You can watch intrepid contestants test their love for pizza — and their limits — at Rocco’s Pizzeria’s 12th Annual Pizza Eating Contest at the 2016 Fifth Avenue Bay Ridge Festival.
Over the years, the competition has become one of the main events at the festival. Since it began, it has drawn many locals to watch and compete in the contest. Co-owner Dan Loccisano, who shares the family-owned business with his brother Joe, believes that this year’s competition will, as it has done in the past, attract many locals and newcomers.
“It’s something that attracts the people of Bay Ridge and from other states as well. Even people from Boston come to watch and compete in the contest,” said Loccisano.
But, it’s not just about the pizza. The proceeds from the cramfest are donated to a charity of the restaurant’s choice that has done a lot for the community. This year, the money from the contest is going to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said Loccisano, who explained the choice was made after seeing what the center has done for his nephew who is in remission from the disease.
“I’ve seen what the center does for families and it’s important to give back,” said Loccisano.
The object of the competition is to eat as many slices as possible within 12 minutes.
Contestants start with an 18-inch pie and must eat all of the slices, including the crust. Those who finish the entire pie will be given additional slices. Any contestant who eats six slices or fewer must donate the value of slices eaten to the charity.
While Loccisano loves watching and hosting the event every year, he doesn’t think he’d be able to complete the competition.
“No, but I could maybe eat four slices by myself,” he said.
Rocco’s Pizzeria is located at 7818 Fifth Avenue. The pizza eating contest is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m.