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‘Downtown Madness’ expands with 32 Elgin ‘teams’

The 2012 winner Elgin's Downtown Madness Danny’s Pizzreturns defend its title.  The celebratilocal eateries Downtown vs. Crosstown is expanding

The 2012 winner of Elgin's Downtown Madness, Danny’s Pizza, returns to defend its title. The celebration of local eateries Downtown vs. Crosstown is expanding this year from 16 participating locations to a total of 32 — 16 downtown Elgin eateries vs. 16

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Updated: March 27, 2013 6:17AM

ELGIN — The Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin’s third annual edition of Downtown Madness — the DNA’s award-winning, month-long, social media driven restaurant and bar promotion — returns next month.

Signature dishes from Elgin area eateries and pubs — both downtown and “crosstown” — will again face off against one other in a March Madness-style bracket tournament where the public chooses the winners round-by-round until a champion is crowned.

The 2013 installment of Downtown Madness: Downtown vs. Crosstown is expanding this year from 16 participating locations to a total of 32 — 16 downtown Elgin eateries vs. 16 crosstown Elgin establishments.

Beginning March 14, Downtown and Crosstown bracket entries compete against each other through four rounds of online voting before one finalists each from both sides of the bracket square off in the championship round of voting which ends on April 8, the night of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s championship game. The winner receives the honor of displaying the Downtown Madness traveling trophy for a year as well as a Blue Level Sponsorship in the 2013 City of Elgin’s 4th of July Parade.

The Elgin Eat 16 punch card promotion also returns with some new surprises. Throughout the duration of Downtown Madness, voters can pick up Elgin Eat 16 punch card tickets and obtain punches for trying the various signature dishes at each participating restaurant. Prizes such as Downtown Elgin gift certificates, t-shirts and mini basketballs are among the prizes available.

“We’re definitely excited about the changes we’ve made to this year’s Downtown Madness,” said DNA Managing Director Jason Pawlowski. “We know Madness and the Eat 16 punch cards both have an established track record of success for our participating Elgin establishments and we’re hoping for an even more competitive voting atmosphere and more rings at the registers for our businesses over the course of the month-long promotion.”

Last year’s Downtown Madness champion Danny’s Pizza returns to defend its title, competing this year in the Downtown side of the bracket after relocating from McLean Boulevard to 231 Douglas Avenue in early October.

Other confirmed returning participants include 2011 Downtown Madness Champion Elgin Public House, 219 E. Chicago St.; Prime BurgerHouse and Buckingham’s Steakhouse & Lounge inside Grand Victoria Casino, 250 S. Grove Ave.; Villa Verone Ristorante Italiano, 13 Douglas Ave.; Bangkok House and Shanghai Restaurant, 11 Douglas Ave.; Colonial Cafe, 600 S. McLean Blvd.; as well as new competitors Chooch’s Pizzeria, 64 S. Grove Ave.; Weinerville III, 1785 Larkin Ave.; and Sherman Health Cafeteria, 1425 Randall Road, with more to follow.

Elgin area restaurants can sign up to participate in this year’s Downtown Madness: Downtown vs. Crosstown thru Monday, March 4 at

The 2013 Downtown Madness bracket will be revealed on March 14 in the Downtown Madness Selection Show on the DNA’s YouTube Channel and at the DNA’s brand new Downtown Madness website:

Downtown Madness was honored with a Lt. Governor’s Award for Outstanding Main Street Promotion at the 2011 Illinois Main Street Awards in Galesburg.

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