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Top Food Challenges in the Northeast

These top food challenges aren't for the faint of stomach. If you have what it takes, check out these local restaurants for the food challenge of a lifetime.

food-challenges

The Eighth Wonder burger at Clinton Station Diner in New Jersey weighs in at 105 pounds. (Photo: Clinton Station Diner)

Food challenges sound simple enough: Eat a bunch of food in a certain amount of time and be rewarded for it. But anybody who has failed to conquer a food challenge knows that your eyes often can be bigger than your stomach.

Thanks to the television show “Man v. Food,” food challenges have gained an extraordinary amount of attention and restaurants are using this opportunity to beef up the stakes for those who dare to try them.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the top food challenges in the Northeast based on the following criteria:

  • Difficulty (as in, you have to mentally prepare for these);
  • Amount of time; and
  • Rewards.

Connecticut

Cheese Truck Challenge
The Cheese Truck
New Haven

If you love grilled cheese sandwiches and happen to see the Cheese Truck driving around the New Haven area, you might be tempted to try the Cheese Truck Challenge. Eat 10 grilled cheese sandwiches with at least one topping of choice and you’ll get a free sandwich every week for a year and a sandwich named after you. Because nothing says sweet victory like a sandwich bearing your name.

Massachusetts

Eagle’s Challenge
Eagle’s Deli and Restaurant
1918 Beacon St., Brighton
Time limit: 1 hour

Do you like burgers? What about super-big burgers? Take on the Eagle’s Challenge! This monstrous burger is 5 pounds of beef – almost 10 patties – 20 slices of bacon and 20 slices of American cheese between a large bun. Plus, it comes with 5 pounds of fries, a deli pickle and a fountain soda of your choice. If you manage to finish, you’ll get a full refund and a $100 gift card.

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New Hampshire

The Feedbag Shovel
KC’s Rib Shack
837 Second St., Manchester
Time limit: 30 minutes

Calling all BBQ lovers: KC’s Rib Shack is offering the ultimate Northeast BBQ test with its Feedbag Shovel. There’s so much food – 6 pounds, to be precise – that it comes served in a shovel. Don’t tackle this one alone – you’ll need at least three or four friends to finish it all.

It holds a full rack of ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked sausage and pulled chicken. But that’s not all. There’s also a half pound of baked beans and coleslaw, plus two pieces of cornbread.

If successful, you and your friends will get the meal free, some nifty T-shirts and your group’s picture on the KC’s Rib Shack hall of fame. Check out this cool video from NESN’s “Wicked Bites” to see what exactly what that shovel looks like.

The Grand Poutine Challenge
Chez Vachon
136 Kelley St., Manchester
Time limit: 1 hour

If you just can’t get enough poutine, how does a five-pound tray sound? Finish this gravy-and-cheese-curd French fry tray and your photo will be added to the wall of winners. This challenge is available only before 1 p.m.

New Jersey

The Eighth Wonder Challenge
Clinton Station Diner
2 Bank St., Clinton
Time limit: 1 hour

The largest of several food challenges at Clinton Station Diner, the Eighth Wonder is no joke. This burger weighs a whopping 105 pounds, stands at almost a foot tall and you’ll need the help of nine other people to finish it. As a reward for conquering this massive burger, you and your team will get $2,000 in cash. So far, no one has been successful.

New York City

Phaal Curry Challenge
Brick Lane
99 Second Ave., New York
Time limit: One sitting

This food challenge is so intense, you have to declare prior to the challenge that Brick Lane “is not liable for any physical or emotional damage after consumption.” Even the chef has to wear a gas mask to prepare it. The goal is to finish a dish of hot curry made with nine different peppers with your choice of chicken, lamb, goat, fish, shrimp, paneer, tofu or veggies in one sitting. Finish it and you’ll get a bottle of beer, a certificate of completion proclaiming “extraordinary courage (and rather dubious judgement),” the title of Phaal Curry Monster and a picture on the online P’hall of Fame.

Supersize Mi Challenge
Mi Noodle Bar
391 Second Ave., New York
Time limit: 90 minutes

Fans of pho noodles will want to give this food challenge a try. You must consume 3 pounds of meat and 3 pounds of noodles, which may or may not include broth. Prizes include a free meal, $100 gift voucher, inclusion in the wall of fame and one free appetizer for future dine-ins “pho life.”

Lunchbox
1612  Forest Ave., Staten Island

The Lunchbox offers three very different food challenges, with free meals and T-shirts at stake. If you want to try any or all three, you must sign up online by filling out the form here. You also have to sign a waiver.

Motherload Sloppy Joe Challenge
Time limit: 30 minutes

Better have loads of napkins or even a bib ready for this one. The Motherload Sloppy Joe challenge consists of 8 pounds of sloppy Joe in a 16-inch Kaiser roll, 1 pound of melted cheddar cheese and a quarter-pound of diced onions with your choice of a 24-ounce beverage. Two people can take this challenge but they must each use only one utensil and finish the sloppy Joe in 30 minutes.

