Did you go to Boston Pizza Festival?

Did you enjoy it? Was it worth the price?


Organizers of Boston Pizza Festival face heat for event organization

How long would you wait for a pizza? Thousands of people found out the hard way in Boston Saturday afternoon when they flooded the city for a pizza festival.

Thousands of people packed the first-ever Boston Pizza Festival at City Hall Plaza, but the crowds were so large that it overwhelmed staff.

Organizer Raffaele Scalzi said it was overwhelming.

Bradley was disappointed:



Free tagging: 



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Why would anyone pay $40 for an entrance fee to anything??

Phantom Gourmet Event

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I remember getting comp passes from work for some Phantom Gourmet event at City Hall Plaza years ago (fairly expensive passes, if I remember correctly) and I never figured out the value of the actual passes. It was just a collection of food trucks and tents with normally priced offerings and no samples or entertainment.

But at least it wasn't overly crowded or poorly organized. It was just an odd event that wouldn't have been worth the price of admission.

Re: Dave-from-Boston

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Ha! No, actually doing quite well between the police pension and all of the Section 8's. Life is good! If I wanted a good pizza and a crowd, I would have gotten takeout from Santarpio's for $9.90 and eaten it while watching the lines at Government Center.

$15 tickets, not $40

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$40 was for the "VIP" ticket, whatever that means.

This moron showed up at 7PM for a festival that starts at 11AM. It's also two days, not one...


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20 min line to get in. Once inside, hoards of people everywhere. It was set up terribly (why have all that space and have all the vendors in tiny rows?), and huge lines for everything. The beer line (yes, line bc there was only 1 major beer tent), had to be over 200 people long. We spent $30 on advanced tickets, lasted 25-30 mins in there, and got a slice each of bertucci's pizza. Not what we had anticipated.

On their Facebook page,

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On their Facebook page, people are comparing the Pizza Festival to the Fyre Festival. Remember reading about that Caribbean nightmare?

Personally, I was turned off when realizing that the $20 admission charge didn't even get you any pizza. Not even Trump Pizza.


I considered it but seeing as how there was an entry fee in addition to the cost of "tasting" slices and the predictable long lines, it seemed like a pass.

Too bad because it's a good idea. If they dropped the cover charge and made it a regular thing I could see it being popular and fun.

Exactly with both of you

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If you got, say, two slices (and maybe a drink ticket, too) with the outlandish door charge it'd at least make it a little better. But $20 day-of tickets for entry into what's otherwise public land? No thanks.

Edit: hours later I realized I butchered the H out of my subject line.


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i was there. I love pizza. I will never go again. The people who purchased tickets in advanced had a larger line than those purchasing tickets at the door. The pizza vendors were cramped together by the door with lines for each one going in all directions. No way to tell what line to get in for what. There were suppose two be samples and $2 slices. I saw no samples and was charged $3 for 2 of the 3 slices I could get. I saw no food inspectors. The 3 slices I got were nothing special. They bragged about the tickets that were sold in advanced so they should have known how to control it better.

Amateur Hour

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Amateur Hour at the Plaza. Cmon Walsh

Compare to beer festivals

Those do get crowded, but they use the advance ticket system to limit the number of people in the venue to a specific number per shift. There tend to be 3-4 such shifts of a weekend day.

Sounds like they did not have a pre-set or enforced limit on the number of people, which is strange for a city hall plaza event. Somebody dropped the ball on setting the capacity of the venue.

The last indoor beer fest I

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The last indoor beer fest I went to, and the last I'll ever attend, was in the South End at the cyclorama. Long lines for any of the unusual beers and smelled like puke. I wouldn't say it was beyond capacity crowded, but it was definitely uncomfortably crowded. At least at this pizza event there was fresh air.

About a year and a half ago,

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I went to the extreme beer fest since a friend had an extra ticket (that I gladly paid for since his buddy bailed). While there were long wait lines for certain breweries (Tree House being one of them), the majority weren't too bad and some had no lines at all over the course of the day. For a solid four hours of tasting, I can't say it was some $60 bucks wasted for a beer enthusiast like me. Even ran into a few friends.

Always long lines for Treehouse

Lol - we hit the place on the way to or the way back from taking our son to college. The shortest line that we saw was on the Thursday night that we picked up our car in Millbury and decided to make a run from there. That "short" line made it around 2 1/2 sides of the parking lot!

Can't wait for their new digs in Charlton to come on line.


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I went to that one and it didn't seem oversold at all. The venue's not huge but the lines weren't really all that bad.


