The birds are chirping. The blades of grass are fighting their way up through a wee bit of snow. It can only mean one thing. It is time again for the Globe’s annual Munch Madness tournament, in which 64 local restaurants fight for the title of champion.
The tournament began in 2010, when East Coast Grill beat Hungry Mother to win the championship. In 2011, the tables were turned, and Hungry Mother triumphed over East Coast Grill. The French-Southern restaurant repeated the victory in 2012 and 2013. Last year, both Hungry Mother and East Coast Grill were retired, opening up the field.
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The result: a battle that pitted seafood restaurant against seafood restaurant, sibling against sibling. In the penultimate round, Row 34 beat Neptune Oyster to face sister restaurant Eastern Standard in the finals. (The latter had trumped tapas favorite Toro.) The winner: Eastern Standard.
This year’s bracket is sure to feature plenty of drama. You’ll find new restaurants and old favorites, the experimental and the traditional, formal dining rooms and dive bars, and places serving food from every corner of the world.
You can begin following the action when we release the list of contestants online (www.bostonglobe.com/food) on March 15, coincidentally Selection Sunday in the lesser-known NCAA competition March Madness. The bracket launches March 18. Here is the schedule to vote for your favorite restaurants: Round 1, March 18-19. Round 2, March 20-22. Round 3, March 23-24. Round 4, March 25-26. Round 5, March 27-30. Round 6, March 31-April 3. The winner will be announced online April 6.
Who will claim the glory this year? It’s up to you.
Follow the hashtag #MunchMadness on Twitter for updates.
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• Cooking with Gordon Hamersley: Brussels sprouts once shunned are grown-up stars now
• Vegetarian stuffed peppers, then ‘broken’ lasagna
Devra First can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.