Ribfest opened its three-day run in Northcenter with the kind of weather forecast outdoor event organizers dream of: sun + heat = a boost in beer sales. But on Friday night, the focus was squarely on the baby backs, thanks to RibMania, the third annual professional rib-eating contest sanctioned by Major League Eating.
Corner 41, 4138 N. Lincoln Ave., which provided the slabs for the competition, has been a Ribfest stalwart since the early days. “I started with Smokin’ Woody’s, and now look at it,” said owner Al Bovani, sweeping his hand toward the throngs crowding the streets and sidewalks.
By contrast, Glutton Force Five, a food-truck concept from Tim “Gravy” Brown and Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, is making its debut at Ribfest. The truck is a natural progression for the guys, who finished first and second, respectively, at this year’s RibMania.
“I hate that foodie, foie gras Time Out crap,” said Brown, who recommends GFF’s Elvis Bread Pudding. “We wanted to make accessible food that was fun.” Considering the source – Brown and Bertoletti are professional over-eaters after all – you’d better have your heart attack pills at the ready.