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I sure hope the Globe was paid off big time because they've been hyping this thing for weeks. You'd think the Pope was in attendance.

If they were charging $20 per

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If they were charging $20 per person to get in and had sold advanced tickets why were they still selling tickets at the door if they knew they already hit capacity (and they must have known they hit capacity) ???

This was a "Taste of" event but just with Pizza and the ability to buy slices on the side. You don't hear about Taste of events going off the rails like this though.

I suspect it was a combination of too many people due to not limiting tickets and vendors choosing to push slices onto people instead of samples by making the samples harder to get than just buying a slice or just out right not putting the samples out. The solution would be to limit tickets sold online and allowing tickets sold at the door an hour into the event at a discounted price if capacity looks a little light. They also would need to require pizza vendors to have someone in charge of giving out samples and enforce a rule that samples always be available for patrons.

As for tickets, each ticket should come with two slices of pizza which could be be in the form of carnival tickets which can be redeemed at whichever pizza vendor they choose and then the venue pays the vendor back for each ticket handed in.

Samples only for VIP...

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from 11a-12p. General admission ticket-holders weren't entitled to free samples. Free samples were only for the 1 hour prior, no samples were guaranteed after that. (I paid for VIP tix and got plenty of free samples in that hour)


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Great concept, but just too expensive for a family. $80 to get in plus pizza/drinks for the 4 of us. Two large pies @ Papa Gino's is under $30, eaten in the comfort of an air conditioned house.

Trader Joe's also has an

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Trader Joe's also has an awesome Alsatian white pizza (ham, cheese and onions), and a mushroom one (no tomato sauce on that, either). And you can enjoy it the comfort of your own home. To heck with some rip-off festival.

I wonder...

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How much Dominoes would have made if they'd simply parked a food truck outside the gate.

non-profit vs for profit

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Most, not all, "taste of" events are fundraisers for non-profit organizations. The vendors usually donate their time and product.

I have been involved with several of these events over 25+ years; they usually are planned and executed like a fine tuned clock.

It would seem that someone came up with an 'awesome idea' and threw it together. I would guess there was not an event planner involved. I don't know any of the particulars of the business side of this event; but it would seem to have been strictly a for profit event.

It was an awesome idea; but someone bit of more than he could chew. (no pun intended)

Spoiler alert

95% of Boston pizza is trash–and most of the places that are actually good are the ones nobody talks about.

-A native upstate (ours is better than a lot of the City's) New Yorker

oh man

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I was waiting for the cliche "there's nothing good here and I know real _____ because I'm from ______ " comment.

World's foremost pizza experts: Upstate New Yorkers

They are universally acclaimed for their rarified taste (there's something in the waters where they grew up) and extensive travel around the US and overseas, whence their deep, incontrovertible authority on the subject of pizza.

It's why the international prize for great non-trash pizza is called the "Schenectady". If you want great pizza recommendations in Boston or anywhere, start by consulting with someone from Lackawanna or Butternuts, New York.

As A Native Of Troy, I Couldn't Agree More!

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These areas were important transportation corridors in an era when people traveled by train, and later by car. Not only did the best recipes come through, restaurants competed for hungry travelers.

Troy was a major passenger rail hub — connecting Boston, Chicago, Montreal, and New York. Express and frequent DMU trains ran from Boston to Troy's Union Station. Downtown Troy was a huge, regional shopping destination, with hundreds of stores and restaurants.

In addition to the pizza served at the many Italian restaurants in the Albany/Schenectady/Troy area, there were a large number of pizza parlors that specialized in just pizza. All that competition raised the bar, so only the best pizzas could survive. I always said Verdile's had the best pizza anywhere, and they're apparently still surviving quite well.

( my family loved the food at Verdile's so much, I went there before I was even born! )
Back then, it was just the old building on the right, and Mr. and Mrs. Verdile lived upstairs. I remember when the Mid-Century-Modern addition on the left was built. Just like the food, it's construction was top quality — classic!

I haven't been back to Verdile's since my mother died. One day, not long after she moved into an assisted care facility, she asked me to come over and take her out to lunch. She missed being able to drive and loved taking her friends out to dine, but most of them were gone too.

My mother was so happy to be at Verdile's that afternoon! She took a little sip of her Martini and remarked how perfect it was; they knew exactly how she liked them! Glancing around the dining room filled with lunchtime customers, she said everyone looks like they're having such a wonderful time! A instant later, a massive stroke lifted my mother from Verdile's to heaven.
  ( the only place that might possibly have better pizza )

You're better off

sticking to CNY.

