March 22, 2018

Eat Big with These Cincinnati Food Feats

So you love food. Like, you really love food. The thought of trying something new entices your foodie cravings and warrants constant ventures to new and eclectic restaurants. But how far does your fascination with food really extend? 

A host of local eateries pose a question to the city’s most adventurous diners: Can you consume a humorously large dish in an insanely short amount of time? These (frankly foreboding) food challenges are worthy of only the most voracious patrons — think 7-pound pizzas, 11-patty burgers and an 8-pound plate of chili. If you succeed, you’ll get your enormous dish for free and a coveted spot on that restaurant’s Hall of Fame (and maybe even a T-shirt!). But if you fail, expect too many leftovers to fit in your fridge, a high probability of some embarrassing pictures on social media and what’s likely to be the worst stomach ache you’ve ever encountered.

Brave eaters, read on (and maybe stock up on some TUMS): These local restaurants are calling your name. Ask your server for specific rules and make sure to call 24-48 hours in advance so staff has time to prepare.

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BARDZILLA CHALLENGE // The Place: Bard’s Burgers, 3620 Decoursey Ave., Covington, 859-866-6017, facebook.com/bardsburgers1 // The Feat: Take on the 11-patty Bardzilla burger, plus a pound of fries and a shake ($40) // The Time Frame: 60 minutes.
The Bardzilla is back and bigger than ever. If 10 cheesy patties weren’t difficult enough to consume, you now have to finish off 11 — each weighing a third of a pound — to champion this endeavor. The beast of a burger comes complete with extra cheese, lettuce and pickles, plus a pound of fries and a 16-ounce shake. As of August, 100 people had attempted to tackle the Bardzilla, but only three had been successful — although some have come painfully close.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
BARDZILLA CHALLENGE // The Place: Bard’s Burgers, 3620 Decoursey Ave., Covington, 859-866-6017, facebook.com/bardsburgers1 // The Feat: Take on the 11-patty Bardzilla burger, plus a pound of fries and a shake ($40) // The Time Frame: 60 minutes. The Bardzilla is back and bigger than ever. If 10 cheesy patties weren’t difficult enough to consume, you now have to finish off 11 — each weighing a third of a pound — to champion this endeavor. The beast of a burger comes complete with extra cheese, lettuce and pickles, plus a pound of fries and a 16-ounce shake. As of August, 100 people had attempted to tackle the Bardzilla, but only three had been successful — although some have come painfully close.
UBER TERMINATOR CHALLENGE // The Place: Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E. University Ave., Clifton, 513-221-5353, mecklenburgs.com // The Feat: Consume a “super hot” 2-pound mettwurst measuring over 30 inches long ($25) // The Time Frame: 60 minutes.
More than 100 challengers have faced The Terminator since Tom McKenna, a regular customer and longtime friend of the restaurant, came up with the idea for it about 10 years ago. “Tom was part of the first Terminator Challenge with professional eater Jammin’ Joe LaRue,” says Grace Harten, Mecklenburg’s marketing and events manager. “Jammin’ Joe managed to rise to the challenge twice, finishing the entire entrée within 6 minutes.” Every challenger to date has been a man, but, according to Harten, the future is female.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
UBER TERMINATOR CHALLENGE // The Place: Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E. University Ave., Clifton, 513-221-5353, mecklenburgs.com // The Feat: Consume a “super hot” 2-pound mettwurst measuring over 30 inches long ($25) // The Time Frame: 60 minutes. More than 100 challengers have faced The Terminator since Tom McKenna, a regular customer and longtime friend of the restaurant, came up with the idea for it about 10 years ago. “Tom was part of the first Terminator Challenge with professional eater Jammin’ Joe LaRue,” says Grace Harten, Mecklenburg’s marketing and events manager. “Jammin’ Joe managed to rise to the challenge twice, finishing the entire entrée within 6 minutes.” Every challenger to date has been a man, but, according to Harten, the future is female.
LEGEND OF THE DRUNKEN FIREMAN // The Place: Giuseppe’s Pizza, 2607 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-814-8444, eatattheg.com // The Feat: Finish an entire 7-pound Fireman Pizza ($50) // The Time Frame: 59 minutes.
