ross-merrill - September 30, 2016
We've all seen them: Gigantic, unhealthy items on a menu, followed by a dare: "If you can finish the meal, it's free." The restaurant usually adds a time limit, so you don't sit there all night. And of course you can't have anyone help you eat the thing.
These challenges represent so much about America: Capitalism, competition, overeating, gambling. They're worth celebrating. Here are some of my favorites from around the country.
This North Carolina burger join offers a 55-ounce burger. Customers are required to add four trimmings, though I don't know if you'll really taste those pickles among the six patties of beef. The challenge includes a full side of fries and a large soda, and a 30-minute time limit. Win the challenge and the $29.99 meal is on the house, and you'll get your name added to the wall of winners. But how do you even get the thing in your mouth?
Florida may not be known for its Mexican food, but this Sarasota eatery certainly makes it interesting. The Mongo Burrito weighs eight pounds and is over 22 inches long. The menu doesn't say what's in it, but I suppose it's typical ingredients like beans, cheese, and some kind of meat. Finish it in an hour and it's free (a $50 value), plus you get either $50 cash or one free dinner a month for an entire year. And, I'm assuming, lifetime bathroom privileges.
Yes, even sushi has gotten into the act. The Godzilla Roll includes six pounds of seafood topped with a house sauce. Finish in one hour and the $35 bill is waived. You also get a T-shirt and a photo on the Wall of Fame. If you fail, you not only have to pay the full price but your photo goes on the Wall of Shame. Pretty appropriate for a culture based on honor.
This barbecue restaurant isn't in Texas or North Carolina. It's in Long Beach, New York, just off the coast of Long Island. But its challenge is as big as Texas: four ounces of pulled pork, four chicken wings, three rib tips, an entire section of ribs, four ounces of beef brisket on Texas toast, cornbread, and your choice of two sides...but they can't be a salad or vegetables, so you're looking at baked beans, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, etc. If you finish in an hour, the $35 meal is free, along with a T-shirt and a photo on the Wall of Fame.
Finally, a food challenge that involves teamwork! This Burbank pizzeria's competition may be one of the biggest of all time. It's 54" xÂ 54", which is 2,916 square inches. It weights 50 pounds, which you can split into fourths to change up the toppings. Up to eight people get two hours to finish it. If you do, it's free, plus you get $1,000 cash. If not, the pizza costs $218 (less than $30 a person if you've got eight people).
When this was posted on r/food, a Redditor explained, "It's 50 pounds of pizza. That's 6.25 lbs per person. That's three whole large Domino's pizzas plus a couple of slices, each." Then again, for $30 bucks, you get a whole lot of pizza, two hours of fun, and a shot at $125 ($1000 divided by eight). Sounds good to me.