Rhombus Guys Receives Barstool Pizza Review Bump

Written by: Brady Drake

This is pretty good. Better than I thought it was going to be to be honest. There’s that crunch. It has that cardboard outside. This is pretty good. Pretty good pizza from the Rhombus Guys! I wasn’t expecting much out of North Dakota because when I think of North Dakota I think Ice Hockey, I think winter, I think Fargo even though that could be South Dakota and I think like I don’t know, cold weather and like cows… Pretty good Rhombus Guys. I’m gonna go 6.8. I think this is a really good pizza. It could’ve even been a 7.1. Dave Portnoy’s review of Rhombus Guys pizza

Many restaurants throughout the country rely on reviews to boost their businesses’ reputation, however, few reviews can boost a business like Dave Portnoy’s pizza reviews. Rhombus Guys, a pizza company located in Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota, found that out after receiving a positive review from the Barstool Sports founder on May 3, leading their website to crash that evening due to an influx of visitors. To learn more about how Rhombus Guys pizza ended up in Portnoy’s review, we sat down with Rhombus Guys Owner Matt Winjum.

How did the idea come about to send the pizza to be reviewed by Portnoy?
Matt Winjum: 
I’m familiar with who Dave is and I was familiar with his pizza reviews prior to COVID-19. However, I was not aware that he started doing frozen pizza reviews until it was brought up to me by a few different friends of mine in a short period of time. They urged me to send him something, but I didn’t, originally, think that I had very much time with the way things had been changing due to the pandemic. But, by the third or fourth person, I decided I have to check it out. After watching some of the previous frozen pizza reviews, I decided I should give it a try, but I didn’t know where to go from there.

How do you send a pizza that quickly without it spoiling?
I had no idea where I was supposed to send this pizza or how to get in touch with Portnoy. There was nothing on the Barstool Sports website about how to get him the pizza. So, I asked a friend who had told me that I should do this how to send it and he was able to find the address off of a package during one of Portnoy’s unboxing. Once I had the address, I had to figure out how to send it. I called FedEx and UPS to find out if they had any sort of frozen shipping solutions, neither of them did. So, I reached out to my friend, Jeff Tellman, who owns Red Pepper. Tellman has a contract to ship things overnight at an accelerated rate, so, he was able to help me out. It got to the adress and was signed for about 18 hours later and I didn’t know what was going to happen from there?

Rhombus Guys Owners Aaron Hendricks (left) and Matt Winjum (right)

How realistic did you think it was that your pizza would be reviewed?
My friends didn’t think there was a chance and they knew more about him than me. As the days, went by we thought there was absolutely no chance of it being done. After two weeks, I assumed it was a no go.

Was there any hesitation in sending the pizza? Portnoy has been known to be brutally honest if he doesn’t like a pizza.
Right, the people who were telling me to send it were telling me to watch the review of Jack’s frozen pizza before sending it. And, if you’re familiar with that review, you know he just destroys them. So, I did have a little preparation to send it with not know what would happen. Also, I didn’t know what the quality of the pizza would be after shipping. But, in this bizarre time, I thought it was worth a shot. If anything, it could be some good publicity and if he tears us apart, how much worse could it possibly get. Our store is closed down anyways.

The review seemed to help you out quite a bit though.
Yeah, I was working that night when he put it out and my phone just blew up. That whole night I had over 100 people that I knew texting me the whole night. Clearly a lot of people watch him, so, I knew there would be some sort of bump for us. That night, our website crashed and I got calls from both my Fargo and Grand Forks stores telling me that they’ve been getting phone calls from people all over the country asking them to ship pizzas to them. Since then, we’ve created a Shopify account to allow us to ship our pizzas all over the country. We’ve gotten a bunch of orders from all over. We’re still trying to figure it all out in order to capture some of the publicity and some of the positive hype. We have an agreement with UPS to reduce some of the shipping cost in order to help as well.

Portnoy's frozen pizza rankings after the Rhombus Guys review.
Portnoy’s frozen pizza rankings after the Rhomus Guys review.

Do you have any tips for other businesses for unique marketing during these times?
We started up 20 years ago and we’ve always tried to be creative. Creativity is important to get people to check us out and it’s even more important now. More so now than ever you need to try to get creative and try to find some fun unique things to do. So be creative.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.