The potato chip eaters of Greater Philadelphia have spoken.
Inspired by the signature delicacy at Corropolese Italian Bakery & Deli Bakery in Montgomery County, the tomato pie chip has been crowned Herr’s best “Flavored by Philly” variety of 2023.
The winning flavor, per the snack brand, “delivers an explosion of flavors, from the juicy sweetness of ripe tomatoes to the aromatic blend of herbs and spices topped off with Romano cheese” — a “taste experience that will transport snack enthusiasts to the heart of Philadelphia’s food culture.”
Thousands of chip enthusiasts voted online to determine the winner in a face-off between three Philadelphia-themed flavors produced by the Chester County-based chip company, all of which hit shelves in June.
The other contenders? A Roast Pork Sandwich chip inspired by South Philly’s John’s Roast Pork — which tasted uncannily like the dish it aimed to emulate — and a Korean BBQ Wings chip, modeled off the wings at Mike’s BBQ, also in South Philly.
The first iteration of the annual Flavored by Philly competition happened last year, when the “Long Hots & Provolone” chip bested two other locally-themed chips, “Wiz Wit” (cheesesteak) and “215 Special Sauce” (salt, pepper, ketchup).
This year, the contest sought out ideas tied to specific local food purveyors — with cash prizes not only for the person who came up with the flavor, but also for the business that inspired it.
Corropolese Italian Bakery took home $10k for its victory, and David Gilmartin of Royersford scored $5k for the idea. Mike’s BBQ and John’s Roast Pork are getting $2.5k each, and their nominators each get a $1k prize.
The local business bent seems to have proven popular for customers. While last year’s contest drew over 11,000 voters, this year had over 17,600.
A close contest, but ‘tomatotastic’ continues to win out
In a press release, CEO Ed Herr called the competition “closely contested.” Herr’s spokesperson Nicole Fenner declined to provide an exact breakdown of how many votes each chip got.
Whatever the numbers were, it’s not surprising the results were apparently close — Billy Penn hosted a newsroom taste test in July, and all three flavors proved polarizing. Participants just barely voted Tomato Pie the top chip for “overall enjoyment,” while Roast Pork nabbed winning scores in originality and accuracy to the dish it was trying to emulate.
Tomato Pie attracted some enthusiastic lovers and fervent haters. A fan labeled the chip “tomatotastic,” while taste testers who were less fond of it noted a strong, off-putting smell.
When our colleagues learned Tomato Pie had won the contest, reactions ranged from “NOOOOOOOOOOO” to “YESSSS TOMATO PIE 4EVER.”
“This is ludicrous,” a member of WHYY’s community engagement team wrote. “Roast pork absolutely slapped.”
One person reacted with mild confusion. “I thought the tomato pie chips tasted okay,” a WHYY broadcast engineer wrote. “I just didn’t know why I needed to have a potato chip that tasted like tomato pie.”
Maybe there are some other people out there for whom a Tomato Pie chip is a need — but unfortunately for them, this chip (and all the other Flavored by Philly contenders) is limited edition.
Fenner, the Herr’s spokesperson, offered a tiny glimmer of hope, though: “You never know in the future with their popularity this could change.”