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Tattooed Moose barflies engage in a beefy battle

Meat and Greet

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So what’s the going prize for winning a meatball eating competition these days — a trophy? Bragging rights? Acid reflux? At the Tattooed Moose’s Loose Meat Party on Thursday, the fastest person to down 20 meatballs won a T-shirt and a $25 bar tab. The Moose crowd was low-key before the contest began, but spirits were high as barflies waited for the kitchen to ladle out all those meatballs.

The challenge began slightly after 10 p.m., when overhead spotlights were directed at the six contestants sitting at a table. Host Jason Groce got the carnivores geared up as the 20 meatballs were plated, served with toothpicks. The contenders started off slow, munching away at the tennis ball-sized rounds of meat, almost as if the race was a dinner party. The crowd began to chant, “Eat your meat! Eat your meat!”, inspiring the contestants to pick up the pace. “Hats off to the chef,” one said, with a half-eaten meatball in his mouth.

A man named Dan, who refused to give City Paper his last name, won by at least eight meatballs. He admitted that he’d entered the competition spontaneously, and that he wasn’t even hungry — he’d already eaten dinner.

Leftover meatballs were passed around the bar as the excitement died down — they were quite tasty. Groce raffled off a package of chicken feet before Ben Dante, the lead singer of Dante’s Camaro, insulted the audience for, among other things, bidding on raw meat. 

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