Jim’s Steaks record category

Jim's Steaks South Street location experienced major damage after a fire broke out today. The Philadelphia restaurant's cheesesteak record, which dates back to at least 1977 when Lynda Kuerth ate 11 sandwiches in 90 minutes, was one of the longer running restaurant challenges. Bob Shoudt was the current record holder with 20.
Philly Mag has an obituary for Abner Silver, owner of Jim's Steaks in Philadelphia, who passed away earlier this month. The restaurant maintains a cheesesteak eating record (Pat Bertoletti is the current holder) which was started when Lynda Kuerth won a 1977 competition. The University of Pennsylvania student newspaper has a report on that event (on page 15).
Jim's Steaks announces that Bob Shoudt ate 20 cheesesteaks in an hour to retake the house record after Pat Bertoletti ate 17 sandwiches before the Wing Bowl. update Feb 25 PhillyMag has an article.
Philly.com has an article about Wing Bowl 22 odds claiming that Pat Bertoletti ate 17 sandwiches in 35 minutes at Jim's Steaks to qualify. (His stunt was eating scrapple and cream cheese). This would smash the official record of 13 sandwiches set by Bob Shoudt in 2007. Lynda Kuerth claimed to have eaten 15 sandwiches in the 1970s.
Joey Chestnut's victory at Dorney Park was not the only cheesesteak news this weekend. Takeru Kobayashi went to Tony Luke's and dined with Bill "El Wingador" Simmons. Another Philadelphia cheesesteak pilgrimage was made when Paul Wozniak went to Jim's Steaks to pay homage to his mother in law Lynda Kuerth eating 11 sandwiches in 1978 to set the house record, since broken by Bob Shoudt. He wore Lynda's 30+ year old Jim's Steaks T-shirt to the restaurant. (An article from 1978 mentioning the feat)

No mention of Bertoletti record attempt on Jim’s Steaks facebook

Jim’s Steaks in Philadelphia recently started a Facebook page, and there is no mention of a cheesesteak record attempt by Pat Bertoletti on it. Dave “US Male” Goldstein comments that Bertoletti fell two sandwiches short of Bob Shoudt’s record of 13. If that is accurate, Bertoletti’s 11 sandwiches would tie the 1977 record set by Lynda Kuerth.

CBS3 has a video about Abner Silver, owner of Jim’s Steaks, setting up the facebook page. Abner Silver also set up the 1977 event where Lynda Kuerth set the cheesesteak record.


Pat Bertoletti says he will attempt to break a cheesesteak record held by Bob Shoudt on Friday, which is most likely 13 cheesesteaks at Jim's Steaks in Philadelphia.

Man vs. Food September 23 (Philadelphia) episode links

Travel Channel Episode Guide | Slideshow | Side of the City video (South Street)


  • Tony Luke’s Challenge – Ultimate Cheesesteak
    Home Page | Citysearch | Yelp
    Video clip about the Ultimate Cheesesteak’s construction
    The Ultimate Cheesesteak was apparently created solely for the episode; it is not listed on the online menu.
  • Franklin Fountain meal – Mount Vesuvius sundae
    Home page | Citysearch | Yelp
  • Dinic’s Roast Beef & Pork meal – Italian roast pork sandwich
    Yelp | Holly Eats review

List of Philadelphia area eating challenges in the eatfeats database

It would be interesting to learn why a made for TV sandwich at Tony Luke’s was used as the episode’s challenge when Jim’s Steaks has maintained a cheesesteak record for over 30 years. Perhaps the current record of 13 cheesesteaks in an hour by “Humble” Bob Shoudt was too daunting. (The program guide says that Jim’s Steaks will appear in the episode.)

13 cheesesteaks might not be the overall Philadelphia record. In a 1978 article, Lynda Kuerth, Jim’s steaks record holder from 1977 to 2001 (11 sandwiches) said she ate 15 steak sandwiches during a visit to Philadelphia. (The location and duration of that feat was not mentioned.)

