Martorano’s Meatball Extraordinaire
The Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas was the place to be on November 8, 2009 when the first Meatball Eating Championship was held at Martorano’s Café. One could not miss the wonderful aroma of Italian cooking and being it was Sunday, it brought back the days of the big pot of sauce simmering on the stove. I immediately looked for the Italian bread. I spotted owner, Chef Steve Martorano in the kitchen looking over the big of sauce and trays of meatballs.
I instantly loved Steve as we exchanged greetings and especially when he called me “Princess”. It was sweet and heartwarming and I felt like it came from his heart. Steve’s Italian recipes come from his heart too. I can see why everyone is attracted to Steve and want to be around him.
Joey Chestnut won the Meatball Eating Contest, beating out the other 11 major league eaters with a total of 50 meatballs. Second place went to Pat Bertoletti with a total of 49 and in third place was Sonya Thomas with 42 meatballs fourth place Ben Monson ate 38, fifth place Badlands Booker ate 33.5, sixth place Rich LeFevre ate 33, seventh place Ron Koch ate 30, eighth place Damon Wells ate 28, ninth place Ryan McKillop ate 23, tenth place Jason Erb ate 20, and eleventh place E Toro ate 16.
Pat, Joey, Sonya, Booker Winner Joey Chestnut
Steve, Joey and Nikki Joey Chestnut
Coming out of retirement just for this is Rich “The Locust” LeFevre who has been eating in hundreds of competitive events since 1995, from hot dogs to donuts and tamales. His wife Carlene was in the audience cheering him on.
Making a grand entrance was Eric “Badlands” Booker who I thought would win this event because of his large size. I asked him what he did to get ready for this event and said he went to bed early last night and got up early this morning and wandered around the beautiful Rio casino.
Booker, Nikki & Rick Russo
A fierce contender was Patrick Bertoletti who is ranked second in the International Federation of Competitive Eating. He was one meatball behind Joey. Well at least in September he did win the Nugget Rib Eating Championship, eating over 5 pounds of pork rib meat in 12 minutes.
Sonya Thomas ranks number five in the United States and sixth in the world of competitive eaters. When you look at her small stature you do not believe that she can compete with all the men. She is 98 pounds and holds over 25 eating competitions. She says that her big advantage is that her stomach can expand because she doesn’t have rings of fat. She only eats once a day, vegetables and fruit and no junk food. That makes sense and accounts for her thin body.
After almost 10 minutes of watching everyone shoving, stuffing, drooling, drinking and jumping around eating the meatballs, I was pleased to see Angelica Bridges sitting and eating like a lady. She said she enjoyed every mouthful of the delicious meatballs. They were spicy and tasty. Angelica is performing in the show “Fantasy” at the Luxor and she is a beautiful addition to the cast. Not only is she beautiful, she is charming and gracious and everyone loved her.
Angelica Bridges Nikki & Angelica
I don’t know how many meatballs the chefs prepared but the final count that the contestants consumed were 372 meatballs and there were plenty of plates waiting to be served. Lucky for us because we got to eat the meatballs too and did not have to rush. They were so delicious and Steve can truly brag when he says that he makes the world’s best meatballs. You will just have to go to the “Martorano Cafe” to experience his fabulous Italian food. Make sure you leave room for his delicious homemade desserts.
Steve & Joey w/Chefs
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