If you're looking for your own 15 minutes of fame but find your skill sets are generally limited to things that are superfluous — or, in this case, possibly self-destructive — your best bet might be to take up one of these local eating challenges (these are the ones we know of — we bet there's a lot more of 'em) so you can achieve glory, superstar status and indigestion — right after you unbuckle your pants.
Everybody knows Cincinnati is obsessed with food, probably because there's a lot of it around here. Good food, that is. Whether you want to show off, naturally induce hibernation, experience a lifetime's worth of a particular dish in one sitting or just want a good story to tell, there are plenty of opportunities to make it happen with eating challenges around the city.
We’ve only added the ones we were able to confirm with the restaurant, but if you're dead-set on checking one of these out, it's probably a good idea to call ahead and make sure it's not a periodical offering. Be sure to let us know where we missed in the comments!
1) Ramundo's Pizza (Mount Lookout) – Two people split a 26-inch pizza with extra cheese and two toppings, with 10 minutes to devour the whole thing. It's an investment — the pizza costs $35 — but you get it (and heartburn) for free if you finish.
2) Blue Ash Chili (Blue Ash) – "No Freakin' Way Challenge": One person + 2.5 lbs. spaghetti + 2.5 lbs. chili. + 2.5 lbs. cheese + 1 lb. jalapenos + 60 minutes + $40 = the most extravagant and gut-busting possible way to prove your obsession with our city's trademark dish, Cincinnati chili. If you finish, it's free and you'll get a spot on the Hall of Fame plus a T-shirt. Losers go on the Hall of Shame, but you'll still get a tee for free.
3) Raniero’s Pizza (Cold Springs, Ky.) – Two people have 10 minutes to devour a 24-inch pizza, and each is allowed one 20 oz. cup of water. Beat the clock and get the pizza for free; beat the record and get a T-shirt, too.
4) Mecklenburg Gardens (Corryville) – The “Uber Terminator Challenge”: One person has an hour to put down a 3-foot long spicy mettwurst sausage on a hoagie bun, covered with peppers and sauerkraut. It’s $25, and free if you make it. You get a free T-shirt either way.
5) Padrino’s (Milford)– Four pounds of spaghetti and meatballs + you + 45 minutes. If you make it, it’s free; if not, $30.
6) Izzy’s (multiple locations) – “110 Reuben Challenge”: Of course, made famous a la Man v. Food: a super-sized potato pancake, more than 1 lb. of corned beef, a heap of sauerkraut, dressing and cheese, all inside a big loaf of poppyseed bread. You have 30 minutes to eat this monstrosity — it’s $19.99 — and if you make it, you’ll get it fo’ free plus a T-shirt and a photo on the Izzy’s wall of
7) Guiseppe’s Pizza (Covington) “Legend of the Drunken Fireman”: Just you and a 20-inch, 20-topping, 7-lb. pizza plus 59 minutes. If you lose, it’ll set you back $50; if you make it, you’ll get it free plus a T-shirt.
8) Bard’s Burgers (Covington) – Two different challenges here: Go big with the Bardzilla — a burger with 10 1/3-lb. beef patties, 10 pieces of cheese, 2 lbs. of French fries and a 16 oz. milkshake (close to 7 lbs. of food). Free if you make it through in 45 minutes or less, $30 if not. Or, for the more timid, there’s the “Little Zilla” — beat the customer record to chow down one of two triple-stacked specialty burgers — the Kitchen Sink or the Widow Maker (eek) — plus an order of large fries and a milkshake, for a free meal.