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[TEN BEST]

by Jeff Laughlin

TEN BEST LOCAL FOOD CHALLENGES

RANDOMLY COMPILED

HWY. 55/ANDY’S – THE BIG ‘A’ CHALLENGE

At Hwy. 55 (formerly Andy’s), if you can finish a 50 -ounce burger with at least four toppings, a side of fries and a 24 -ounce soft drink in 30 minutes, the meal is free and your name goes on the company website. As impossible as the task sounds, more than 100 have conquered it.

KRISPY KREME CHALLENGE

People will do some crazy stuff for a good cause. Since 2004, the annual Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh has raised more than $500,000 for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital by asking people to run two miles, eat a dozen glazed doughnuts, then run two more miles. Last year’s race drew a capacity field of 8,000 participants.

EAST COAST WINGS — INSANITY CHALLENGE

Eating just one chicken wing sounds easy, right? Not so fast. The wing is so spicy that the restaurant makes you sign a waiver beforehand and presents the wing alongside rubber gloves, toast and a glass of milk. Survivors win a T-shirt.

MAC’S SPEED SHOP — FATBOY CHALLENGE

The goal at this Charlotte restaurant is to finish a monstrous 5-pound sandwich comprised of pulled pork, brisket, onion rings, fried pickles and pimiento cheese, along with a bowl of macaroni and cheese. Those who do so can skip the $60 check and get their name added to a plaque. It’s probably best to make sure your local heart surgeon’s schedule is clear prior to trying this one.

HAM’S PALLADIUM — ENDLESS BURGER CHALLENGE

Ever wanted a free 3-pound cheeseburger with fries? At the Ham’s Restaurant in High Point, it’s yours if you can finish it in less than 30 minutes.

MI PUEBLO MEXICAN GRILL — CHAMPIONS DEFEATER CHALLENGE

If you can down the 6-pound burrito in 30 minutes, it’s complimentary. You’d think one of these places could throw in a roll of Charmin with the prize package.

BANDIDO’S MEXICAN CAFÉ — EL GIGANTE

Those who finish the 4.5 lb. burrito at this Triangle-area chain filled with the works earn a free T-shirt. You have to pay for the burrito regardless, but at $16.95, the damage isn’t too bad. There’s no time limit either, making it relatively stress-free for a food challenge.

GRAY GABLES HOT DOG EATING CONTEST

Unleash your inner-Kobayashi in July at this Summerfield contest, a replication of the world-famous Nathan’s contest in New York. 20 contestants get 10 minutes to scarf down as many hot dogs as they can. Entry costs $30, but the top three finishers will receive cash prizes of $1,500, $1,000 and $500 respectively.

SAUCEMAN’S — THE CLARK GRISWALD

A reference to a Chevy Chase line from National Lampoon’s European Vacation, the Clark Griswald sandwich at the Charlotte-based Sauceman’s is comprised of 2.5 pounds of pork. If you can devour it and a side in fewer than 30 minutes, the $25 meal is on the house.

JAKE’S BILLIARDS — TACO CHALLENGE

Participants are presented with a parade 15 tacos that get progressively spicier. If they can eat 12 in the 30-minute time limit, the meal is free. Those who can down all 15 receive an additional cash prize of $100. Although no one has successfully completed the challenge, the pioneer status and cash prize, a food challenge rarity, are tempting. (See Jeff Laughlin’s story on page XX)

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