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Food Network Showcases Eating Contest At Local Pizzeria

Fort Collins-based Pizza Casbah is getting some national exposure courtesy of the Food Network, six contestants and somewhere north of 30 pounds of pizza.

A crew and host from the Food Network show “Outrageous Food” took over the pizzeria Thursday afternoon to shoot three two-person teams each trying to finish a 30-inch pizza loaded with five toppings of their choice. Toppings ranged from spinach and sun-dried tomato to Canadian bacon and pineapple. Each pizza weighed 11 to 13 pounds.

“You’re going to eat 30 inches of jalapeño pizza? You don’t think that’s a bad strategy at all?” asked host Tom Pizzica of one team. “It’s not going to be a good idea tomorrow.”

Under the competition rules, contestants had one hour to finish the entire pizza. They could not stand during that time.

“I’ll do anything for science,” said contestant Aaron Donaho.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan agreed not to publish the outcome of the competition in advance of the show’s broadcast. The show’s air date has not yet been set.

Casbah has been offering the pizza challenge for about a year, and in that time, only one team out of 20 has won.

During Thursday’s challenge, Pizzica revved up the crowd that packed into the pizzeria, a crowd that included friends and family of contestants. He also repeatedly questioned the teams, which he dubbed Team Veggie, Team Spicy and Team Hawaii.

“You’ve got like the turducken of pizza,” he said to one eater, who had stacked two slices and then folded them over.

In response to one question, Donaho shot back: “I do not think. I just eat.”

Pizzica and the crew were heading to Brush Friday to film a massive hamburger at a diner. They already have done shows about a 10-pound meatball sandwich and a 72-inch burrito.

Casbah owner Deano Zahakis said he welcomed the publicity he hopes the show will bring his restaurant, which serves New York-style pizza at 126 W. Laurel St.

Zahakis said the pizzeria near Colorado State University serves more than 300 slices daily, and runs through about 1,500 pounds of cheese and 2,000 pounds of flour weekly.

“It’s a great honor … and we still have no idea how we got the phone call from them,” he said.

Written by Trevor Hughes, Fort Collins Coloradoan.

(Copyright © 2011 Fort Collins Coloradoan, All Rights Reserved)

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