There are many perks when you leave the labors of the kitchen and enjoy a nice meal out: service, delicious meals, and relaxation, to name a few. But what about glory?
If you didn't go out to dinner to make friends, but instead to win (even if your winnings are just a free T-shirt, a meal, or a photo on the wall), the dream is not too far from your grasp. These aren't tasks for the faint-hearted, weak-willed, or weak stomach'd. It will test your mind, heart, and, of course, your gut.
Check out a few of the elite eateries and bars with good old-fashioned food and drink challenges (in no particular order) and get ready to ride into battle.
B-Side Grill, New Paltz
This Main Street favorite has a monster challenge for those brave enough to face the Notorious BIG Burger Challenge. The quaint, retro burger joint gives all of its menu items a musical name and it makes sense why the walls are littered with albums and classical music bumping through the speakers.
Those who dare face the task are met with two one-pound, bacon-cheeseburgers, one pound of fries, a pound of onion rings, and a large milkshake to finish. Here’s the catch: you only have 30 minutes to clear your plate—and absolutely no help is allowed. Winners will receive a free shirt, a free meal (which you just ate, of course), and one week of free ice cream at B-Side. Losers receive the $25 check, a hefty dose of disappointment, and what we can assume is a dire digestion situation exacerbated by defeat.
Many have tried, but few have succeeded...
Hickory BBQ Smokehouse, Kingston
If you ever think you’re a resident BBQ champion, only happy when you've got a sauce-covered face, get a load of this greasy challenge. The smokehouse challenges you to scarf down a half-rack of ribs, followed by portions of pulled pork, chicken, turkey thighs, and beef brisket: almost 7 pounds in all. Don’t forget to finish four side-orders of your choice, which are also included in the challenge.
You have two hours to finish and will be left with a hefty $57.95 bill for your failure. However, those who defy the odds come home with no bill, a free t-shirt, and their name immortalized on a plaque on the restaurant wall. Are you up to the task?
Snugs Harbor Bar, New Paltz
As, arguably, the best dive bar in the village, Snugs offers the most die-hard drinker a grueling challenge with their shot map. Bartenders will give the maps for free, but the journey is no short order. The scroll is similar to a pirate map, with each new path leading to a liquor shot island of the map’s choice. In between you are allowed “free drinks” to slug a whiskey of your choice.
There are 52 shots in total and, although you must pay for them all, those who complete the trek receive the illustrious white poker chip that gives recipients a month of free drinks. The two catches are that the map must be completed within one year and rewards start as soon as you cash them in. Stop by for a beer, some live music, and to see if you’ll set sail on this booze cruise.
New York Firehouse Grille, Peekskill
Survivors/victors will receive a free shirt and won’t pay for a single bone. All contestants must be 18 or older to participate, no jokes!
Pool sharks and drinkers alike will adore this next challenge. It’s hard to tell whether the food or ambiance is better at this New Paltz favorite. Enjoy some live music or test your skills in their giant room filled with pool tables.
If you find you like the place, why not ask for one of their beer passports behind the counter? The booklet is free and is filled with a selection of 52 beers that are assigned to a variety of countries. Lucky for you, you only have to reach 32 drinks, at your leisure. Winners get a, exclusive Bacchus shirt with “round the world beer club,” printed on the back. You can only get this shirt from the challenge so you’ll have to earn that glory (and the jealous looks from folks at the gym) the hard way.
Sticky Lips Pit BBQ, Rochester
While a bit of schlep away from the Hudson Valley, this Rochester spot's celebrated challenge is worth the drive. The business advertises themselves as “casual BBQ dining,” but their “Atomic Bomb” challenge is far from it. The challenge was first made famous on the television series Man vs Food—and now it’s your turn to take the challenge.
Diners must take on a whopping one-pound of pulled pork, a one-pound hamburgers (each dressed with tomatoes, lettuce, and onions), one pound of fries, a half-pound of meat sauce, a quarter-pound of cheese, and eight strips of bacon. If you’re able to devour this heap of meat, you’re awarded a shirt and a spot on their marquee board in front of the restaurant.
If you're of strong will and iron stomach, any of the above challenges may be the right fit for you.
If you're a champion of Hudson Valley restaurants, why not download Chronogram Smartcard and get discounts from the coolest participating restaurants?