bakehouse looks at the under side of the crust on a slice of pizza during the final judging in the BDN pizza bracket challenge. Four competitors remained for the final and the pizzas were judged by Laura Supica, Brother Don and BDN reporter John Holyoke. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Though Brother Donald Paul is a Franciscan friar first and foremost, he’s also a trained chef, a gifted baker, and a restaurateur and brewmaster. He and his fellow friars operate Friars’ Brewhouse in Bucksport, where he creates dishes that honor his Franco-American heritage and his love for pan-European cuisine, and he brews up some mean ales, lagers and porters. Prior to opening the Bucksport location, the friars ran Friars’ Bakehouse on Central Street in downtown Bangor.

And John Holyoke, outdoors editor for the Bangor Daily News, is known statewide for his long-running column about Maine’s great outdoors. Most people don’t know, however, that before he became a journalist, Holyoke worked in a Bangor-area pizza shop, where he learned how to toss pizza dough in the air, and honed his taste for old-fashioned, no-frills pizza.

So whom did the judges pick?

Brother Don from Friar’s Brewhouse gets a slice of pizza during the final judging in the BDN pizza bracket challenge. Four competitors remained for the final and the pizzas were judged by Rep. Laura Supica (left), Brother Don and BDN reporter John Holyoke (right). Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

In fourth place, with 48 points out of 90, was Tesoro. In third, and very nearly tied with fourth, was Pat’s Pizza, with 49 points. In second place, with 51 points, was Fairmount Market. And the winner, with a whopping 73 points, was Mason’s Brewing, which the judges praised for its crispy crust, flavorful sauce and top-quality, tasty toppings.

Congratulations to all our winners, and our heartfelt thanks to everybody who participated in our bracket challenge. We had a lot of fun over the past 10 days.

If we do this again, what type of food should we choose? And where in Maine should we focus? Let us know in the comments.

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.