Train like Joey Chestnut: 3 local food challenges

Prove that you’re the ultimate eater by trying these three local food challenges.

The exterior of the Iguanas Restaurant in downtown San Jose.

Stop by to grab the ‘burritozilla’ and enjoy the restaurant’s vibrant exterior by Este Huizar.

Photo by SJtoday staff

If there’s one local celebrity that we all look to in awe, it has to be Joey Chestnut.

The unsuspecting competitive eater has chowed his way through the US — clinching his 16th title at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest just this year.

But this San Jose native needed local spots to train at. Want to step into Chestnut’s shoes for a moment? Check out these three local eating challenges.

🍗 Hellfire Challenge, Smoke Eaters
Prepare to sweat — “Man v. Food” host Adam Richman made a stop here, but just barely completed the challenge. You’re given 10 minutes to eat 12 wings smothered in Smoke Eaters’ hottest “Hellfire sauce.” You can’t drink anything, you must lick your fingers clean, and then sit in the heat for five minutes for that full afterburn. Ouch.

🌯 Burritozilla Challenge, Iguanas Burritozilla
60 minutes, one 5-lb burrito. The monster burrito is stuffed with all the goods — rice, beans, meat, salsa, guacamole, and three large tortillas. Both local competitive eaters Matt Stonie + Joey Chestnut took the challenge, each completing it in under three minutes. If you win, you get a free t-shirt.

🍕Pizza Roulette, Tony & Alba’s Pizza
A new game is coming to San Jose’s punniest pizza spot in January 2024: the Pizza Roulette. Enjoy an extra large pizza with toppings of your choice but beware, one slice is hiding a slathering of “Pepper X,” the world’s hottest chili pepper. If you manage to get the slice — and eat it all without drinking for five minutes — you’ll get a $20 gift certificate, bragging rights + hopefully one of your friends will buy you a drink afterwards.

Know of another restaurant hosting a food challenge? Send it our way.

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