Framed images at Dunedin Bagels & Deli immortalize last year's pastrami-eating champion Joe Brady.
In one frame, he is stuffing his face with two fist-loads of the salted, cured meat. In another, Brady is triumphantly holding his first-place trophy.
And this year, Saul Shwarztein, owner of Dunedin Bagels, is challenging the area's beef-eating heavyweights again, this time to benefit the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
Shwarztein said year-long bragging rights will go to the fastest man or woman to devour three-and-a-half pounds of pastrami on Feb. 23. (Shwartzein said he is working on a prize package for the winner.)
Qualifying participants get 30 minutes on the clock to finish all three and a half pounds. If no one can finish, the competitor who crams the most meat wins.
Shwartzein said Brady polished off about two and a half pounds of pastrami.
Shwartzein said two people have qualified so far. No word yet on whether the reigning champion will return, although he was spotted as a spectator at a food competition in July.
Brady told Patch he was picking up cues and getting autographs from professional competitive food eaters like Joey Chestnut and Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas at the World Wing Eating Championship at the Orginal Hooters in Clearwater.
Want to Qualify?
Drop in at Dunedin Bagels & Deli before Feb. 15 (anytime during business hours). Participants will be give six minutes to eat one-and-a-half pounds of pastrami, after paying the qualifying fee of $14.95. The qualifiers with the best times will move on to the champion's round on Feb. 23 at Pioneer Park in Dunedin.
Participants must be 18 years or older.
Dunedin Bagels & Deli's hours are: Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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