Fredericton pizzeria serves up a taste of victory

·3 min read
Fadi’s Pizza and Donair was voted New Brunswick’s top pizza place in an online voting contest this week.  (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)
Fadi’s Pizza and Donair was voted New Brunswick’s top pizza place in an online voting contest this week. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)

It took weeks and was often hotly contested, but a pizza place on Fredericton's north side is the last restaurant standing in an online effort to name the province's best pizza restaurant.

Fadi's Pizza and Donair won the popular vote on Twitter and was crowned New Brunswick's favourite on Tuesday.

"Very, very happy — we did not expect this, we love all the support that we got," said co-owner Hiyam El-Tahhan.

It may not have been the most scientific poll, but the pizza shop beat out 63 other places from around the province to take the honours.

Tournament organizer Rob Hoadley started the quest to find New Brunswick's favourite pizza place last month when he tweeted a poll with just four pizzerias to choose from.

The poll stirred controversy among his nearly 1,800 followers.

"And I started hearing right away that, 'Hey, you didn't pick this place, you didn't pick this place, you've never eaten here,' and it just exploded all over me," Hoadley said.

Fadi's Pizza and Donair owners Tania and Hiyam El-Tahhan said the pizzeria has loyal customers.
Fadi's Pizza and Donair owners Tania and Hiyam El-Tahhan said the pizzeria has loyal customers. (Gary Moore/CBC)

So he decided to have some fun, and try to pin down the province's favourite place to order a pie.

And for the past five weeks, people voted in a weekly head-to-head style competition, inspired by the NCAA's March Madness tournament bracket.

"I'll be honest, I didn't think anyone was going to care," Hoadley laughed.

But quite the opposite happened, and as the weeks went by voting heated up as 64 pizzerias were whittled down to the final four.

The restaurant owners got involved and promoted the tournament on their social media pages.

And passionate pizza lovers tuned into Hoadley's twitter feed every Tuesday for the weekly round of voting.

The owners of Fadi's Pizza and Donairs didn't even know about it until there were just 16 shops remaining.

But then they got on board, and started promoting the contest.

Rob Hoadley organized a tournament-style competition starting with 64 pizzerias around New Brunswick to find the province's favorite pizza place.
Rob Hoadley organized a tournament-style competition starting with 64 pizzerias around New Brunswick to find the province's favorite pizza place.(Gary Moore/CBC)

"We believe in our pizza," El-Tahhan said.

El-Tahhan and her sister-in-law, Tania, believe in Fadi's pizza so much, they bought the business and re-opened it a year ago after the previous owner closed down.

Neither of the women worked at the shop, but they loved the food so much they re-opened the doors with the same recipes.

"The north side is not the north side without Fadi's Pizza and Donair," she said, calling the business a local institution.

And because of Hoadley's tournament, Fadi's popularity has expanded beyond the city's north side.

Hoadley said one of the benefits of the contest is he now has a massive list of pizzerias to try all around the province, but he also hopes some of the businesses can capitalize on the momentum gained over the last few weeks.

"I really hope that this viral attention that's happened in New Brunswick, that some of these pizzerias across the province can use that and generate a little bit of business for themselves," he said.

But, Hoadley said he doesn't plan on organizing another pizza tournament in the future.