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Government controlled food serving sizes unlikely

KENNESAW, Ga. -- Using the edible math equation, "Pizza-pi R-squared," the extra-large at Big Pie in the Sky is a whopping six square feet.

And the slices, as they rightfully say here, are bigger than your head.

"Delicious!" exclaimed one diner at the Kennesaw eatery. "Real oil, real mozzarella. It's genuine."

Tossing these pies is like juggling small dumbbells. Eleven pounds is what the extra-large Carnivore will weigh when workers put all the toppings on it.

"I've seen two guys put it on the roof of their car and each one hold it to the side," said owner Dirk Tendick as he helped a customer carry one to the trunk of her car. It was too big to fit through the door.

Tendick is the owner of the pizzeria, which was featured on the Travel Channel TV show "Man vs. Food." He and others in the food industry are keeping an eye on suggestions like the one from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who thinks the government should limit serving sizes of things like sugary drinks. Many believe that would be just the beginning.

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But Tendick says if Big Brother wants to control food portions, let him buy his own pie.

"People should be able to go out and enjoy themselves," he said. "If they want to splurge, splurge. But also they should be able to regulate their own lives. I don't see where the government fits into that as far as eating goes. We have enough regulation in our lives already; we don't need them controlling what we eat and drink, too."

And you won't find much of an argument from the loyal customers who come from all over the Southeast to sink their teeth into the Carnivore. Many of them are transplanted New Yorkers.

And if you're just coming in for take-out like Kevin McFarland, you might want to bring your truck to handle the 30-inch pie.

"Taking choices away from parents, taking choices away from their own ideas, their own beliefs -- sometimes too much government control is overstated and overdone," McFarland said.

The giant portions here have also made good business sense. Partly because of its TV notoriety, the Carnivore has actually helped carry the pizzeria through the recession. There are now plans to expand the business with another restaurant.

For many families and individuals, the super-large meal is more than an eating challenge. It's also a low-cost deal, with leftovers for days.