Joey Chestnut Chokes Down Victory at Martorano Meatball Championship

It was a balls-to-balls battle, with Joey "Jaws" Chestnut squeezing out a victory over Pat "Deep Dish" Berletti at Sunday night's Masters Meatball Eating Championship in Las Vegas. The competitive-eating marathon was sanctioned by Major League Eating and hosted by Broward restaurateur Steve Martorano, the tattooed hulk we recently profiled here.

Martorano, whose celeb-heavy Fort Lauderdale Cafe Martorano was named "Best Restaurant in Broward" by New Times this year, insisted that competitors honor his oversized meatballs by using utensils. Fork in hand, the six-foot, 218-pound Chestnut edged out Berletti by putting away 50 to Berletti's 49. 

And the 105-pound Sonya Thomas swallowed 42 meatballs to finish third. It was all over in ten minutes.

Chestnut is currently ranked number one by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. But we don't think Sunday's contest was too much of a burden: Martorano's meatballs have been known to reduce hard-nosed Juice reporters to tears. We'll be heading over there tonight to stage our own mini-meatball-eating contest. 

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