Nebraska is more than simply nice. We are utterly abundant. What better way to experience that abundance than through MASS CONSUMPTION? Food challenges are more fun to watch than to participate in, and it is this voyeuristic sickness that brings you this month’s article.
The difference between the food challenges in Omaha and those in several other places I’ve visited is the foods you are expected to eat in gargantuan proportion here are generally truly appetizing. It’s not simply a mass quantity of food; it’s a ridiculous amount of food you’ll be happy to take home after humiliating yourself with public failure.
And so, in no particular order, we bring you some of Omaha’s favorite food challenges.
1. Porkasaurus Challenge – Bailey’s Breakfast & Lunch
Where: Bailey’s Breakfast and Lunch | 1259 S. 120th St.
What: In 30 minutes or less, you’ll have to finish: two strips of thick-cut bacon, one sausage patty, two sausage links, one piece of quartered andouille sausage, one ham steak, six rashers of Canadian bacon, three eggs and a stack of home fries covered in grilled onions and cheddar and jack cheeses served beside biscuits and sausage gravy with your choice of three silver-dollar pancakes or two slices of buttered toast.
(Ragged deep breath.)
The meal weighs a whopping 3 lbs. 0.7 ounces and must be finished in one sitting. An episode of Man v. Food featured the challenge in 2019.
Prize for Completion: T-shirt and a photo on the wall of fame.
Challenge Level (1 out of 5): Novice. This is one of the more achievable items on our list today, but not one those with blood pressure or heart conditions should attempt!
2. Stellanator – Stella’s Bar & Grill
Where: Stella’s Bar & Grill | 106 S. Galvan Rd, Bellevue
What: You’ll have 45 minutes to stomach “The Stellanator” six burger patties, six fried eggs, six pieces of cheese, 12 rashers of bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried onions (but, like, a LOT of fried onions) pickles, jalapenos and peanut butter between two buns with a generous portion of fries.
Prize for Completion: While those who fail will shell out $35 for the behemoth mouthful, anyone who can come in under the buzzer has their meal (or what would account for six meals for any normal human) comped, a T-shirt declaring their victory and a photo on the wall of fame.
Fame doesn’t elude the losers, however, and their pictures adorn the adjacent wall of shame where they can be booed at on the regular.
Challenge Level (3 out of 5): Intermediate. While the expert eater will believe this is a breeze, 20 minutes in most will be in way over their heads. As the food begins to cool and, dare we say, congeal, none of it slides down quite as easily. To those with the stomach for this mission, it has become a battle of the quickest, with one contender defeating the meat in only three minutes and 40 seconds!
3. The Big Joe – Frank’s Pizzeria
Where: Frank’s Pizzeria | 711 N. 132nd St.
What: Choose your fighter! You and a friend have 60 minutes to crush 12 pounds of pizza. You heard right; the pizza is measured in pounds. That means that while you can choose your own toppings, leaving off mushrooms results in more mozzarella. Picking off pepperoni means piling on the peppers. No matter how you slice it, the 30-inch pie must weigh a full 12 pounds.
Prize for Completion: Your $65 meal will be on the house, your photos will live forever on the wall of fame, and you’ll walk away with a T-shirt declaring your victory. Photos of losers will be plastered and blasted on social media for failing to finish.
Challenge Level (5 out of 5): Expert. While those first few slices of Frank’s finest go down like hot mozzarella, it’s hard to fathom just how much pizza it takes to make a 12-pound pie. While there are many who come within spitting distance of victory, they generally find themselves closer to hurling over the finish line than gingerly stepping.
This challenge isn’t for the faint of heart. Literally. Have your cholesterol checked and get clearance from a doctor before you try to put this much meat and cheese inside you.
4. THE DUNDEE DOZEN – eCreamery
Where: eCreamery | 5001 Underwood Ave.
What: 12 scoops, 12 toppings, 20 minutes. Can you defeat the Dundee Dozen? Contestants are offered warm or cold water to wash it down, and the 12 toppings are entirely up to you.
According to Claire Benedix at eCreamery, that’s what gets many contestants into trouble. “A lot of people go for things like sprinkles, thinking it’s small so it won’t be filling. They don’t realize until too late that that many sprinkles start to get really chalky and slow you down. People have better luck choosing sauces like the chocolate or strawberry sauce.”
Prize for Completion: A photo on the wall of fame and a victory tee.
Challenge Level (3 out of 5): Intermediate. Claire and a coworker concurred that about one in six attempts results in a victory. The wall features 112 photos, but several are “honorary wins,” groups of children who have taken on the challenge and earned a spot through team effort.
5. PIG WING CHALLENGE – Starky’s Bar & Grill
Where: Starsky’s Bar & Grill | 7812 F St.
What: The “Pig Wing Challenge” consists of five pounds of fried “pig wings,” a bone-in tender cut near the shoulder of the pig. Doesn’t sound that challenging, right? Half of that weight is bones… right? But, in addition to that stack of meat, contestants have to finish a pound of corn nuggets and a pound of fries.
Prize for Completion: Your $51 bill is comped, and a Starsky’s tee will declare your victory.
Challenge Level (5 out of 5): Expert. As of this publication, Starsky’s Tommy Kirkman has informed me that only two people have successfully completed the challenge. An episode of Man v Food was filmed on location in October 2011, wherein contestant Matt Price attempted the feat. In spite of coaching from Adam Richman himself, Price is not one of the two faces gracing the wall of fame.
6. EAT HEAT – Quaker Steak & Lube
Where: Quaker Steak & Lube | 3320 Mid America Dr., Council Bluffs
What: For the people who love spice the “Eat Heat” is what you are looking for. All they ask is that you consume six regular-sized chicken wings without water. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! Except that lemon is squeezing directly into your eye because these wings are covered in Atomic Sauce at a whopping 150,000 Scoville units.
Don’t worry my mild Readers, this challenge has been replaced … with the Triple Atomic Challenge, whose sauce reads at a dizzying 500,000 Scoville.
Prize for Completion: Photo on the wall, bumper sticker, crippling acid reflux.
Challenge Level (??): TBD. I was unable to contact anyone who had attempted the upgraded challenge. Medically speaking, however, this challenge would be taken against medical advice for anyone with stomach, esophageal, digestive or reflux issues.
(No Longer Available) GOLIATH CHALLENGE -DEFUNCT-
Where: Sinful Burger | 4005 Twin Creek Dr., Bellevue
What: Two 1 ½ lb. beef patties, 10 slices of American cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions, between two pieces of Indian fry bread resulted in 4 lbs. of burger. Eaters also had to consume a full pound of fries, all in one hour or less.
Prize for Completion: The wall of fame, perpetually named for the current record holder, was peopled with winners. Anyone able to displace the record holder walked away with a cool $100, in addition to the comped meal.
Competitive eaters need not apply, as they could win the free burger, but not the prize money. Sinful wanted to keep this a civilian competition after renaming the wall for more than one professional. The owners did, however, offer a $300 tab to anyone who could convince Man v Food to film an episode at the location, but Sinful has not yet made the list of Adam Richman’s Omaha stops.
Challenge Level: N/A — This challenge was mentioned numerous times in my research for this piece, but it no longer exists. With the last winner announced less than a year ago, a call to the establishment confirmed the challenge was no longer available to diners. No other information was given.
Have you participated in any of Omaha’s food challenges? Let us know in the comments, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.