Food & Drink

Philly's Most Absurd Eating Challenges

Published On 03/03/2016
Jim’s Steaks

Jim’s Cheesesteak Challenge

Jim’s Steaks

Address and Info

South Street

Time limit: One hour
Prize: Free cheesesteaks if you break the record, massive bragging rights
How many cheesesteaks can you shove into your face in an hour? Current record-holder Bob “The Notorious BOB” Shoudt managed to put away 20 sandwiches in the time it takes to watch one House of Cards episode. That’s a lot of bread, meat, and cheese, people. Take on his record, if you dare.

Pudges Steaks

Cheesesteak Challenge

Pudge’s Steaks

Address and Info

Conshohocken

Time limit: 30 minutes
Prize: Free food, along with a T-shirt
As far as food challenges go, this one is fairly straightforward. There’s not a crazy combination of food, there’s just a lot of it. Gobble down a large cheesesteak, a 3lb tray of fries, and a large soft drink in 30 minutes or less, and a Pudge's T-shirt is yours. 

Drinker's Tavern

The Drinker’s Challenge

Drinker's Tavern

Address and Info

Old City (& other locations)

Time limit: 13 minutes
Prize: Free food, a T-shirt, your name engraved on a plaque on the wall, and a bottle of Joe’s Hot Sauce. 
... And, if you complete this challenge at all three Drinker’s locations, you get free drinks for a year. Slam 33 of the $1 chicken or beef tacos in 13 minutes and glory will be yours.

Loco Pez

Gordo Board Taco Challenge

Loco Pez 

Address and Info

Fishtown

Time limit: Nine minutes
Prize: A T-shirt, your name written on the Gordo Board
Sure, these street-style tacos are small -- about two bites each -- but they add up. Twenty tacos is roughly 4lbs of food. Note that even if you win, you still have to pay for the tacos you ate. 

Kibitz Room

The Kibitz Room Challenge

The Kibitz Room 

Address and Info

Cherry Hill, NJ

Time limit: 55 minutes or less
Prize: The food is free, you get your name written on the Wall of Shame
Your waistband better be made of elastic to tackle this behemoth. Not only do you have to eat this Frankenstein of a sandwich brimming with all kinds of deli meat and sandwich toppings -- corned beef, pastrami, turkey, roast beef, and brisket with coleslaw, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion, to be exact -- but you also have to eat an order of potato salad, coleslaw, and one of each kind of pickle Kibitz makes. Beware: if you can’t finish it, there’s a $50 charge. You don’t have to unhinge your jaw to chomp on this bad boy, but man, it would it help. 

Grand Salami Challenge

South Philly Bar & Grill

Address and Info

South Philly

Time limit: 20 minutes 
Prize: The food’s free if you finish it
Right in the heart of South Philly’s Cheesesteak Vegas is a truly impressive food challenge. This massive cheesesteak contains more than 6lbs of meat and various cheeses with mushrooms and onions. It’s like eating Thor’s forearm. 

Spread Bagelry

The Classic Whale 

Spread Bagelry

Address and Info

Rittenhouse 

Time limit: 60 minutes for one person, 45 minutes for two people, 30 minutes for three people 
Prize: If you can gobble the whole thing in the allotted time, it’s free 
With two days advance notice, you and up to two of your buddies can take on this monster. It’s a 4lb Montreal-style everything bagel with three pounds of Coney Island smoked salmon, two pounds of Spread’s whitefish salad, and two pounds of farm cheese with (un)healthy servings of tomatoes, onions, and capers piled on top. This is basically what Godzilla would eat if it came to brunch at your bubbe’s house.

Meathead's Deli

Three Levels of Hell

Meatheads Deli 

Address and Info

North Philly

Time limit: 30 minutes
Prize: A cash jackpot
This is the most convoluted of all the food challenges we’ve seen. Three of the spiciest half-hoagies -- the Devil’s Flame, the Super Devil’s Flame, and The Non-Sense -- need to be consumed in order of least to most hot, along with a side of ghost pepper au jus. You can only drink water or soda during the challenge, no heat-tamping dairy. If you finish it all, the cash jackpot is yours. However, if you fail, you have to kick $50 into the kitty. Only those over 18 can participate -- you need to sign a waiver. 

