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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, July 25, 2014

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In Dining

Server Lindsay Krchma delivering a 72-ounce portion of prime rib. (PHOTO: Ward's House of Prime)

In Dining

Brian Ward with a big hunk of beef. (PHOTO: Ward's House of Prime)

In Dining

From left, Kurt Schmidt, Mike Litman and Al Halaka each dig into 10 pounds of prime rib on the Travel Channel's "Big Beef Paradise." (PHOTO: Ward's House of Prime)

Prime by the pounds: Ward's gets national attention for its portion sizes


When Brian Ward opened Ward's House of Prime in 2009, he had no intention of presiding over a nationally publicized eating competition. The veteran general manager of Mo's steakhouse simply wanted his own upscale restaurant with a beefy flair.

But this is Milwaukee, the land of large appetites, and the affable Ward finds himself in the middle of something big. Like serving a hunk of prime rib weighing more than 10 pounds to a single customer, who needed no doggie bag when he finished eating.

Seventy-three diners have eaten 40-ounce slabs of prime rib at Ward's. We know this because their names are on Ward's Prime Rib Wall of Fame. Eighteen have downed 64-ounce portions. That is 4 pounds, for the math challenged.

There are four names on the wall for having devoured 72 ounces, three for 88 ounces, two for 96, two for 106, and one each for 125, 160 and 168 ounces. Four diners' names repeatedly appear as they compete to top each other.

This all started when Dane Kasper went into Ward's with a big hunger one night and asked if he could order a portion of prime larger than the 8, 16 and 24-ounce options being offered. Ward served him 40 ounces, Kasper finished it, and the restaurateur promised to put the new portion on the menu and name it after his customer.

Brian's sister, Katie Ward, handles publicity and promotion for the restaurant, and she posted on Facebook and Twitter a picture of Kasper eating his large slab of prime rib. Other diners ordered the over-sized portion, and they also got their photos in the social media.

The 40-ounce championship mark fell as a competition developed among Ward's customers. Each person had to eat at least eight ounces more than the previous title holder to have the cut named after him or her.

Two women are on the Wall of Fame. Franzconshelle Valerio, a cocktail waitress at Ward's, has downed a 50-ounce portion. "She's tiny, about 5' 1", Brian said during a chat last week.

Marquette student Alyssa DiGilio, who is also small-framed, has the 72-ounce slab named after her.

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Talkbacks

buck | June 25, 2012 at 10:54 a.m. (report)

This man is dead. Looks to me like beef poisoning. Probably from some other restaurant. -Dr. Hibbert

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