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Free-For-All Friday: The Iowa City Eat-A-Palooza Bracket Reveal

The votes are in, now it’s time for the selection show. We’re breaking down the entire Iowa City Eat-A-Palooza bracket, as voted on by you!

JPinIC: Oh Jerry, we’re here. The day we’ve all been waiting for. It’s Selection Sunday Friday. Now, I know we don’t have all the fancy production value of a big, burgeoning business that needs to lay off half its staff like an ESPN, but we have charisma, baby.

Hello Jerry: RIP to John Clayton and one of the best ESPN commercials they’ve ever created/aired. Can’t wait to see him on NFL Network. He deserved better than the eight hour Matthew Berry Sunday Football Countdown/Fantasy Focus disaster they’re probably creating as we type.

JPinIC: I have to hand it to the people on this one, they did a hell of a job and got out the vote. Things shot out of the gates last Friday and after a bit of a taper while people watched Iowa win a Big Ten Championship, we saw a strong finish. I have so many questions here: Who will be the number one overall? Did Bluebird complete the comeback to take down Hamburg as the 1 seed in the Breakfast region? Which great establishments didn’t make the cut in the Lunch and Dinner regions?

Jerry, I need to see this bracket buddy.

Hello Jerry: You want it, you got it: (Please read all of the following in your best Greg Gumbel voice) In the Breakfast Region, we have…..

The fighting brunch of Iowa River Power facing off with the drip coffee and pastry deliciousness of Java House in the First Four match up.

Hello Jerry: Man, my fellow English Majors really showed up to get Java House in the bracket. I’m 85% sure that EPB students keep Java House in business.

JPinIC: And in the lunch region...

It’s tasty PBRs of The Mill taking on their new (undead) neighbor Zombie Burger.

Hello Jerry: I still have no idea what a Zombie Burger is. Is this place really that good? Do I need to stop in when I come into IC this year? What do I get there? Are there burgers named after characters from The Walking Dead? If not, I feel like that’s a huge missed opportunity. I would eat the shizzzzz out of a Daryl’s Crossbow Bison Burger.

JPinIC: I’ve not been to the Iowa City location, because kids, but I will say I’ve tested the Des Moines variety and it lives up to the hype. I believe there are some constraints placed on the IC franchise which may be limiting the potential (and a longer track record probably would’ve helped them garner some votes) but I would never count out something you can’t readily kill.

Hello Jerry: Good one...

JPinIC: And now for the play-in game in the Dinner Region.

We have Micky’s taking on the new kid on the block, Pullman. I have a feeling this isn’t the last time we see Micky’s on this bracket given their versatility of menu.

And in the final play-in game, in the Other Region...

It’s the sugary goodness of Molly’s Cupcakes going up against the drunken staple that is George’s Gyro Cart. A couple of totally different styles here, I’ll be interested to see how this one plays out.

Hello Jerry: Diving in to the rest of the bracket, here’s a look at the full Breakfast region slate:


Absolutely erroneous. ERRONEOUS!

JPinIC: #BurgIsTheWord #Number2InNameOnly

And in the 2 v. 7 matchup:

Bluebird takes it’s rightful place in second, taking on one of my sleeper picks, Hurts Donuts. Mmmmmm, donuts.

Hello Jerry: Can I hire someone to stand outside of Hamburg with a Bluebird Diner sign when we ultimately show down with Cramburg? I’m only half joking. I want this victory more than I probably should.

JPinIC: And on the 3 line we see the bagel king, Bruegger’s. They’ll be taking on Village Inn.

Hello Jerry: Hey JP, what do you call a bagel that can fly?

JPinIC: This is going to be so dumb, but I’m a dad in search of improved dad joke game, so hit me with it...

Hello Jerry: A Plain Bagel! Bruegger’s is going to annihilate that fake diner and their expired pies.

And rounding out the Breakfast Region, we have...

A 4-5 matchup between a couple of Iowa classics. Casey’s Pizza will face off with Hy-Vee Breakfast for the title of most Iowa breakfast spot in Iowa City.

This is the match up the BHGP readers deserved.

JPinIC: Moving to the Lunch region...

Former Hawkeye Nate Kaeding’s Short’s Burger and Shine comes away with the 1 seed. They’ll take on the winner of that First Four matchup between The Mill and Zombie Burger.

Hello Jerry: Can you ship Zombie Burgers across the country like you can do for Lou Malnati’s pizza?