And despite the snark from you and Johnny anon troll, there's actually fact to back it up. The Utica area was an epicenter of Italian immigration in the late 1800's into the 30's thanks to its geography and jobs, and many older people migrated upstate from NYC and Jersey as they got older and/or younger family members immigrated there. There was also a very strong mob connection back when thanks to the railroad and industry, which had its own impact.

There isn't much to brag about where I'm from, but we know pizza and Italian food better than many.

Summary from someone who didn't go

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I wouldn't say the Globe had been "hyping this for weeks." They had one story about it on Thursday(?) and that was about it.

In that Globe story the promoters said they had pre-sold 8,000 tickets and hoped to see total attendance around 15,000.

The bottom line here is that this was a new thing, that wasn't well planned and organized and, as such, wasn't much fun.

However, I think it IS a good idea, clearly with some needed tweaks to the admission pricing, line organization and vendor coordination. The organizers were clearly over their heads, but I don't think that makes them bad people, nor do I think it precludes this being held again in the future.

Lastly, I think an admission charge is reasonable if only to know roughly how many people might come and for the organizers to have some up-front cash to pay their bills. Unlike other non-profit fundraisers, this was a for-profit operation. If it's a good (well run) event and people want to pay to attend, I have no problem with using public space to hold it. (Just as it was always fine for Boston Calling to set up there for many years.)

My point about public land

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Wasn't really well argued in my comment. I made it in full awareness of Boston Calling being cited as another similar event as a counter-point. However, it's different. You pay for admission, as well as the product: the shows/music. In this instance, you pay literally just for admission to the otherwise public land and have to cough up extra dough (...leaving that unintentional pun) for the product. Yeah, there's a bunch of food and drink stands at Boston Calling, but like I said, that's not the product that you're getting with the cost of admission. You don't pay for admission and then pay additional money for each show you want to see.

I think the pizza festival idea sounds like a blast. I just also happen to think that the price of admission was a little steep when you have to consider also spending extra money just to get slices. Many food related festivals give you tickets as part of the cost of admission, and it would have been nice to have that sort of incentive from the get go. If you want to spend additional money on more pizza, you can (and I probably would have). I realize that this event costs money, but their regular businesses are also up and running. So while this might have provided a bit more additional overhead cost to attend, they also got another revenue source the festival days.

The Best and Worst of BCH

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I went. After going, in summation: the event displayed the best and worst of BCH planning. I had the fortune of attending the past Diner en Blanc and Boston Calling events at BCH. It showed what was possible regarding space planning, building lights, coordination; et; and what happens when you hire professionals. On the other side of the spectrum, you have the tacky taped lawn on the south side, the blotchy Christmas lights by LAM + Utile, and the coffee kiosk inside by Utile that's falling apart after a few weeks. The Pizza Festival was right in the middle, just like the melting skating pond and little shacks before them. If BCH wants to get this right in the future, either put up the money for professionals, or don't do it at all. Use the council chamber as an example. you hired Finegold Alexander to redo the dreaded chamber. We need more Finegold Alexander, and less Utile.

A Case For Professionals

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Yes with a capital Y. Boston City Hall needs to pay for professionals. Not twenty-somethings with 0 experience or pseudo-design firms that pay peanuts. I noticed the lights in the Utile-designed security barriers had already plopped out. The Pizza festival was just the latest case-study of amateurs superseding the professionals

Give Utile a break! They can

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Give Utile a break! They can only steal so many ideas from Northeastern students and interns to keep their fees low. Cheap ideas from inexperienced people are always going to be poorly detailed.

F+A should be able to a good job and I'd give any architecture firm with experience overhauling academic Brutalist interiors like Bill Rawn, Perry Dean, Bruner Cott, etc. a shot over the myriad of local Corbu cult koolaid drinkers and Sert apologistas.

Allston Library Ripoff + City Hall Plaza World Cup

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Very true, but Utile doesn't stop at NEU interns; UniHub should put up a shot of the new Jamaica Plain BPL Branch by Utile; the 2001 Allston BPL Branch by Machado Silvetti and say "any comments Boston?" In conjunction, the Imagine Boston 2030 Utile report is just 500 pages of community engagement surveys, not a master plan. If any of the community ideas pan out, Utile will take the credit without acknowledging the citizens. Regarding City Hall Plaza: its great for some events but not others . The World Cup venues were awesome. The money was put into a television screen that you could see across the plaza. If Utile was in charge, they would have tried to project the game on a screen and pocket the difference.