CINCINNATI – For some people, eating isn’t just about nourishing the body or enjoying a tasty treat – it’s an opportunity to push the human body to its limits of speed and gorging.
For those who like to test their digestive system, Greater Cincinnati restaurants have plenty of eating challenges to attempt. Just looking at some of them will make your tummy rumble with fear and hunger.
Here are some of the most popular local options.
(Eat at your own risk. Seriously, we're not kidding. A few of these don't even look possible.)
- Izzy’s, multiple locations
The “110 Reuben Challenge,” made famous by its appearance on “Man v. Food,” includes a super-sized potato pancake, a pound of corned beef, and a colossal pile of sauerkraut and Swiss cheese on a gigantic specialty baked poppy seed oval loaf. Oh, and there's a “jumbo" side of pickles. The sandwich weighs 5 pounds. If you finish everything in a half-hour, it’s free, and you get a T-shirt and your photo on the wall of fame. If you fail, it’s $19.99. Izzys.com for locations and contact info.
- Willie’s Sports Café, Western Hills
The “Challenge Burger” is so big they make you sign a waiver. It includes three 1-pound burger patties, 12 strips of bacon, and eight slices of cheese, all layered with grilled cheese sandwiches and drenched in tartar sauce. You have to eat it all, including a side of fries, in an hour or less to win. Fail and it’ll cost you $34.99 -- and probably a mean stomachache. What worries us even more is there's no photo of this beast of a burger online. Did no one live to tell about it? 6380 Glenway Ave., Cincinnati. 513-922-3377.
- Sub Station II, Florence
The “Monster Sub Challenge” includes a 3.5-pound “double decker” ham, salami, pepperoni, turkey, bologna, cappicola and cheese sandwich, plus a pound of fries and a large drink (no ice), weighing a total of more than 7 pounds. Finish in an hour and it’s free, plus you get a T-shirt. Lose and it’s $25. 7905 Dream St., Florence. 859-371-9490.
- Ramundo’s Pizzeria, Mount Lookout
In this team challenge for two people, diners must finish a 26-inch pizza with two toppings (your choice) and extra cheese in just 10 minutes. Winners eat on the house and get a winners T-shirt. Losers get a “challenge failed” T-shirt but have to pay $35 for the pizza. Looks easy, right? Wrong. This is about 8 pounds of food. The restaurant's owners have some suggestions to help you succeed: Stack two to four slices at a time or burrito your slices (roll them up into a pizzarrito, if you will). You also can dunk the slices in water. Oh, and eat the crust first. 3166 Linwood Ave., Cincinnati. 513-321-0978, ramundospizzeria.com
- Roc-a-Fellas Pizza, Sharonville
“The Bomber Challenge” pits a pair of diners against two drinks and an 18-inch “bomber” stuffed with bacon, ham, cheese, sausage and pepperoni, which must be finished in 30 minutes. Complete it and it’s free, plus you get a T-shirt. Fail and it’s $26.99. 11055 Reading Road, Sharonville. 513-769-3128, www.sharonvillepizza.com
- Blue Ash Chili, multiple locations
The “No Freakin’ Way Challenge” includes 2.5 pounds of spaghetti, 2.5 pounds of chili, 2 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese and 1 pound of jalapeno caps. Finish in an hour and it’s free. You also get a T-shirt and your picture on their Facebook hall of fame. Fail and you’re out $39.99. Blueashchili.com for locations.
- Padrino, Milford
The spaghetti and meatball challenge features 2 pounds of spaghetti, 1 pound of meatballs, 1 pound of marinara and garlic knots. No excusing yourself from the table. Finish it in 45 minutes and it’s free, and you get a T-shirt and your photo on the wall of fame. Otherwise, the meal runs $30. 111 Main St., Milford. 513-965-0100, www.padrinoitalian.com
- Tom + Chee, various locations
This locally based chain offers the “baker’s dozen challenge,” with 12 grilled cheese doughnuts and one surprise specialty doughnut. You have to finish in one sitting, with a drink, but no bathroom breaks. Finish and it’s free, plus you get a free T-shirt. Otherwise it’s $54. Tomandchee.com for locations.
- Howie’s Diner, Lawrenceburg, Indiana
The “giant biscuits and gravy challenge” weighs about 5 pounds, and you have just one hour to eat it all. If you finish, it’s free and you get a free T-shirt and certificate. 1049 West Eads Parkway, Lawrenceburg, Indiana. 812-537-0313, www.howiesdiner.com