Local restaurants offer food challenges

By Ericka Exton

Many restaurants in the area host their own signature food challenges which are open for all to participate in.

Riccardi’s Red Hots, 418 W. State St. in Sycamore, has some challenges not made for the faint of heart. The first challenge is the Dead On Arrival burger–named with good reason. It’s a burger that consists of seven quarter-pound patties, grilled onions, six slices of cheese and 10 strips of bacon, and must be completed in one sitting. If the challenge is completed, the challenger will be entered into the Riccardi’s Hall of Fame. The second challenge is the “6 Foot Under” burger, which is 10 quarter-pound beef patties, 12 strips of bacon and eight slices of cheese. The fastest time to consume one of these burgers is five minutes, according to Sue Riccardi, co-owner of Riccardi’s.

Riccardi said the idea for these challenges came from listening to the restaurant’s customers and wanting to serve up fun.

“Well, it started as just requests from customers that they wanted more meat on the burgers,” Riccardi said. “My son thought that’s just what we should do.”

Vinny’s Pizza, 221 W. Lincoln Highway, serves up a special challenge for those wanting to take it on. The Hurricane Pizza Challenge requires the challenger-taker to consume a 24-inch pizza with two toppings; to win, the pizza must be completed before the current best time of eight hours, said Robert Schlecht, owner of Vinny’s.

Schlecht said the current version of the challenge is a lot simpler than its predecessor, which requires a two-person team to eat a stuffed crust pizza similar in size to that used in the new challenge.

“This challenge is not the original one,” Schlecht said. “It needed to be a challenge that people had a better chance of winning.”

Another challenge available to DeKalb residents is the Blazin’ Wing Challenge at Buffalo Wild Wings, 2466 Sycamore Road.

The challenge is to finish 12 blazin’ wings, the hottest on the menu, within six minutes. Completing the challenge results in a celebratory photograph and a free T-shirt, according to the Buffalo Wild Wings website.

No meal is complete without something sweet, and Sunshine Scoop Ice Cream Shoppe, 818 W. Lincoln Highway, has a challenge for dessert lovers.

The challenge is called the Belly Buster, which entails eating 15 scoops of ice cream, a bag of gummi bears, a full can of whip cream and nuts. Complete the challenge in under 20 minutes and it’s on the house. The winner’s picture is also placed on the store’s wall of fame. Participating in the challenge costs $30.

“Only 12 people have tried this challenge in the two years we’ve been open,” said Sunshine Scoop co-owner Brian Fawaz. “Only two have actually completed the Belly Buster. Most people just do it for fun.”

There are many other choices on the menu at these establishments but there’s nothing wrong with chowing down and showing the food who’s boss.

Be sure to check out the Northern Star’s YouTube page to see our latest attempt at the Hurricane Pizza Challenge.