This year, the group at RA Sushi in Baltimore knows a bit more about what to expect for their now-annual eating competition, Maki Madness. The inaugural event last year drew in hundreds of guests looking to win the prize of free sushi for a year. Scheduled for the night of March 21, the event is again themed around the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.
“We have contestants square off in a sushi roll eating contest,” explains Scott Bernas, general manager. “We have brackets, just like they do with March Madness, and contestants are bracketed off in certain regions. When the start whistle is blown, everyone in the restaurant crowds around and starts cheering and yelling for their favorite contestant. All the details have not yet been decided for this year, but we’re expecting our winners from last year to come back to defend their titles.”
The competition promotes the bar and its Tootsy Maki roll. Last year patrons ordered them alongside the competitive eaters to show support. Bernas is also counting on the spectators from last year to return for the fun.
“We have over 1,500 Facebook fans, so when we announce this competition online, we’re expecting a lot of buzz to go around. People get so excited about it — even if they think the concept is disgusting, they still want to watch it.”
In addition to Facebook, RA Sushi also will again use fliers, television and Twitter, but some things will change slightly.
“Last year’s event lasted around five hours, as we had to give the contestants time between each round to digest,” says Bernas. “The entire bracket was completed in one day. This year, we’re thinking of holding multiple rounds at one time so we can keep people here and involved with less down time.”