Pendleton Carryout Co. wins summer with the 5-pound SnoBall Bucket Challenge

Winners take home a free cheese pizza—not that they’d be able to eat it.

Photo courtesy of Pendleton Carryout Co.

Editor’s Note: This story is a part of an occasional series celebrating the summer’s best desserts. While you’re here, get to know chelo chelocotton candy burritos and oat-milk Snowdays

OK fine, officially Popeyes wins summer with its new fried chicken sandwich, but here in Virginia, there are a few contenders for the most splashy dessert.

The latest is the monster challenge from Alexandria’s food incubator, Pendleton Carryout Co.: the 5-pound SnoBall Bucket Challenge. Winners are gifted a cheese pizza (equaling 2 more pounds of food).

The water ice also comes in normal sizes, of course, and in flavors of watermelon-cucumber, lemon-lime jalapeño, cherry cola, cold brew, cherry and lemon-line with pop rocks and Candyland (lemon-lime, orange, grape and cherry water ice with Nerds, sour worms, chopped Jolly Ranchers and gummy bears).

As the owner and chef, Ed McIntosh took it as his responsibility to attempt the challenge himself, which he calls a painful experience. It took him two hours, and he says, “I think I was drinking the last of it, which still counts.”

During July’s heat wave, McIntosh brought in a snow cone machine and started playing with flavors, and then dumped a few in a communal bucket, which is where he got the idea for the oversized dessert. “On those days, I wanted to live in it more than eat it.”

The $20 water ice bucket can feed up to 10, and so far, after two weeks, only two groups completed the challenge (each a family of three).

As of yesterday, 30 people tried and failed. // Pendleton Carryout Co.: 807 Pendleton St., Alexandria; 5-pound SnoBall bucket $20

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