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PatsVsGenos has an interview with "Humble" Bob Shoudt, mainly about breaking the cheesesteak record at Jim's Steaks two years ago.

Jim’s Steaks Wall of Fame pictures from Steakbellie


Steakbellie was recently in Jim’s Steaks in Philadelphia and he took some pictures of the Wall of Fame and emailed them. There are apparently just two members of the Wall of Fame. Lynda Kuerth ate 11 cheesesteaks in an hour and a half in 1977 and high school football player Alex Friedman bested that by one sandwich in 2001. The pictures of Alex Friedman are surrounded by receipts for his steaks. The wall has apparently yet to be updated with “Humble” Bob Shoudt’s record breaking 13 cheesesteaks in January. Pictures of the Wall of Fame are available after the jump.

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Humble Bob breaks Jim’s Steaks record

wcbstv.com has an article and video about “Humble” Bob Shoudt breaking the cheesesteak record at Jim’s Steaks in Philadelphia. Humble Bob ate 13 sandwiches in about an hour to break the record of 12 set by Alex Friedman set in 2001 in a Wing Bowl qualifying stunt. Freidman broke Lynda Kuerth’s 1977 mark of 11 cheesesteaks, which remains the women’s record.

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Lynda Kuerth – Trencherwoman of the disco era (Post #1000)

(This is the post with id # 1000. There are actually fewer posts available on this blog due to deletions and cancelations, but I thought it still deserved a more significant entry than just a one sentence post linking to another article.)

LyndaKuerth.jpg If you have a Guinness Book of World Records from the late 1970s or 80s, there are several pages devoted to eating records in it, and in that section, there is probably a picture of Olivet, Michigan native Lynda Kuerth standing over a plate of hot dogs at a contest at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia in 1977. Ms. Kuerth won that event by eating 23 bunless hot dogs in 3 minutes and 10 seconds (at bottom of link). Her victory is mentioned in an article about Sharon Scholten, another female hot dog eating champion. This mark compares reasonably well with current eaters’ results. Humble Bob Shoudt ate 20 bunless hot dogs in 3 minutes and 40 seconds in his successful qualifying stunt for the the 2005 Wing Bowl. It is interesting that a female competitive eater surprised a Philadelphia stadium crowd over a quarter century before Sonya Thomas shocked Wing Bowl 12 spectators at Wachovia Center in 2004.

Lynda Kuerth showed that her talents extended to long duration events when she set the cheesesteak eating record at Jim’s Steaks in Philadelphia by eating 11 sandwiches in 90 minutes in 1978 or 1979. (I am not sure if this record still holds, but it lasted at least two decades if it has been broken. Her trips from Michigan to Philadelphia invalidate Don “Moses” Lerman’s claim that he is the first competitive eater to travel outside his or her home region for contests. Gregg Kirk wrote an article about Jerry Lehane III’s attempt to break Ms. Kuerth’s cheesesteak record (he finished with 7 sandwiches) around 2000 which is not available on the web. The last paragraph offers a description of Lynda and her feats:

In 1978, in an effort to generate publicity for his establishment, [Jim’s Steaks owner] Abner Silver decided to have an eating contest. One night on the news, he saw a human-interest story on Olivet, MI native Lynda Kuerth who had broken the Guiness Book of World Records title for banana split eating. After making a few phone calls to the television station, Abner got in touch with Lynda and agreed to fly her to Philly and give her a place to stay for the competition. That year, Lynda ate 10 1/2 steaks in an hour and a half, and later that year she appeared in Veteran’s Stadium and broke the Guiness Book of World Records in hot dog eating (without the bun). She ate 23 hot dogs in a minute and a half. The next year, she returned to Jim’s to break her own record by eating 11 steaks. No one has been able to come close since. Oh, and how big is Lynda, who now lives a quiet life in Michigan with a husband and two kids? “She was about five ft., eight and about 135 lbs.,” says Abner. “She had an amazing metabolism.”

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