A mouthful of an eating contest is about to get underway in Inuvik.
On Aug. 18, the Roost will pick two contestants to go head to head in a massive burger and deep fried sides eating contest.
Those unable to eat the massive, nine-patty burger paired with spuds, deep fried cheese sticks and onion rings will have to either pay for it — or donate the value of the monster meal to a charity of their choosing. Should one of the two gourmandizers put the entire thing away, they’ll be awarded a $150 mystery booza box, filled with new candies and other goods for when they manage recover from the feast. And of course bragging rights.
“There weren’t too many activities and events in town with restaurants so we wanted to create a little bit of excitement in the restaurant industry,” said Moody Elkhatib, who owns Booza Box and manages the Roost Diner. “A lot of people like eating, so eating is like a hobby. For me anyways.”
While the Covid-19 pandemic forced much of the hospitality industry to shut down, the largely delivery-oriented model of the Roost was able to remain open the entire pandemic. Masks were mandatory within the building, dine-in and liquor sales were ceased and tables were used to enforce six feet distances.
Elkhatib added the Roost was responsive to suggestions from customers on how to better adapt to the new circumstances.
Now that things are getting close to normal, Elkhatib said the Roost is still playing things safe. With Covid-19 cases still happening and tourism considerably hotter than anticipated this summer, the entire operation hasn’t come back yet.
“We’ve pick back up with the tourists,” he said. “But the backroom still closed and we’re still not serving alcohol because there’s still Covid-19 cases and it’s still not 100 per cent clean.
“We’re just trying to get back on our feet just like everyone else.”
But that hasn’t stopped the Roost from expanding — the aforementioned Booza Box — ‘booza’ means ice cream in Arabic — opened in May, allowing ice cream lovers to watch a custom-made combination of hand crafted frozen rolls and candy made right before their eyes. With Inuvik breaking temperature records this summer and tourism turned to the maximum setting, business has definitely picked back up since the pandemic.
With homemade pizza sauce, garlic sauce and fresh dough made dail, the Roost has plenty of options for those in need of a meal. Elkhatib recommends the shawarma, donairs, spaghetti, pizza and lasagne as the best sellers, though they sell everything from poutine to Chinese take-out. The Roost is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, from noon to midnight on Saturday and from 2 p.m. to midnight on Sunday.
The meat hits the mouth at the Roost Aug. 20. May the hungriest human win.