Joe Drasdis, of Pottsville, sets down the Skook Grilled Cheese on a table at Wheel in Pottsville on Tuesday.


Can a world famous competitive eater conquer a restaurant specialty that screams of Schuylkill County?

Randy Santel will give it a try.

Santel, known to thousands of social media followers for his eating feats, will take on the newly invented “Skook Grilled Cheese Challenge” on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Wheel in Pottsville.

“He reached out to us,” Savas G. Logothetides, Wheel owner, said Tuesday. While there have been other competitive eaters at the 201 W. Market St. restaurant before, Santel will be the first one to attempt the new challenge.

“We upped the game a bit,” Logothetides said.

The Skook Grilled Cheese uses two homemade slices of Italian white bread from Minersville Bakery, six types of cheeses, 1 pound of Kowalonek’s kielbasa, 10 Mrs. T’s pierogies and a bowl of tomato bisque, and the meal is paired with a bottle of Yuengling Lager. All food and drink must be finished within 30 minutes to successfully complete the challenge.

The former grilled cheese challenge was a bit easier, because it did not include the kielbasa, pierogies or beer.

“It’s funny in some of his videos, he talks about how Yuengling is his favorite beer. He was here to visit the brewery in 2015 and he’s excited to come back,” Logothetides said of Santel’s Pottsville appearance.

Santel was in Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday and was scheduled to be at Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh today before coming to Pottsville, according to Logothetides.

Santel is expected to arrive at Wheel at approximately 5:30 p.m. and will be there until 8:30 p.m., with the challenge beginning at 6:30 p.m. Most reservations at the restaurant are already filled, but Santel will be available for photos and autographs for other visitors.

“With over 800,000 Facebook followers, nearly 900,000 YouTube subscribers and 10 million website views per month, Randy is well known across the world for completing various eating challenges. In the nine years that Randy has been eating professionally he has completed 792 food challenges in all 50 states and 36 different countries,” Wheel posted on its Facebook page.

Beginning this Friday, the Skook Challenge becomes a regular menu item, Logothetides said. The cost is $40, but a challenger completing the meal within 30 minutes pays nothing and also receives a free T-shirt.

Wheel will also launch another feature, a “Wall of Fame,” which will display photos of those who have successfully met the challenge.

Contact the writer: 570-628-6007