If you have an empty stomach and an iron will, try these five Northern Virginia food challenges.
Let's admit it: we all love going out to eat but hate getting the bill at the end of the night. Half the time I go out to eat with my wife, all I can think about is how much we could have saved by making our own chicken parmesan at home. I digress ... But now, there is another way. At a select few places in Northern Virginia, you can go out to eat, have a dinner large enough to feed a small African village, and not have to pay a dime to do it. That is, if you beat the challenge. Northern Virginia food challenges have been around for decades. Whether we're talking insanely hot wings or meals so humungous they literally cannot fit in your stomach, there is no shortage of foodies willing to go all in to get a free meal and their name in the restaurant record books! Here are five Northern Virginia food challenges that, quite honestly, you'd have to be crazy to try. 40 oz. Reuben Sandwich -- Chutzpah Deli in Fairfax, Virginia
From the street, Chutzpah looks like every other New York-style deli. If you go through the menu, you'll see a lot of deli breakfast and sandwich staples. But about halfway through the menu, a bold red rectangle informs readers that they aren't in Brooklyn anymore.
They don't bore you with any of the details. You get what it says: a massive, triple-decker 40-ounce corned beef reuben, topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, and a side of fries. If you can finish this "tiny little sandwich" in under half an hour, it's free. If you fail, it's going to cost you $44.44. An oddly specific price, I know, but that's part of the sandwich's charm. This food challenge isn't really that old. It has only been on the menu for the past three years. In that time, around 25 people have attempted the beast and, last time we checked, only THREE had successfully beaten it.Flatliner Challenge -- Buffalo Wing Factory in Ashburn, Chantilly, Reston, and Sterling
Some food challenges force you to eat an ungodly amount of food. Others torture you by burning your mouth off. The Flatliner Challenge at Buffalo Wing Factory does the latter, and its name truly says it all. The rules are simple. You have to eat 10 chicken wings doused in their hottest sauce (10,000 on the Scoville scale) without drinking or dipping in anything dairy-based. Yep, that means no bleu cheese or milk. Finish all 10 wings, and the meal is free. If you lose, it'll set you back $10. In the grand scheme of food challenges, that's not a bad price. Even food challenge experts warn that eating the wings is just half the battle. Sure, you may win the challenge and get your name on the wall, but you are going to seriously feel it a few hours later. 28-Inch Pizza Contest -- Family Pizzeria in Stafford, Virginia
This is one of the only Northern Virginia food challenges we know of that actually requires two people (which is good, because it would be impossible to complete alone). The basics of the challenge are simple. Two people have to finish a 28-inch, two-topping pizza in under an hour. Winners get a commemorative t-shirt, a free meal, and $40 of prize money to share between themselves. The record time was apparently set by Wayne Algenio and Dan Kennedy, who consumed the entire pizza together in just 8 minutes and 20 seconds. That is insane. However, there are rules. First of all, garlic, extra cheese, and extra sauce do not count as toppings. Seems like someone tried to game the system before. Second of all, if you vomit during the challenge, you lose; and if you happen to vomit inside the pizzeria, there's a $50 cleaning fee. Third, you can't go to the bathroom or leave the dining area at any time. And last, if you lose, you have to pay for the XXL pizza. Because the pizzeria is already busy on weekends, they will not be able to accommodate the challenge on Friday or Saturday nights.6.5-Pound Steakosaurus Sandwich -- Family Pizzeria in Stafford, Virginia
Yep, same restaurant, different challenge. The Steakosaurus is a massive 6.5-pound steak sandwich. Except -- with this challenge, you can't have a friend help you. If you can complete the sandwich in under 45 minutes, it's on the house, and you get a free t-shirt and $20 of prize money. Most of the rules for the 28-inch pizza also apply to the Steakosaurus. According to the pizzeria's website, only three people have completed the challenge so far. El Cachudo Challenge -- Guajillo Mexican in Arlington, Virginia
For 13 years, people have been attempting the El Cachudo Challenge. Named after another Spanish word for "devil," this wicked food challenge definitely packs a punch. This food challenge requires participants to eat an eight-pound burrito filled with pork chorizo, beef, chicken, fish, cheese, rice, beans, and hot sauce. In case that wasn't enough, it's topped with sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole. To know how big it is, use bell peppers in the image above for scale ... Oh, and did we mention that you only have 18 minutes to finish it, and you can't have anyone help you? If you can finish this behemoth, then it's on the house and your picture gets added to the wall of fame. If you lose, the burrito will set you back $19. Out of the first 350 people who attempted the feat, only 30 people reportedly completed it.
Which Northern Virginia food challenges did we miss? Post your favorite in the comments below!