Not all burritos are created equal—just ask Nate Silver. Before the statistician extraordinaire accurately predicted the last two presidential elections, the self-described “burritophile” attempted to find Chicago’s best burrito—but Silver never completed his quest.

Now, the Burrito Bracket is back and Silver has his sights set on a far bigger goal: crowning a national burrito champion.

The 64-restaurant, national Burrito Bracket blends “analytics and first-hand experience,” writes Silver on his website, FiveThirtyEight.

The burrito quest has three steps: data mining, the Burrito Selection Committee, and the taste test. The first two steps have already been completed.


There are approximately 67,391 restaurants in the U.S that sell burritos. Silver used the Yelp scores of every burrito restaurant to determine its “Value Over Replacement Burrito (VORB)” score. Theoretically, the better the score, the better the restaurant (that’s not exactly how Yelp scores work—but Silver had to narrow it down somehow).

Next, the Burrito Selection Committee convened. Six burrito experts, including SIlver, Momofuku chef David Chang, and Gustavo ArellanoOC Weekly columnist and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered Americarepresented the different burrito districts (California, Northeast, South, West). Using the VORB scores, the committee narrowed down the 64 finalists.


[Photo: FiveThirtyEight]

And, now, the taste test begins. Journalist Anna Maria Barry-Jester is the Bracket’s taster and official burrito correspondent. Anna will visit each of the 64 restaurants, eat the burritos, document her experiences, and choose one burrito champion in a three-round tournament.

The Burrito Bracket officially begins next week, when Anna will begin posting her reviews on FiveThirtyEight. National burrito supremacy is on the horizon.

[via FiveThirtyEight, Chicagoist]