Stat Team's New Goal: Find Best Burrito in US

Nate Silver and crew are on the case

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 7, 2014 9:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – Thanks to his work in sports and politics, Nate Silver has become something of a rock-star statistician. Now, he's applying his number-crunching skills to a new project: food. Specifically, burritos. Members of his team at fivethirtyeight.com are working to determine the best burrito in the United States, and they're not messing around. Silver has come up with a complex and rigorous testing process reminiscent of an NCAA bracket. (Chicagoist notes that before he made it big, Silver did a smaller-scale version of this to find the best burrito in Chicago.)

The national tournament will come down to 64 burritos eaten by journalist Anna Maria Barry-Jester. Those 64 were chosen from offerings at a pool of 67,391 burrito-serving establishments (not just restaurants; food trucks and grocery stores count, too, Silver notes). That huge number came from a Yelp search for reviews mentioning burritos. Establishments were assessed by a team of food experts from different areas of the country. The results haven't appeared yet, but you can watch for them (and get an insane amount of detail on the project) here.

Nate Silver, burrito lover.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nate Silver wants to find the country's best burrito.   (Shutterstock)
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