Behold the Fireman Pizza: a behemoth of a pie measuring 20 inches in diameter and weighing in at a whopping 7 pounds. Co-owner Greg Routhier says the dish is inspired by a gargantuan pie once ordered up by four hungry firemen. “The four heroes, unable to agree on toppings, boldly chose every single one available,” he says. That extensive list of 20 includes pepperoni, Italian sausage, ham, beef, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, olives, pineapple, extra cheese and green, jalapeño and banana peppers; when plopped on a pizza, all those toppings measure nearly 3 inches high. The staff was flabbergasted when the firemen finished off the pizza completely, inspiring the restaurant to challenge hungry patrons to do the same. As of August 2017, seven had attempted the feat, but only one had succeeded.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
LEGEND OF THE DRUNKEN FIREMAN // The Place: Giuseppe’s Pizza, 2607 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-814-8444, eatattheg.com // The Feat: Finish an entire 7-pound Fireman Pizza ($50) // The Time Frame: 59 minutes. Behold the Fireman Pizza: a behemoth of a pie measuring 20 inches in diameter and weighing in at a whopping 7 pounds. Co-owner Greg Routhier says the dish is inspired by a gargantuan pie once ordered up by four hungry firemen. “The four heroes, unable to agree on toppings, boldly chose every single one available,” he says. That extensive list of 20 includes pepperoni, Italian sausage, ham, beef, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, olives, pineapple, extra cheese and green, jalapeño and banana peppers; when plopped on a pizza, all those toppings measure nearly 3 inches high. The staff was flabbergasted when the firemen finished off the pizza completely, inspiring the restaurant to challenge hungry patrons to do the same. As of August 2017, seven had attempted the feat, but only one had succeeded.
NO FREAKIN’ WAY CHALLENGE // The Place: Blue Ash Chili, 9565 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, 513-984-6107, blueashchili.com // The Feat: Conquer an 8-pound plate of Cincinnati-style chili ($39.99) // The Time Frame: 60 minutes.
Two and a half pounds of spaghetti. Two and a half pounds of premium chili. Two pounds of shredded cheddar cheese. A pound of jalapeño caps. That’s a lot of chili, and you’ll need to clean your plate to conquer Blue Ash Chili’s No Freakin’ Way challenge. Eighty-three people have attempted the challenge — including Josh Denny of the Food Network’s "Ginormous Food" — but only five have won. Not even Denny was victorious.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
NO FREAKIN’ WAY CHALLENGE // The Place: Blue Ash Chili, 9565 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, 513-984-6107, blueashchili.com // The Feat: Conquer an 8-pound plate of Cincinnati-style chili ($39.99) // The Time Frame: 60 minutes. Two and a half pounds of spaghetti. Two and a half pounds of premium chili. Two pounds of shredded cheddar cheese. A pound of jalapeño caps. That’s a lot of chili, and you’ll need to clean your plate to conquer Blue Ash Chili’s No Freakin’ Way challenge. Eighty-three people have attempted the challenge — including Josh Denny of the Food Network’s "Ginormous Food" — but only five have won. Not even Denny was victorious.
26" PIZZA CHALLENGE // The Place: Ramundo’s Pizzeria, 3166 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-321-0978, ramundospizzeria.com // The Feat: Two people team up to finish off a 26-inch pizza ($50) // The Time Frame: 10 minutes.
One-and-a-half pounds of dough, 1 pound of sauce, 2 pounds of cheese and a choice of two toppings stand between two teammates and victory in this cheesy challenge. To win, participants have to eat every last crumb, strand of cheese and “floater” — any stray pieces of food that break off into your glass if you soften a slice by dipping it in water. Yum. Only an estimated 10 percent of those who attempt the task prevail, according to general manager Brian Seibert.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
26" PIZZA CHALLENGE // The Place: Ramundo’s Pizzeria, 3166 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-321-0978, ramundospizzeria.com // The Feat: Two people team up to finish off a 26-inch pizza ($50) // The Time Frame: 10 minutes. One-and-a-half pounds of dough, 1 pound of sauce, 2 pounds of cheese and a choice of two toppings stand between two teammates and victory in this cheesy challenge. To win, participants have to eat every last crumb, strand of cheese and “floater” — any stray pieces of food that break off into your glass if you soften a slice by dipping it in water. Yum. Only an estimated 10 percent of those who attempt the task prevail, according to general manager Brian Seibert.