Casey Webb is somewhat cagey when he talks about Billings restaurants.
More precisely, he won’t say who won when he tried to down a 78-ounce steak — him or the steak. He took on that challenge earlier this year at the Bull Mountain Grille. There is a reason he is coy: Webb wants people to catch his battle on the Travel Channel’s “Man V Food” episode set to air Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. MDT.
It bears pointing out at this point that Webb is not a relative of mine. A native of New Jersey who now calls New York City home, Webb has worked most of his life in the restaurant business. He started out washing dishes, then moved up to prepping in the kitchen and busing tables, finally working his way up to become general manager.
“As far as qualifying for the show, I was up for the challenge and I had the opportunity," Webb said in a phone interview from Kentucky where he was working last week on Season 2.
The 10-episode season launched Aug. 7 when Webb took on a hometown challenge in New York, trying a burger stuffed with French fries in Manhattan and a pizza on a pizza in a box made out of pizza in Brooklyn.
Webb said the challenges he faces are usually huge portions or super spicy dishes.
In Billings, he took on three food challenges. The Burger Dive challenged him to try the I'm Your Huckleberry burger and the Staggering Ox offered up what Webb called the “best sandwich in Montana,” the Texas Land Grab club.
Webb said he loved all three restaurants and ended up falling for Montana as well.
“These are places that people from outside the area don’t know about,” Webb said. “It’s the local folks that haven’t been recognized. People in that area deserve a little attention so we find places that deserve the exposure.”
At the Bull Mountain Grille, Webb said he had a whole cheering section.
“There were 25 to 30 people in there cheering me on. There were some previous guys there who took on the challenge and I got to speak to one. For me, playing competitive sports growing up, you put your game face on and go to work.”
At the Burger Dive, Webb said he bonded with owner/chef Brad Halsten because both of them are self-taught chefs.
“I’m always wowed by the passion and the motivation of these chefs. I had a blast with Brad. We hit it off.”
At the Staggering Ox, chef/owner Doug Craig even showed him the secret process to making round sandwiches, but Webb promised not to air that part on the show, and he didn't want to talk about it.
“Doug is cooking some classics. We were digging into the brisket and the club sandwich. Doug is such a gentleman.”
Webb is a quirky connoisseur with a pretty sweet job -- talking and eating. And he's pretty good at both.