YouTube food challenger kicked out of restaurant, accused of being a scammer

reina huang eating large meal
Screenshot: YouTube (Fair Use)

YouTube eating sensation Raina Huang visited StevO’s Pizza n Ribs in Aurora, Colorado, in order to film herself tackling that restaurant’s OMG 28" eating challenge for her YouTube channel. Huang and a friend planned to conquer a 28" pizza within an hour; the prize was not only a full (and probably sore) belly, but also $100. And of course internet fame. But the owner, Steve Wieand, wasn’t buying it. He accused Huang of being a professional competitor and a scammer, and he kicked her out of the restaurant, allegedly using profanities while doing so, Denver7 reports.

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Partially released surveillance video captured by the restaurant shows the initial interaction: Huang requests the pizza challenge and asks if she can film it. Wieand asks Huang if she’s a professional eater, and she can be heard saying she’s done a few food challenges and recorded them for YouTube. Footage of the ensuing confrontation was not released to Denver7.

Huang later posted a video showing herself crying and accusing Wieand of calling her what Denver7 describes as “explicit names” before kicking her out of the restaurant.

“I’ve never had a restaurant experience this bad,” Huang says, in the video. “I was just here to do a pizza challenge. I don’t understand.” Huang doesn’t consider herself a professional competitor since she doesn’t participate in eating contests. She describes her YouTube channel as more like Man v. Food: she travels the country to take on various eating challenges. So far she has won 465 of them, which isn’t all of them.

Wieand’s daughter, Stephanie Wieand, works at the restaurant and didn’t support his behavior.

“I think that it could have been handled better,” Stephanie Wieand said. “All I want to say is that I apologize to Raina and to everyone.”

Stephanie Wieand says her father “definitely feels bad.” But she also said that he felt like Huang downplayed her history with food challenges and lied about them. Since Huang posted her reaction video, people have been calling the restaurant and hanging up, while on Yelp, more than 50 people put up one-star reviews before reviews were shut off.

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Stephanie is also facing personal backlash. “I had to log off TikTok yesterday because people were bullying me and calling me very bad names,” she said.

It should be noted that there are no rules or regulations posted anywhere in the restaurant (or online) that exclude the eligibility of any potential contestants.

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After the incident, other restaurant owners reached out to Huang to ask if she would be interested in taking on their challenges instead. No word on whether or not she’s accepted, but I’m sure there’s more than plenty to go around.

DISCUSSION

By
asmallcat

Even if she IS a “professional eater” (can’t believe that’s a phrase anyone has ever said out loud seriously), you’re out $100 and the cost of the pizza in exchange for the free advertising that comes from her posting about it on youtube. How dumb do you have to be to decide that’s not worth it? Sheesh.