A guide to local eating challenges

Before taking on eating challenges, contenders should be aware of the risks. The Major League of Eating (MLE) is the organization that oversees the entire major eating competitions worldwide. They strongly discourage competitive eating “home training.”

They cite that competitive eating should be for people 18 years and older and should only be done in supervised conditions with medical technicians present. The MLE sees competitive eating as a sport that needs training just as much as any other sport.

Eating competitions seem more like a new trend since shows like “Man vs. Food” have become popular. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest has been held at Coney Island since 1916. Though this year in July, the American Medical Association (AMA) actually denounced the annual challenge.

The AMA reported “competitive speed eating as an unhealthy eating practice with potential adverse consequences.” That didn’t seem to stop the champion, Joey Chestnut, from competing. He won the challenge this year, downing 62 hot dogs in only 10 minutes — and for anyone counting the calories, it happens to be around 18,414.

The most typical side effect of trying food challenges is vomiting because the stomach has been filled to such capacity, it can no longer contain all the food.

Those still feeling brave have been warned. And with that, here are the top five craziest food challenges in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.

1. Joe’s Giant Cheeseburger held at Joe’s Diner in Over-the-Rhine
This challenge is a burger, but not just any burger. The burger itself weighs in at three pounds. It is topped with six fried eggs, 12 pieces of bacon, 12 slices of cheese, a ton of tomatoes, lettuce and onions. To top it all off, you must also eat a side of fries. The entire meal comes in at roughly seven pounds and must be eaten in 30 minutes, so hope you are a fast eater.

If you are able to defeat this challenge, your meal comes free and you also get a t-shirt (and bragging rights, of course). 1203 Sycamore St. 513-421-5637 http://www.joesdineronsycamore.com

2. When Pigs Fly Challenge held at By Golly’s in Milford
Get out your calculators. There is a lot going on for this challenge. One pound of bacon, one pound of ham, one pound of pulled pork covered in barbeque sauce, lettuce and tomatoes and topped with cheddar cheese. Think that’s all? No, not quite. You also have to finish two sides: a whopping pound of macaroni and cheese and a quarter pound of coleslaw. You have 45 minutes if you dare to complete. The entire meal weighs in at around five and a half pounds. 714 Lila Ave. 513-248-4444 http://www.bygollys.com

3. Spaghetti and Meatball Challenge held at Padrino in Milford
For those who don’t get overly excited over burgers, how about an Italian night out? The spaghetti meatball challenge starts you off at two pounds of spaghetti. They top that off with one pound of meatballs and one pound of marinara and garlic knots. If you complete it, it’s free. They give you 45 minutes and have one requirement: No excusing yourself from the table. 111 Main St. 513-965-0100 http://www.padrinoitalian.com

4. Willie’s Challenger Menu held by Willie’s Sports Cafe in multiple Willie’s locations

Okay, here we go again with the burgers. Calculators ready? Good. You have one of two options for this challenge. The first option is the Triple Bypass Burger. This is made up of three one-pound patties, an entire pound of bacon, one-half pound of cheese and then the ultimate topper. Instead of bread holding this whole monstrosity together, Willie’s has opted for two grilled cheese sandwiches instead. Why not?…Right? Of course, no one stops there; you also have to finish a huge side of fries. Weighing in at five pounds, you have a little bit longer to finish it (one hour). If you opt for the second challenge, you will be choosing the Hit King Challenge. This is the speed challenge. Twelve wings that are insanely hot and 14 minutes to finish it.
5054 Glencrossing in Westwood 513-922-3377 http://www.williesonline.com

5. Raniero’s 24-inch Pizza Challenge
You didn’t think we were going to end this whole thing and not list our local pizza favorite did you? Raniero’s has a challenge of their own, and it’s no easy task. This pizza is 24 inches in diameter, and you get one 20-oz cup of water. You can have a partner help assist you in this challenge, which would probably be your best plan of action. Doesn’t sound too bad, hunh? Well, there’s a twist, you have 10 minutes. This might be the challenge to start you off on your road to food domination. And best of all, you get to bring a buddy.

If you feel brave and hungry, these challenges should be enough to get you started if you feel so inclined — or lose a bet and this is your punishment. Either way, if you are feeling up to it and attempt it, please let us at The Northerner know! Good Luck. Most would say you will need it!