There are three types of food lovers in this world. The ones who love the expensive small plates and mood lighting, those who don’t really mind what they’re eating as long as it tastes delicious, and finally, the ones who search out epic battles of mind over gut. We searched all over America for some of the more intriguing eateries that will literally challenge you to put your money where your mouth is. But what’s in it for you, besides not needing to eat for a week after? You’ll get your meal paid for, win a free t-shirt, and even possibly get your name on the wall of fame. Let’s dive into some of the most epic food challenges in America.
The M.A.C. Daddy Pancake Challenge, M.A.C. 24/7 Restaurant – Waikiki, Hawaii
When you think of Hawai’i, the image of luaus, fire dancers, and pineapples probably come to mind. Oh, and Spam. But restaurant M.A.C. 24/7 wants to put something else on the typical Hawaiian food fare checklist: Pancakes. But not any old stack of pancakes. With this any-meal-can-be-breakfast challenge, you’re going to be starting your morning (or day, or evening) off right by devouring three fourteen-inch pancakes complete with butter, syrup, and at least two decadent toppings. This sweet competitor checks in at around five pounds, and if dominated by one person, is on the house. The winner also gets an official t-shirt and a photo on the wall of fame. And a 24-hour sugar high.
Six Pound Steak Challenge, Kelsey’s Steak House – Valparaiso, Indiana
The name says it all. If you ever find yourself in Valparaiso, Indiana, why not head over to Kelsey’s Steak & Seafood to impress your date by consuming a behemoth cut of meat? Keep in mind that this challenge isn’t just a six-pound steak. You’ll also need to nosh on a side of potatoes, your choice of soup or salad, and one piece of bread. All of this food has to be in your stomach within one hour. If you beat this gut bomb, the meal is free, you’re given the club t-shirt stating your accomplishment, and your name goes on the wall of fame. Perhaps a stretcher to your car would be a nice addition, because you’re going to have to “dinner roll” out of the restaurant after a meal like that.
The Pho-King Challenge, Pho 95 – Centennial, Colorado
Nothing is better than a comforting bowl of noodle soup, especially on a cold day. If you happen to be in Centennial, Colorado, head on over to Pho 95 for a delectable challenge that you’ll want to slurp right up: The Pho-King Challenge. This ginormous bowl is filled to the brim with two pounds of noodles, two pounds of meat, 200 ounces of broth, and an extra gratuitous bowl of vegetables. If you dominate this soup-tastic challenge, you’ll get your meal on the house, a free t-shirt stating your amazing food inhalation talent, and you’ll have a photo displayed as a Pho-King Challenge winner. If you succumb to the soup, you get a pink Pho-King loser t-shirt, and you’re stuck with a $40 tab.
Humpy’s Kodiak Arrest Food Challenge, Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse – Anchorage, Alaska
Seafood lovers rejoice, this challenge is for you. Alaska is more commonly known for the Iditarod, rugged untouched landscape, and of course, world-class seafood. So, if you find yourself in Anchorage, take a seat at Humpy’s and prepare yourself for the Kodiak Arrest Food Challenge. Not for the faint of heart, this epic battle will have you go face to face with four pounds of Alaskan King Crab legs, seven crab nuggets, 14 inches of reindeer sausage (sorry, Rudolph), a side of mashed potatoes with a side of vegetables, and lastly, their famous berry crisp topped with vanilla ice cream. If you’re strong enough to finish this massive undersea platter in 60 minutes or less, you get a spot on their wall of fame and a t-shirt that says “I got crabs at Humpy’s.”
The 15 Dozen Club, Acme Oyster House – New Orleans, Louisiana
Here’s another fun seafood fare for those who appreciate the brinier flavors the food world has to offer. The Acme Oyster House has been around since 1910 and has branched out to multiple locations around the south. Their claim to fame is, you guessed it, oysters. If you want to be memorialized on their wall of fame as part of the 15 Dozen Club, win a free hat, t-shirt, and mesh bag (for collecting oyster shells?), and half off of your bill (gratuity not included), all you need to do is hoover down at least 15 dozen oysters (that’s 180 mollusks) in one hour or less. But that doesn’t mean you need to stop at 15 dozen. If you break the record at whichever location you’re dining, all of your oysters are free. Keep in mind that beating the location record means you’ll be consuming at least 40 dozen oysters (480 shellfish). Think about that one for a minute or two.
