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Firefighters beat cops Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Jan 22 2011 12:00 PM

Brian and David McGonagle knew exactly what they were getting themselves into when they invited National City police officers and firefighters over for lunch: a challenge of man versus meat.

The inaugural McGonagle Cheesesteak Challenge took place Wednesday and was a messy success.

The fire fighters emerged victorious, with four members finishing more than 18 pounds of cheesesteak within 30 minutes.

Mbalaka Monololo, 31, has been with the National City Fire Department for 18 months and helped his team win the challenge. The prize: "Bragging rights," he said smiling.

Monololo said the event was to help promote the restaurant and bring more business to the community.

"They have one of the best Phillies I've ever had," he added.

The idea for the challenge occurred when National City Mayor Ron Morrison walked into the McGonagle's restaurant.

The brothers discussed an eating competition between the city's firefighters and police with Morrison, picturing them scarfing down as many cheesesteaks as they could stomach.

McGonagle said the event adds some prestige to the National City community. "We're kind of like the cheesesteak rep for the whole South Bay," Brain McGonagle said.

There's also a daily cheesesteak challenge at McGonagle's, which was conceived when Brian, David and their friend Marc were watching the Food Network.

Fifty dollars is awarded to anyone who can finish their sandwich in the alotted time. The losers have their mug shots posted on the wall-of-shame located in the bathroom.

McGonagle's is located at 1231 Highland Ave. and has been open six weeks.

They opened their first location off Reo Drive in San Diego a year and a half ago.

 

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