One of the most popular topics on YouTube and other video streaming platforms is food.
Food is ingrained in our daily lives. Every culture has its own unique recipes and ingredients.
Pizza is one of the most popular foods in America and other countries across the world. There are dozens of different styles, hundreds of different toppings, and endless arguments on which are the best.
One channel on YouTube has turned the humble pizza into a viral phenomenon. One Bite Reviews, launched by Dave Portnoy, has nearly a million subscribers and receives nearly 20 million views per month.
Who is Dave Portnoy?
Dave “El Presidente” Portnoy is the owner and founder of Barstool Sports. Portnoy has grown Barstool from a small time sports paper to a worldwide sports brand that not only includes sports news and stats, but now has a sports book, merchandise company, and has ventured into sports promotion.
Still, Portnoy has been quoted saying he gets recognized more for his “One Bite Pizza Reviews” than he does for anything else his business encompasses. His catch phrase “One bite, everybody knows the rules” can be heard mimicked in just about every major city’s pizza joints.
Ten years ago, Portnoy and a coworker discussed the age-old question: if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat? His enthusiasm for pizza has turned into a social media platform with over 1200 pizza reviews to date.
His review format is unique in that he bases his rating off just his first bite of the pie. This novelty, along with Portnoy’s larger than life personality, have catapulted him to the top of food pop culture.
The single bite concept effectively turns reviewing competitive as viewers and pizzeria owners squabble over the accuracy and fairness of his representation of their product. The comments sections are always enthusiastic.
His connections to the sports and entertainment world also facilitate frequent guest stars on his channel, offering up their favorite local pizza joints for Portnoy’s one bite scrutiny.
Portnoy expanded his reviews to frozen pizzas, hot pockets and bagel bites throughout the 2020-2021 pandemic lockdowns.
Taking Pizza Viral
The pizza review videos have taken on a life of their own. As a result of the discussion with his coworker, Portnoy began eating pizza for all three meals a day in earnest.
After a few days, he began rating the pizza for other coworkers, and the rest is history.
Portnoy’s reviews have grown to be so popular, the effect they have on local business is significant.
One business, a small Ohio pizza bar on the University of Toledo campus, saw its restaurant’s popularity boom after Portnoy declared it “the best college campus pizza I’ve ever had”.
The video, which racked up over a million views across Portnoy’s platforms, caused the Stubborn Brother pizza bar to receive so many carry-out orders, it had to shut its doors early after running out of ingredients.
A message on the locked front door read: “We are closed for the evening. We have sold out of pizza for the day. We are sorry for the inconvenience and look forward to seeing you back soon.”
It was signed “8.1” in reference to the rating Portnoy gave the restaurant.
Allegations of Sexual Misconduct
Though his pizza reviews are highly favored, Portnoy himself has been subject to numerous accusations from women regarding “rough and violent sex.”
Portnoy has vehemently denied the accusations, and the allegations have never been proven, but that hasn’t stopped his critics. Occasionally hecklers disrupt his filming, which Portnoy believes only helps the videos get more views.
In one such video at La Capricciosa Brick Oven Pizza in Greenport, a woman calls him a “rape apologist” and goes on a verbal rampage.
“You’re a f–king jerk. Zoom in on him, and see how f–king soulless he is,” she shouts.
Goading her on, Portnow asks, “Why do you say that?”
She spits back, “Because I’ve seen the s–t that you write and also your anti-union bulls–t is disgusting.”
The woman was referencing a 2019 incident in which Portnoy threatened to fire any employee who discussed unionizing “on the spot.”
After a couple more back-and-forths, the woman leaves Portnoy with, “You’re f–king ugly, by the way,” before storming off.
Portnoy is currently suing the publication that originated the accusations against him for defamation.