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Onward State Takes On The Campus Steaks Cheesesteak Champ Challenge

Before I begin, I would like to ask you to be cautious when attempting this challenge.

Last month, authentic Philly cheesesteak shop Campus Steaks opened at 119 S. Pugh St. The shop is run by Philadelphian Joe Ford, a member of a proud Penn State family.

The restaurant sells classic Philly cheesesteaks, chicken cheesesteaks, and homemade chips. Moreover, Campus Steaks dares anyone brave enough to take on the Cheesesteak Champ Challenge. The challenge tests worthy participants to eat a 24-inch cheesesteak, one large tray of french fries, and one large soft drink in under 30 minutes.

If completed, folks receive a cash prize, a t-shirt, and a photo with a Rocky Balboa robe and championship belt to be hung on the wall of the restaurant.

For some reason, I decided to attempt this challenge. And, as someone who grew up watching American heroes like Adam Richman of “Man v. Food,” Joey Chestnut, and the greatest hot dog deleter of all time, Gabe Angieri, I was inspired to give this one a go.

Admittedly, I was pretty confident entering this challenge. I didn’t eat all day, and I was ready to take down the cheesesteak.

When the Campus Steaks employees brought out the food, I went to work right away. I went after the bulk of the cheesesteak, and I downed half of the sandwich in about three minutes. Then, I ate some of the fries, but they were thick, and very hard for me to eat.

At the about 10-minute mark, I was already starting to get full as the fries began to taste like mush. I attempted to go back to the sandwich but I could only get down a few bites at a time. I hit a wall…quickly. My stomach started to ache, and the food was getting harder and harder to swallow.

Fifteen minutes in, I was slowing down immensely as it was taking a lot of water and soda to get down even the smallest of bites. It was around that time that I, unfortunately, called it as I just had no stomach room for anymore. I didn’t want to throw up in the restaurant, and I felt if I had any more food, I was heading in that direction.

All in all, I ate around three-fourths of the cheesesteak and about a third of the fries. This challenge was no joke, and I heavily underestimated it. Here’s a bit of advice for anyone thinking of attempting this challenge: pace yourself. I went way too fast at first, and it filled me up very quickly.

The fries are also killer. It’s quite a large serving of french fries and they’re a majority of what makes the challenge so hard. I would make sure to prioritize them over the sandwich.

Despite failing, I enjoyed taking part in this challenge and would highly recommend Campus Steaks. As a “just-outside-of-Philly” guy and cheesesteak connoisseur, Campus Steaks is the best option for a real, authentic Philly cheesesteak in State College.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in sports studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him watching reruns of Community or The Office. To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected].

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