Competitive Eaters Form Renegade 4th Of July Hotdog Eating Competition

Hotdog230 Fifth, Manhattan’s largest rooftop bar, will make history and redefine the hot dog category in competitive eating on July 4th at 1 p.m. by serving up the world’s first official contest to determine the number of dogs without buns the competitors can consume in 10 minutes.

Traditionally, hot dog eating competitions challenge contestants to eat as many bun-enrobed hot dogs as possible in the allotted time. However, Takeru Kobayashi, the world renowned eating champion, and the five other professional feeders competing at the 230 Fifth event – Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, Tim “Gravy” Brown, Jamie “The Bear” McDonald, Wayne Algenio and Johnnie Excel (with at least an extraordinary 60 records among them) feel the hot dog bun can muddle results and promote cheating. So they have declared independence from it, an innovation which will likely raise the number of dogs eaten to a staggering 100 each – the current record with buns is 69.

We, as a group, want to see what it feels like and looks like without the bun,” enthuses Kobayashi, the six-time winner of the annual Nathan’s contest and the first competitive eating superstar. “It will change the tenor of the competition completely and focus the attention on what it should be … the number of actual hot dogs, which by definition are the cooked meat sausage component, that can be eaten in 10 minutes. And it’s exciting to do something that has never been done before.”

In addition to setting a new precedent for his sport, Kobayashi is excited about the fact 230 Fifth’s bunless competition will be the first time two such competitive eating heavyweights as himself and Bertoletti have gone up against each other at the same table since Kobayashi’s last bout with Joey Chestnut at the 2009 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Indeed the field of contestants for the bunless event is one of the strongest in recent memory. Kobayashi, credited with elevating competitive eating from a country fair tradition to an internationally recognized sport with his record-shattering showings, holds more than 20 eating records including six Guinness titles, while Bertoletti has 39, the most of any athlete in the history of the sport and is ranked the world’s No. 2 eater.   

Brown set the record for baby back ribs in 2012 and has eaten at the past four Nathan’s Hot Dog Contests and McDonald, the owner of Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ in Windsor, CT is considered the most exciting new eater in the sport. Rounding out the field Algenio and Excel bring another decade of combined competitive eating experience and more records to the table.

The annual Nathan’s Coney Island competition will proceed as scheduled. Chestnut has won the last seven titles, Kobayashi last won in 2006.

The world’s first bunless hot dog eating competition – open to the public and free of charge – will take place at 230 Fifth, 230 Fifth Avenue at the corner of 27th Street, on Friday, July 4 at 1 p.m. Doors will open at 10 a.m. with beverage service.  Food (including hot dogs with buns) service will begin at noon. For more information call (212) 725-4300 or visit

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