No matter how you slice it, Super Bowl, pizza go hand in hand

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PITTSFIELD — If you're going to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday at a Berkshire County house party, it's a good bet that pizza will be on the menu.

Sales of the cheesy favorite tend to explode on Super Bowl Sunday. A study from Under Armor's My Fitness Pal in 2016 found that, nationally, 67 percent more pizza is eaten on Super Bowl Sunday than on the average day.

And that's saying a lot: Americans eat about 100 acres of pizza daily, which averages out to 350 slices per second, according to pizzajoint.com.

Super Bowl Sunday traditionally has been the biggest pizza day of the year, although, according to the Under Armor study, it was surpassed by Halloween two years ago (the least amount of pizza is consumed on Thanksgiving).

Pizza was also recently ranked fourth among the 15 most popular Super Bowl party foods by the website The Daily Meal. It trailed only chicken wings, Buffalo chicken dip, and chips and dip, which were ranked first through third, respectively.

This orgy of pizza eating extends to the Berkshires, too. Sales at independently owned Berkshire pizza places don't approach those national numbers on Super Bowl Sunday, but owners say they do see a bump in business, especially when the New England Patriots are in the game.

At Papa Joe's Ristorante & Pizzeria in Pittsfield, extra delivery drivers, and additional kitchen staff, are brought in to deal with the rush on the big day.

"I have six or seven in the kitchen, and four or five drivers," said Sherry Colombari of Papa Joe's.

"Other days are way bigger," Colombari said. "But our sales are pretty good, though. We do twice as much, probably three times as much. We do wings, too."

"Last year, we did really well," Colombari said. "Sales were up by 35 percent."

This is the 10th time in the Super Bowl's 52 year history that the Patriots have qualified for the NFL's title game, and the eighth time with Tom Brady at quarterback. The Pats are also appearing in Sunday's big game for the third time in four years and are going for their second consecutive championship. In New England, that run of excellence means a lot more pizzas will be sold.

"If the Patriots are in the Super Bowl, it's busier," said Peter Varellas, who has owned the Adams Pizza House in Adams for 20 years. "If it's not the Patriots, it's somewhat like a normal day."

Varellas said business on Super Bowl Sunday is typically 15 to 20 percent higher than on a normal Sunday but has been as much as 40 percent greater when the Pats are in the game.

Local businesses like the Adams Pizza House often face competition from national pizza chains on Super Bowl Sunday, because those businesses tend to offer promotions that day, he said. But he has loyal customers.

"But we just keep our loyal fan base, and they basically choose to stay with us," he said. "Mostly, they like our pizza. It's genuine. We make it fresh daily."

Tony Vivaldi, who operates Vivaldi's Pizza in Lee and Pittsfield, said sales at his stores on Super Bowl Sunday are usually 40 to 50 percent higher than on a regular Sunday. Like Papa Joe's, Vivaldi's will have extra delivery drivers Sunday, with two more expected to work. Sales are better at his restaurant in Pittsfield than in Lee because the population is greater, Vivaldi said.

"Everybody is home relaxing, so it's more busy because of the Super Bowl," Vivaldi said.

Pepperoni pizzas are a big seller on Super Bowl Sunday, said Vivaldi, who also sells wings. At Papa Joe's, a Super Bowl Sunday favorite is the Mama Joe, which contains a potpourri of toppings, including tomato, bacon, sweet and Italian sausage, onions, mushrooms and green peppers, Colombari said.

At Manhattan Pizza in Great Barrington, owner Hamilton Periera said sales on Super Bowl Sunday tend to go up and down "depending on what time the game is."

"We do enough deliveries," he said. "But a lot of people come in and pick it up."

One place that doesn't provide delivery service is South Street Pizza in Pittsfield, which has been open since 1975. Jim Daniello, who co-owns the restaurant with Christian Coti, said the absence of delivery service might affect Super Bowl sales.

"For us, it's kind of hit or miss," said Daniello who has owned the business with Coti for 3 1/2 years. "It's not something we've seen so much. ... Hopefully, we'll do 20 or 30 percent more (in sales).

"It's hard to say when we're going to be busy or not," he said. "Sometimes, it's busy out of nowhere. It's kind of weird."

Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or at (413) 496-6224.


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