AURORA, Colo. — A Los Angeles YouTube competitive eater and influencer seeking to beat a pizza challenge at an Aurora business says the owner accused her of being a professional competitor trying to scam his business, called her explicit names and kicked her off the property.
On Sunday, YouTuber Raina Huang planned to take on the OMG 28” pizza challenge at StevO’s Pizza n Ribs. The competition requires the competitor to eat the pizza in one hour with no breaks for $100.
There are no rules or regulations online or inside the business that say certain people cannot take part in the challenge.
A portion of the surveillance video captured by the restaurant shows Huang asking for the pizza challenge. Video shows that restaurant owner Steve Wieand asked Huang if she is a professional eater when she asks to record herself eating the pizza. Huang told Wieand she's done a few food challenges and adds that she records them for YouTube.
Video of Wieand’s confrontation with Huang was not released.
A separate video posted online by Huang shows her crying and accusing Wieand of calling her explicit names and kicking her off the property.
“I’ve never had a restaurant experience this bad,” Huang said in the video. “I was just here to do a pizza challenge. I don’t understand.”
Huang travels across the U.S. conquering food challenges for her online food channel and website. She says she’s won 465 food challenges, but she doesn’t consider herself a professional food competitor. She says her YouTube page is her version of the TV show "Man v. Food."
“I’m not a professional eater because I’m not part of the professional eating league, and I don’t compete in the Nathan’s Hot Dog [Eating Contest],” Huang said.
Wieand's daughter, Stephanie Wieand, works at the family restaurant. She says she witnessed the confrontation between her father and Huang and doesn’t condone 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.”
When asked how her father felt about his actions, she said, “I would say that he definitely feels bad.”
Steve Wieand has not released a statement or commented on the encounter. His daughter says he feels like Huang downplayed and lied about her experience with food challenges.
Stephanie Wieand says since Huang posted her video online calling out her father's behavior, people have been calling StevO’s Pizza n Ribs and hanging up. On Yelp, more than 50 people gave the business a one-star review on the day Huang posted her video. Reviews have since been turned off.
Google reviews show a track record of foul language and threats used by a man at the business, but they don’t directly mention the owner. Stephanie Wieand admits her dad stands up to customers when he feels it’s needed.
Stephanie Wieand didn’t interfere in the confrontation but says she’s now facing backlash.
“I had to log off TikTok yesterday because people were bullying me and calling me very bad names,” Stephanie Wieand said.
Huang says she wanted to share her story because she was treated unfairly and wanted other people to know what happened to her.
“I just want him to have more respect for his customers, towards other people in general,” Huang said.
Several restaurant owners have since reached out to ask Huang to take on their food challenge.
This story was originally published by Adi Guajardo on Scripps station KMGH in Denver.