Big Fat Fatty Sandwich Challenge, Fat Sal’s Deli – San Diego, California
If you prefer a more picnic-style menu, we present to you the Big Fat Fatty Sandwich challenge. Located in sunny southern California, Fat Sal’s Deli three locations offer one of the most grueling food challenges in America. Why? It’s not just because you’re only given 40 minutes to finish. This sandwich is downright intimidating. It’s piled high with cheeseburgers, cheese steak, chicken fingers, pastrami, mozzarella sticks with marinara, fried eggs, jalapeño poppers, onion rings, fries, chili, fat sauce (whatever that is), and of course, bacon. All of this is presented on a 27-inch garlic hero roll. It weighs in at over ten pounds. If you take down this colossus, your meal is free, you get a lovely t-shirt, and you get to create and name a sandwich that will be forever immortalized on the Fat Sal’s menu.
Fatty’s Burger Plate, Fatty’s Grill – San Angelo, Texas
When it comes to this burger, “everything’s bigger in Texas” definitely applies. Fatty’s Grill has yet to create a name for this food shakedown because no one has yet to dominate this burger beast. You may wonder why? This burger is concocted with four pounds of ground beef, topped with one pound of bacon, green chili queso, shredded cheese, your standard burger veggies, and a specially made 12-inch bun that weighs in around a pound. Oh, and one pound of their signature fries (called FoJos). A spokesperson for Fatty’s said whoever is the first winner of this challenge can name it. The rules are simple. If you finish within an hour, the burger is free, you get a shirt, and your photo on the future winner’s wall. If you finish it in 30 minutes or less, you also get $100. And a stomach ache. That’s a lot of beef.
The $500 Pointersaurus Challenge, Pointer’s Pizza – St. Louis, Missouri
This is a food challenge designed for two, so bring your battle partner and get ready to tuck in for The 500 Challenge. Pointer’s Pizza, located in St. Louis, Missouri, has a pizza so ginormous they refer to it as The Pointersaurus. This monstrous pizza pie spans 28 inches and comes with two meat or four vegetable toppings, and weighs in at over ten pounds. That’s ten pounds of prehistoric Pointersaurus pizza. You and your battle buddy must finish within one hour, and if you slay the beast, you’re rewarded with a $500 check (and a refund for your $50 entry fee).
Bartolini’s Meatball Challenge – Chicago, Illinois
Everyone talks about Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza. But what about their meatballs? Bartolini’s has been serving up mouthwatering Italian fare since 1995, but what they’re really known for are their meatballs. Enter the Bartolini’s Meatball Challenge. This ten-pound sub is stuffed into a three-foot long Turano bread loaf (weighing in around a pound). It’s filled with five pounds of their famous meatballs, one and a half pounds of red sauce, one and a half pounds of mozzarella cheese, and a pound of roasted green peppers. This can be a team effort, so you and up to three other contestants can try and sink this sandwich. If finished in less than 12 minutes, the meal is free and you get $500.
The Phaal Curry Challenge, Brick Lane Curry House – New York, New York
If you live for spicy foods, then Brick Lane Curry House has a challenge for you. Toted as “an excruciatingly hot curry, more pain and sweat than flavor,” the Phaal Curry Challenge is most definitely not for people who can’t handle spice. While it’s just an innocuous looking portion of curry and rice (with your choice of meat or veggies), it packs so much heat that you might possibly be scarred for life. Conquer this bowl from Hades, and you’ll get your name on their P’Hall of Fame, a certificate of completion, and a free pint of beer. No shirt this time. Bottle of antacids not included.
The Rocky Top Ice Cream Challenge, It’s All So Yummy Cafe – Knoxville, Tennessee
Also known as the Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, Knoxville, Tennessee has some of the most die-hard sports fans you’ll ever meet. It’s also a city that’s beginning to make a culinary name for itself. If you like sweet treats, you’ll want to scootch your patootie right over to It’s All So Yummy Cafe. They have everything from soups and salads to sandwiches, and of course, ice cream. If sweets are your thing, and you’re into the sport of competitive eating, then The Rocky Top Ice Cream Challenge is calling your name. This sweet competition consists of 16 scoops of ice cream sitting on three massive brownies and three bananas. It’s topped off with the quintessential whipped cream, a nice heavy pour of chocolate sauce, marshmallows, an assortment of hard and soft candies, and multiple sugar cones. If you finish this in an hour, the massive sundae is free, and you get your photo on the wall of fame next to other previous winners like Peyton Manning and Phillip Fulmer.