All dough, no pizza!
– review of the festival at War Memorial Auditorium (Fort Lauderdale).
The inaugural Pizza Feast came to the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, April 1st. This is a day laden with humor and practical jokes, but those that attended the Pizza Fest found that the joke was on them. There was a huge cascade effect of problems, because of the number of attendees versus the number of food vendors and their outflow of quality food.
Pizza Fest in its self is a remarkable idea. There was one of the longest lines I’ve seen with thousands of people single filed just waiting to enter. Unfortunately, when they did enter they got stuck in another long file line that literally took hours. The time would’ve been worth it for a vast supply of great pizza samplings, but there was only five different pizza vendors. These vendors were in over their heads. It was impossible to serve so many people so quickly so what they did was cut corners. The pizzas coming out were the size of two fingers and some had barely a thimble of sauce on them.
You paid $30 for four tickets, which gave you four slices and some drink tickets. Mellow Mushroom, one of the vendors had actual sized slices, but when I gave them a ticket they gave me a slice the size of my thumb and said normal slices were $4 more. That was unfair and especially after waiting so long for it.
The pizza selection was very scarce but some were rather good. The best selection at Pizza Fest was a Hawaiian Pizza made by Sarpino’s with a pepperoni pizza from the Dough Boys a close second, which came with a garlic knot and Pie-Zan’s served a decent classic New York style pizza.
To help deal with the lines and entertain, they did have a good live band playing. There were also other non-pizza fixing to munch on like PDQ’s chicken strips, Krave’s awesome Beef Jerky, Hoffman’s Chocolate and their $10 chocolate pizza, some great veggies from Fresh Meal Plan and the ever so tasty Nice Cream Food Truck.
It would’ve been great if the festival had more themed events like a pizza box making contest or a pizza dough freestyle competition…even a prize for the best pizza outfit, especially considering the amount of people dressed for the festival.
The other half of Pizza Fest was the drinks. Although, many of the kegs ran out before the festival ended we were able to sample quite a few like Funky Buddha Beer, Holy Mackerel and Concrete Beach Brewery. The best drinks from Pizza Fest though went to Not Your Father’s Root Beer, The Keg King, Mr. Q Cumber beverage, the tastiest Milagro Tequila and the kick you on the floor Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey.
After Pizza Fest ended there was an onslaught of unhappy people on social media and event organizer Lais Pontes apologized and said; “As a first-year festival, there were certainly growing pains. The massive success in attendance caused lines at the door, often seen at other high-volume and popular events. In addition, there were several food vendors that did not show, which caused longer than anticipated food lines and less variety than expected.”
Well, this year’s inaugural Pizza Fest was far from being successful, but with thousands of people there and hungry, you know that this is an idea worth keeping. Hopefully next time the supply will meet the demand and Lais Pontes will deliver.