Jim ‘N Nick’s wins state title in BBQ contest

MONTGOMERY- Facebook fans selected Birmingham-based Jim ‘N Nick’s over Sam’s of Montgomery by a vote of 4,055 to 3,629 in a competition to pick the state’s favorite barbecue restaurant. Some 81,000 votes were cast during the past 4 weeks in a tournament style bracket that mirrored the collegiate basketball championship that’s decided tonight.

Alabama Tourism Department’s Brian Jones said Jim ‘N Nick’s owner Nick Pihakis will receive the championship trophy during a live presentation on WBRC-Fox 6 in Birmingham on Tuesday morning.

To make it to the championship round Jim ‘N Nick’s beat Archibald’s in Northport in the first round of 32, Full Moon in Birmingham in the Sweet 16 and  Dreamland in Tuscaloosa in the Elite Eight. More than 14,000 votes were cast in the Final Four round when Jim ‘N Nick’s edged out Decatur’s Big Bob Gibson by a vote of 7,171 to 6,981.

Sam’s advanced to the championship by beating Champ’s in Wetumpka in the first round of 32, Byron’s Smokehouse in Auburn in the Sweet 16, Lannie’s in Selma in the Elite Eight and Mobile’s The Shed in the Final Four round.

The social media contest started with the top 32 most popular Alabama barbecue restaurants out of 182 different nominations from Facebook and Twitter users. These restaurants were then divided into four geographic regions and matched up into different voting brackets.  Every few days beginning on March 11 a new series of brackets went live for fans to vote on at Facebook.com/AlabamaFood.

Jones said the goal of the contest was to showcase the state’s barbecue restaurants during The Year of Alabama Food. “This contest gave people a chance to vote and even make comments about why a certain place was their favorite. Barbecue is a part of our culture in Alabama and folks can get really passionate about it. This was our way of recognizing that and helping drive business to all of these great restaurants.”

You can learn more about Alabama culinary destinations and events at www.yearofalabamafood.com.