On the 2-line we see The Vine (Iowa City location? Coralville location? You choose!). They’ll be taking on the 7 seed Micky’s in their second appearance on the bracket.

JPinIC: Wig and Pen makes their debut as the 3 seed in the Lunch Region. They’ll face off against Quinton’s in a battle of dual-citizens of Iowa City and Coralville.

And in the final matchup of the Lunch Region...

We get our only barbecue joint, Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack. I know there will be some disappointed Pop’s and Mosley’s fans out there. Jimmy Jack’s will take on what is pretty clearly the best pizza place in Iowa City, Pagliai’s.

Hello Jerry: Falbo’s would like a word...

And now for the Dinner Region:

In a shocking development, a different pizza joint, Wig and Pen, comes in as the 1 seed. They will await the winner of Micky’s and Pullman.

JPinIC: In the 2-7 matchup, The Vine makes their second appearance and will take on a real dark horse (and dark logo) in Big Grove. Big Grove, as you may recall, started in Solon, but now has a massive brewery and restaurant with live music on Gilbert Street in Iowa City. They’re new, but a name to watch here.

And in the 3-6 matchup we get the return of Pagliai’s as they take on an Iowa City staple in Atlas. I was a little surprised Atlas didn’t make the cut in the Lunch Region, we’ll see if they can make some noise in the Dinner Region.

Hello Jerry: Wait... ATLAS made it over Saloon? Is this a joke? What is wrong with people? Do you not like Queso and the best Sangria in the state of Iowa (A little advice for those that are just as upset as I am over this bubble snub: Ask your lovely waiter or waitress to mix the red and the white together. You can thank me later.)? Do you not enjoy the Chicken Fajitas and that delectable garlic sauce or the ability to create your own Tex-Mex Burrito? Do you not like Karaoke while eat? I don’t understand this. I don’t understand how Atlas (which only has one good thing on the menu... the Buffalo Wrap) made it over Saloon.

I’m disappointed. Extremely disappointed.

JPinIC: And in the final pairing of the Dinner Region...

It’s Short’s making their second appearance, taking on the Coralville resident 30Hop and their rooftop happy hour.

Hello Jerry: And finally, we move to the Other Region (the best region):

And there it is folks, your number 1 seed overall, the guilty pleasure of every drunken college kid (and Iowa tailgater) since the beginning of time: Pancheros. They’ll take on the winner of the matchup between Molly’s Cupcakes and George’s Gyros.

JPinIC: In the 2-7 matchup, we get one of a number of pizza joints in Falbo Bros. They’ll take on a different un-dead opponent: Pita Pit, which is no longer in existence. Like I said, never count out an opponent who can’t be killed.

Hello Jerry: UMMMM... “one of a number of pizza joints”? I think you mean the ONLY pizza joint that matters in this bracket. Sooooo many memories waiting in that line early in the morning.

Speaking of un-dead...

JPinIC: Whitey’s Ice Cream is no longer in Iowa City, but that didn’t stop the Coral Ridge Mall location from taking home the 3 seed in the Other Region. They’ll take on our second pizza option in this region, Gumby’s.

Hello Jerry: Now Gumby’s is “one of a number of pizza joints”. I still can’t believe the disrespect you just showed Falbo’s.

Anyways, we have the last pairing of the bracket...

It’s a couple of cheesy, drunken staples that have no business in your daylight dining experience: Marco’s Grilled Cheese Cart faces off with Mesa Pizza. This is going to be a good one folks.

JPinIC: So there you have it. We made it!

Now, for those that couldn’t follow along or didn’t write out the bracket on their own, here’s the full bracket:

Some notable exclusions from the bracket include my personal favorite dinner spot, Chop House, as well as Graze brunch buffet.

Hello Jerry: NO CHICKEN LIPS FOR ANY OF YOU. I hope you’re all haunted by that creepy chicken they send around the Ped Mall for the rest of time for this.

JPinIC: I love Whitey’s as much as the next guy, but the closure of the Iowa City location (the only one is now in the Coral Ridge Mall) has taken some of the charm out of it for me so I don’t love how highly ranked it is with Heyn’s, the true Iowa City champion, sitting on the outside looking in.

Who are you surprised to see left out? Any seeding’s really shock you? Let us know. Oh and while you’re at it, print out the bracket and send us pictures of who you got winning it all @JPinIC_BHGP, @JerryScherwin, and @BHGP.

Voting is now open for the first four matchups so please take a minute to vote for your choice in each region and be on the look out for some resumes for your favorite restaurants this week!