Ah yes, it’s that time again. Spring is in the air, and some of the greatest contenders out there are preparing for the big March tournament, one that could cement them into the annals of history forever. I’m not talking about college basketball here. No, this is something far more important, prestigious, and universal: the Doughboys’ 2022 Munch Madness Tournament of Chompions.
Comedians Mike Mitchell and Nick Wiger, also known as Spoonman/Mr. Slice and Burger Boy, respectively, have been reviewing chain restaurants on their weekly podcast, Doughboys, since May 2015. A typical episode features guests ranging from comedians to musicians to journalists to Mitchell’s childhood friends from Quincy, Massachusetts, each week reviewing a different chain restaurant and awarding a final score on a “five forks” scale. The top-rated restaurants enter the Golden Plate Club (or Platinum Plate Club, as the case may be), while the worst ones simply live on in infamy, never to be eaten on the show again.
The podcast is a hilarious and unpretentious look at the world of fast food and chain restaurants, and over the years the series has not only built a devoted following but its own impressive lore. Recurring bits and segments get more and more complicated and insidery as episodes go on, one such highlight being the annual Munch Madness: Tournament of Chompions.
Since 2016, Mitchell and Wiger have chosen a different category for Munch Madness each year, putting very specific rules in place as to which chain restaurants can qualify to compete in a bracket-style tournament. The winners are competing for the coveted (and very real) Dave Thomas Cup. Some years are much more comprehensive than others (looking at you, Mac Attack, which had 64 entries going head to head). Along the way there were plenty of snubs and surprises that even the chain restaurant experts couldn’t have predicted.
Here’s a look at the winners so far:
- 2016 Burger Brawl, best burger: In-N-Out
- 2017 Chicken Fight, best chicken meal: Wendy’s
- 2018 The Slice Is Right, best slice of cheese pizza: Domino’s
- 2019 Mouth of the Border, best tacos and burritos: Taco Bell
- 2020 Mac Attack, single best McDonald’s menu item: fries
- 2021 Pie Noon, best dessert: Dairy Queen
The official name of this year’s competition is Munch Madness 2022: The Tournament of Chompions: Hero’s Journey: Sub-Optimal (brevity is not the Doughboys’ strong suit). This year Mitchell and Wiger are inviting guests to help them find the best sandwich across the chain restaurant landscape. “Whose grinders are finer? And whose subs are sub-par?” Wiger asks in one of his patented dramatic intro readings.
While there are many rules (some might say too many) for each tournament, here are a few key ones this time around, as quoted from Doughboys:
- “Sandwiches only! Sides stay on the sidelines, drinks are in the stink, chips get the slip, cookies are ookie, and soup’s OFF.”
- “If it’s national, it’s rational: Chains must have locations across the US. This also excludes local LA chains.”
- “We run hot and cold: judging must be based on one hot sandwich and one cold sandwich from each eatery.”
The eight chains competing to be the chompion this year are:
- Charleys Philly Steaks
- Firehouse Subs
- Jersey Mike’s
- Jimmy John’s
- Panera Bread
Which sandwich spot do you want to see as the winner? Any glaring omissions from the tournament list? Let us know in the comments, then tune into Doughboys to see who reigns supreme.