By Anna Streetman
KENNESAW, Ga. – Big Pie in the Sky is a pizza restaurant nestled in a shopping center near Kennesaw State University’s campus. Colorful paint decorates the front windows, including a giant pizza that says “Home of The Carnivore Challenge” next to it. Once inside, visitors quickly learn that Big Pie offers a few things that the typical pizza restaurant doesn’t.
Big Pie has enormous slices of pizza “the size of your head” and the opportunity to tackle The Carnivore Challenge, an 11-pound meat pizza to be eaten between two people. Many have tried the challenge, and few have succeeded.
Big Pie is known for their giant pizza slices. Their extra large pizza is 30 inches around. For comparison, Domino’s extra large pizza is 16 inches. Their pizzas come in several varieties, and there are more than 20 options for toppings.
Kennesaw State student Michael Moore says it’s hard to finish a single slice of the enormous pizzas.
“One time I came here and made the mistake of ordering two slices of the Bacon Cheeseburger pizza,” Moore said. “I couldn’t even finish the first slice. My eyes were bigger than my stomach.”
Big Pie currently has two locations – the original location in Kennesaw, and the newer location in Roswell, which opened in 2014.
In addition to being known for their enormous pizza slices, Big Pie is also known for its Carnivore Challenge.
The Carnivore Challenge is a pizza topped with 11 pounds of pepperoni, ground beef, Italian sausage, ham and bacon. The pizza can be eaten between two people and costs $50. It must be eaten in under an hour, and if either partner vomits, the party is immediately disqualified. If the partners win the challenge, they are awarded $250.
The challenge is usually attempted at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday to avoid peak hours.
Many people have tried the challenge, but most have failed. The first partners to ever beat the challenge were Erik Unger and Anthony Reganato. A full list of winners is available on Big Pie’s website.
Cyrus Mirsajedin, a Kennesaw State student, orders a slice of the Carnivore pizza whenever he visits the restaurant.
“I joke sometimes that I would try the challenge, but I’d never actually do it,” Mirsajedin said. “It’s probably way harder than it sounds to finish the challenge.”
Manager and Kennesaw State alum Stephanie Forsythe has worked at the Kennesaw location since they first opened in 2007. She started as a server and worked her way up to management. During her time at Big Pie, she has only seen four partners win the challenge.
“Most of the people who try fail,” Forsythe said. “I’d say there’s about a two percent success rate, if that.”
Forsythe said the fastest she has ever seen partners complete the challenge was 15 minutes.
The Carnivore Challenge came into the limelight when it was showcased on popular reality show “Man v. Food.” The television show centers around a man named Adam Richman, who tours the world to tackle various eating challenges. All four seasons combined, Richman has won 48 challenges and lost 38.
In 2009, during the show’s first season, Richman visited the Kennesaw location to try the challenge. At that time, nobody had ever beaten the challenge. Richman partnered with a man named Drew, who had attempted the challenge before. He ultimately failed the challenge because his partner vomited, disqualifying them both.
“Adam was very nice, very friendly and pleasant,” said Forsythe. “Before he started the challenge, he took a shot of olive oil to coat his throat to make the food go down easier or something like that.”
Forsythe said that after the show aired business picked up substantially, and the location had to triple its employees.
Tommy Dreyer has worked at Big Pie for a total of two years – one at the Kennesaw location, and one at the Roswell location. During his time with the company, he’s only seen one pair win the challenge.
“Most people who try are professional eaters,” Dreyer said. “I’ve never seen anybody win at the Roswell location, just the Kennesaw one. The people who come in bring their friends and family and a posse to cheer them on. Very rarely do they attempt it alone.”
Big Pie always offers discounts for Kennesaw State students; a 10 percent discount is available with a Kennesaw State student ID.