Crazy Doggs Grill

Man Vs Food Crazy Dogg Challenge

Crazy Doggs Grill

Address and Info

Prospect Park 

Time limit: 15 minutes 
Prize: A free meal and a T-shirt
A pound of hot dogs, 2lbs of chili, and two pounds of fries splattered with Cheez Whiz round out this buckle-buster. It’s $20, but on the house if you lick the plate clean. 

Up Next
goldie | Michael Persico
Food & Drink

Philadelphia's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
T his year was a mixed bag in Philly's food scene, with some of our favorite eateries closing down including Midtown staple Little Pete’s and Kevin Sbraga’s namesake restaurant, along with his fried-chicken haven Fat Ham. From the ashes of the shuttered destinations, though, Philadelphians can count on new restaurants to pepper the city’s food map as it continues to shift and change. This year the notable eateries making this list range from casual and beer-centric to traditional members-only clubs, from fast casual lunch spots to stylish cocktail lounges, from South Philly hideaways to airy suburban destinations. Take a look at the very best new Philadelphia restaurants of 2017.
Michael Persico

Goldie

Rittenhouse

Basic, well-executed vegan lunch spot serving falafel, fries, and shakes
Goldie’s menu keeps things simple, offering a few basic lunch staples that everyone can agree on: falafel (alongside Dizengoff pita bread), fries, and four different kinds of shakes. The eatery is just the latest in a string of restaurants from the Cook N Solo restaurant family to take over the Samson Street corridor that keeps Federal Donuts, Abe Fisher, and Dizengoff all within a stone’s throw of each other. You can now also start eating Goldie while you grocery shop, as there's a second location opening in the Fairmount Whole Foods. Read why Thrillist chose Goldie as one of the Prime 13 best new restaurants of 2017.

Palizzi Social Club

Passyunk

Old-world Italian recipes in reinvented retro digs
It didn’t take long for Bon Appétit to proclaim Palizzi Social Club one of the best new restaurants in the entire country this year, and while we’re very happy for the restaurant, the act of getting a table there has since doubled in difficulty -- and it was already tricky thanks to Palizzi's members-only dining policy. Once you make it inside, though, expect shareable small plates of filling fare, grilled specialities, and perfectly prepared pasta. Chef Joey Baldino took over the long-running club after inheriting it from his uncle, introducing a new set of Italian-American classic dishes in a space that stays authentic to its social club roots, complete with art deco bar and vintage cigarette machine.

Michael Persico

Rooster Soup Company

Rittenhouse

Charitable, crowdfunded spot for sandwiches, salads, and cocktails
As noted above, Rooster Soup Company isn’t far from Goldie, catering to a lunch rush crew that loves comforting sandwiches, hearty soups, and a midday Bloody Mary. You can also score brunch during the weekend, and late-night Friday karaoke if you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you feel about karaoke). The best part about Rooster Soup Co., though, is its backstory: The restaurant began as a crowdfunding effort started by Federal Donuts and Broad Street Ministry to give 100% of all the its profits to homeless and vulnerable Philadelphians. So, if you’re wondering whether to order that extra side or that second drink, just remember you’re doing it for the greater good.

Evan Sung

Walnut Street Café

University City

All-day cafe that can do upscale dining just as well as casual coffee
Now that most of us are sufficiently used to the FMC Tower being part of the Philly skyline, we've got the perfect excuse to actually step inside: a meal, at virtually any time of day, in Walnut Street Café. The airy, American-style cafe can function however you need it to: a casual stop for coffee and quick breakfast, a lengthy, multicourse dinner, a swanky happy hour option, or even a brunch place where you may or may not order from the raw bar. You can’t say no to a place so multifaceted it can offer both steak porterhouse for two and a fresh array of breakfast pastries all under one roof.

Bar Amis

Navy Yard

Homestyle Italian small plates in an expansion of the Vetri empire
This year, Amis Trattoria in Washington Square got a scaled-back, casual outpost in the Navy Yard to cater to the area’s professionals, as well as anyone on the hunt for refined small plates that cater to their cravings (as in smoked and fried mozzarella or Italian hoagie toast). At the bar you’ll find a mix of rotating, locally brewed drafts and standby bottles, as well the buzzy wine slushie -- frosé, of course -- that blends wine with rum and citrus. Bar Amis also employs the quinto quarto tactic, meaning it uses each part of an animal in its entirety for maximum sustainability without sacrificing taste for those Parmesan pork chops.

