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  • Thomas Twombly

The 1948 Steak Challenge

I have often wondered about the oldest food challenges in history. Last August, I wrote about one of the oldest food challenges when a writer reported that a doctor in Illinois consumed five dozen raw eggs in one sitting in the 1800's.

In 1946, brothers Art and Dick Sayler opened Sayler's Old Country Kitchen in Portland, Oregon. The restaurant and store became known for delicious food with a friendly smile, serving over 17,000 dinners in their first year. Every meal served at the restaurant includes the works. The Full Meal Deal was conceptualized by Art and Dick, offering salad, bread, a relish tray, an entrée, side dishes, and ice cream to top it off.

By 1948, Art and Dick decided to offer steaks by the ounce and something more for those looking for a challenging experience at the restaurant. They came up with the 72 oz. steak challenge. Contestants have to eat a monster steak with the trimmings to hopefully get their meal free and declare victory over this daunting food challenge. The challenge became known in the area, with many attempting to defeat it.

For their 75th anniversary, the restaurant decided to take this challenge even further by upgrading it to a 75 oz. steak challenge.


Credit: Sayler's Old Country Kitchen


Over 700 people have defeated this challenge, while almost 2,000 have failed to take it down.


There is a reason why the steak challenge at Sayler's Old Country Kitchen has been around for over 70 years. This steak challenge has not only stood the test of time but remains one of the oldest food challenges ever. At this point, I wonder how many people will attempt this challenge in the years to come.

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