151
Time limit: 20 minutes

The 151 is an ultra-thick chocolate, strawberry or vanilla milkshake that’s served in two portions – one huge 150-ounce glass with a 1-ounce shot glass “chaser.” It’s topped with whipped cream and you must use a spoon or a straw to finish.

Death Wish
Time limit: 10 minutes

With a name like Death Wish, you know this food challenge isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to eat six buffalo wings mixed with chipotle chillies and the Hellraiser habanero ghost chili extract – considered the hottest in the world – within 10 minutes. You can’t use any utensils or napkins and you’re not allowed to drink anything until 10 minutes after you’ve eaten the last wing.

New York – Long Island

Kitchen Sink Sundae Challenge
Krisch’s
11 Central Ave., Massapequa
Time limit: 1 hour or less

Can’t get enough ice cream? This challenge involves 10 scoops and any three toppings that can’t be placed on the side; that’s 6 pounds in all! Finish all of it and get your picture on the wall of fame, a T-shirt and free ice cream. And yes, it actually comes served in a kitchen sink.

5-Pound Barbecue Challenge 
Swingbelly’s Beachside BBQ
909 W. Beech St., Long Beach
Time limit: 1 hour

This intense Long Island barbecue challenge includes a full slab of St. Louis ribs, a quarter pound of pulled pork on Texas Toast, a quarter pound of brisket also on Texas Toast, four Swingz (monster chicken wings), three rib tips, two sides and two pieces of cornbread. Finish this barbecue frenzy within an hour and earn a free meal, an official Porker T-shirt and your picture on the wall of fame.

New York – Upstate

The Colossal Pancake Challenge
The Ugly Rooster
312 N. Third Ave., Mechanicville
Time limit: 20 minutes

If breakfast food is more of your thing, try the Colossal Pancake challenge. This challenge features two 8-by-12-inch pancakes slathered in whipped butter, whipped cream, syrup and your choice of fruit or eight eggs. The prize for conquering one of the heartier food challenges is an Ugly Rooster T-shirt, your picture on the wall of fame and a free meal. Of the 250 customers who have tried it, only one has succeeded.

The Magnum Pizza Challenge
Chick-N-Pizza Works
2940 Union Road, Cheektowaga
129 Abbot Road, Buffalo
Time limit: 1 hour

Two people are required for one of the more intense food challenges in the upstate region. For this challenge, the team has to eat a pizza pie that weighs over 13 pounds and is 29 inches in diameter – the size of a wagon wheel. Competitors can’t take bathroom breaks and outside help is not allowed. But they can have unlimited soft drinks. If you conquer this challenge, you and your teammate can get two $25 gift cards and free pizza. Out of all the hundreds of customers who have attempted the challenge, only four have won.

Pennsylvania

Moby Dick Sandwich Challenge
Lucky Louie’s
8238 Perry Highway, Erie
Time limit: 1 hour

Eat through 2 pounds of Smith’s garlic-ring bologna, pierogi, sauerkraut, chili, cheese, grilled onions, bacon, fried eggs, cream cheese, ketchup, Greek sauce and Frank’s RedHot Sauce (7 pounds in all) within one hour and not only will you get a free meal but you’ll also get a free T-shirt and your picture – or “Fat Head” – on the wall of fame, as well as $100 in cash.

Belly Buster Challenge
The Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub
1452 Woodland Road, Clearfield
Time limit: 4 hours

You’ll need the help of a buddy with this barrel of a food challenge. In four hours, you’ll have to finish a 20-pound burger with a huge beef patty that’s loaded with cheese and veggies, served on a huge and dense homemade bun. This challenge takes so much preparation, reservations must be made at least three days in advance. Should you conquer one of the heftier food challenges, you’ll receive a free meal, free T-shirts for you and your friend, $400 in cash, your picture on the wall of fame and a certificate of completion.

Dog House Challenge
Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender
126 Franklin Ave., Scranton
Time limit: 1 hour

One of the most dogged of food challenges, the Dog House Challenge requires you to eat three foot-long hot dogs within one hour. Specifically, you have to eat the following:

  • The Notorious P.I.G. – a 12-inch all-beef, bacon-wrapped dog with pulled pork and Monterey Jack cheese
  • The Snoop Dog – a 12-inch all-beef hot dog with short-rib chili, malt-liquor mustard and corn chips
  • The Craig Mac – a 12-inch all-beef, bacon-wrapped dog with Gouda macaroni and cheese

Eat all three and get a free meal, a $25 Ale Mary’s gift card and 1-cent select drafts for the rest of the day.

Rhode Island

Kennel Club Challenge
Spike’s Junkyard Dogs
485 Branch Ave., Providence / 640 Reservoir Ave., Cranston / 1623 Warwick Ave., Warwick
Time limit: 90 minutes

This straightforward food challenge calls on the challenger to finish six large plain hot dogs, including the homemade buns. Toppings such as ketchup, relish and mustard are optional. If you manage to finish all six, you’ll get a free T-shirt and your picture on the wall of fame. Beat the store record and your meal is free. As of Sept. 18, 2018, the record is 25 hot dogs for men and 12 for women. This challenge is also available at the Allston, Mass., location.

Know of any intense food challenges in the area we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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