Can one person eat a 28-inch pizza in an hour? The short answer is: no. But that didn't stop two devotedHouston Press
staffers from taking on Russo's New York Pizzeria's party pizza challenge.
Although other Russo's have carried the 28-inch party pizza for a while, it's still somewhat new to the Russo's New York Pizzeria location at 5727 Westheimer. If you can finish the coffee-table-sized pizza with two toppings within an hour, Russo's will pay you $200. I don't anticipate anyone walking away with that prize money any time soon, however, as demonstrated by our utter failure to make a dent in the two 28-inchers we ordered this past Sunday afternoon.
Houston Press receptionist Abrahan Garza and designer Anthony Reynolds each tackled a pepperoni pizza of their own on Sunday. Although the pizzas only had one topping each, I don't think an additional topping would have made a difference. The biggest barrier to eating all that pizza, as the boys found out, wasn't all the pepperoni: It was all the grease.
"I think I can eat half," boasted a cocky Reynolds prior to the competition between him and Garza. Fifteen minutes into their competition, Reynolds had retreated to the bathroom for a breather. He had barely eaten one-fifth of the pizza at this point. Upon his return, he could no longer disguise the fact that the pizza was already getting the best of him.
"I feel intoxicated," he moaned. Drunk on grease.
Garza, on the other hand, had already eaten nearly half of his pizza. But we quickly discovered that this 15-minute mark represented a wall for both men; neither ate much more pizza past this point, other than to take a few feeble bites in between sips of lemon-laced water.
"My jaw is tired," complained Garza, who hadn't anticipated muscle exhaustion being his Achilles' heel.
Although he was winning, Garza started to pull some tactics out of his arsenal to make sure that Reynolds didn't come from behind. "Rats," Garza said, peering at Reynolds. "Think about rats." Reynolds just stared back at him.
"I think he's trying to Stand By Me you," I offered.
"It won't work," said a defiant Reynolds. "I watched The Human Centipede over dinner last night."
Stomach of steel aside, it became clear around the 30-minute mark that neither man would come close to finishing the giant pizzas. At 45 minutes in, both had admitted defeat. The Russo's party pizza had beaten them both.
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As the friendly folks at Russo's packaged up the pizzas into a sizable box, Garza -- beaten but not too badly bruised -- grabbed a few slices to take home. Reynolds could barely stand to look at another slice, however. He watched as the box barely slipped through the front door of the restaurant and was wedged tightly into the back of my SUV, bidding those many slices a final farewell.
"I'm probably going to go home and cry myself to sleep," he said.