The 6 Toughest Eating Challenges in St. Louis and One Foolish Man's Attempt to Beat Them All
|The Pointersaurus | Zach Garrison|
(1023 South Big Bend Boulevard, Richmond Heights; 314-644-2000)
The renowned Pointersaurus is a ten-pound, two-meat-topping (or four-vegetable), 28-inch pizza. It necessitates what must be the largest pizza-delivery box in the world. But, unlike most food challenges, a $500 reward awaits the two-person team able to eat every single bite -- quite the incentive. Challengers have one hour and may not use napkins to soak up the grease, or "pizza juice" as the rules call it. This last stipulation turns out to be significant; its rationale painfully manifests itself by the end of the challenge.
Initially, I couldn't help but think, "I love pizza; this should be no problem." Owner Dave Hughes informed me that over the last fifteen years, out of roughly 4,000 teams, only 33 have succeeded. I simply assumed I would soon join their vaunted ranks.
My friend Mike Boyle also loves pizza, which is why I chose him as my partner. Standing roughly six-foot-four-inches tall, Mike is lanky and lean, like one of those skinny Japanese professional eaters, so my confidence was high. We talked it over and chose bacon and pepperoni for our two toppings, figuring that our favorites would be easiest to eat.
When Hughes set the ginormous pizza down before us, it took up the entire table and jutted off the edges. He cut the pizza into squares, and Mike and I split it into quadrants that we were responsible for eating. The first piece went down no problem. The doughy crust, sweet tomato sauce and piping-hot cheese were so good that I began to think about how I would spend the prize money.
Expectations remained high as I worked my way into the center of the pie. But by slice No. 7, warning signs began to appear. The delicious crust seemed thicker than before and felt increasingly so with each bite. The sauce and mozzarella cheese soon congealed. And the pepperoni and bacon, at first so crisp and wonderful, began to weigh heavily in my stomach. I began feeling as if I'd swallowed a bag of marbles.
As we neared the halfway point, Mike was still bravely piling it in (he's so tall, I reasoned with flawless scientific logic, the food has a longer way travel), but I was flagging -- each bite a bit more uncomfortable, a bit more displeasing. My jaw hurt, my stomach was cramping and my gut hung over my belt. Mike and I looked at each other, red sauce clinging to our lips and fingers, and, despite the fact that we still had ten minutes left, we knew the end was nigh.
It wasn't even close. We got maybe halfway through, and that's being generous. To be fair, Mike ate more than I did, but in the end it didn't matter.
Aftermath: Here's the thing about choosing bacon and pepperoni as our toppings -- there ends up being a lot of "pizza juice." When consuming a great deal of pizza, the grease tends to gather and pool up somewhere above the stomach, where it sits and waits, like volcanic magma. Foolishly, I attempted to go for a walk afterward, and about halfway through, it all came roaring back up with a vengeance. I managed to keep it all down, but it was an awfully unpleasant walk home. But, hey, my refrigerator was full of pizza for the next week.
The first few pieces are very enjoyable; the last few pieces are not.