Danya Henninger

Rione

Rittenhouse

Casual shop serving perfectly crafted Roman-style square pizza
Just when you thought Philadelphia didn’t need any more Italian food, let alone pizza, along comes Rione with its thick, perfectly executed Roman-style pies. Whether you get the classic margarita or the more artisanal patate or prosciutto crudo pies, be sure to also grab a side of the potato croquettes, and save room for the tiramisu as well. The square pies are a breath of fresh air for the Rittenhouse area, and specifically among the other celebrated artisanal pizzerias around Philly, many of which focus on smaller, Neapolitan-style pies. Here, your meal is as big as you like -- the rectangular pizza is sold by the slice or the tray -- and the pies are extra fluffy thanks to a 72-hour airing period that gives the dough the coveted combo of being both thick and light.

Maison 208

Washington Square West

New American restaurant with French undertones and a retractable roof
The aesthetic of Maison 208 is enough to warrant a visit on its own, but thankfully the food is impeccable in its own right. Chef Sylva Senat, a contestant of Top Chef fame, opened the restaurant earlier this year with one clever design secret: a retractable roof that allows Maison 208 to seamlessly go from cozy enclave to open-air bar, with an upscale design as elegant as the menu. Share some small plates at dinner, such as the Kobe beef island lollipops, the braised pork belly, or the house pomme frites doused in garlic, truffle oil, and Gruyere cheese -- and if you want to get fully French (or at least pretend), there’s even ratatouille on the list of entrees. If you don’t have the time or funds for a full meal here, you can still enjoy the ambiance with a stop at the bar for small bites -- the pizza noir has black truffles and fontina -- and European wines.

Laura Lyons

Love & Honey Fried Chicken

Northern Liberties

Southern-style fried chicken with hearty sides and monthly pie specials
Love & Honey offers an easy -- and affordable -- way to indulge in Southern cuisine right here in Philly. Not only can you grab three- or six-piece chicken meals (or just order by the breast, thigh, and drum), but you can complete your plate with all the fixings for a comfort meal: mac & cheese topped with Ritz Cracker crumbs, cornbread, potato salad... the choice is yours. If you want wings, stop by Wednesday or Sunday, and don't be late -- the wings doused in hot honey sauce tend to sell out quickly.

Barcelona Wine Bar

East Passyunk

Some of the best Spanish tapas in Philly, alongside delicious cocktails
Right at the corner of the Ave and Watkins Street sits Barcelona, with its expansive outdoor patio and all the fixings to craft your fantasy cheese and charcuterie board -- what, don’t you dream about meat and cheese plates too? A lengthy tapas menu also means you don’t have to sacrifice any of what your palate desires; instead, small plates of crispy eggplant, steamed mussels, fig chorizo, and truffle vinaigrette hanger steak (along with 20-or-so others) are all perfectly acceptable to order simultaneously. At least, we think so. The seafood paella is an ambitious feast to conquer, though Barcelona’s handcrafted cocktails and sangria may help to fuel your appetite.

Spencer Starnes Photography

Mistral KOP

King of Prussia

Probably the best high-end meal you'll ever have in a mall
It’s not often we send city-dwelling restaurant seekers to the neighborhood that’s home to the second-largest mall in America, but as King of Prussia has continued to develop a quasi-downtown area in the form of the KOP Town Center, and as rumblings of a direct rail line from the city continue to reverberate, the area is getting harder and harder to ignore. At Mistral, located in the high-end part of the mall that houses the likes of Hermès and Cartier, expect locally sourced ingredients that come together in highly seasonal dishes. This is the second location of Mistral, which got its start in Princeton, and the PA location welcomes more Japanese-tinged dishes, including tuna poke and tempura squash on the most current menu.

Urban Village Brewing Company

Fishtown

Gigantic brewpub in the Piazza serving brick-oven pizza
Who doesn’t love a good brewpub? Urban Village takes the concept a step further with brick oven artisanal pizzas, including a new scrapple breakfast pie, made on dough that has been slow proofed for three days -- a baking technique that ensures soft, fluffy bread. In addition to artisanal pizza and standby brewpub fare like wings and fries, you can go ultra-high brow (at least for a brewery) with small plates like ricotta gnocchi, fried cauliflower, and three types of mussels. Not hungry? Stop in anyway for a beer flight to sample all the brews being carefully crafted onsite.

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