The Wisconsin Track Offers a Culinary Experience Like No Other This Weekend
By Jeff Olson
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – You’ve packed the camper and loaded up the coolers. Your weekend trip for the IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend involves your favorite camping spot inside the Carousel at Road America. You’ll be doing plenty of eating while watching races, so you need to plan ahead.
If you think racing is the primary activity at the track, it’s not. That title goes to eating. And nobody does it better than RA.
If you’re a regular, you already know how and where to dine. If you’re a newbie, here’s your cheat sheet. Here’s the must-consume list:
Bratwurst. If you show up at Road America and don’t eat at least one brat, your Wisconsin card will be revoked. For the uninitiated, bratwurst is German for brat (chopped meat) and wurst (sausage). At Road America, brats are grilled and served on a long bun with any form of condiments. Sauerkraut highly recommended. Have a double brat on a Sheboygan Hard Roll, for brat’s sake!
The Egger. It’s a Road America breakfast staple only available from The Gearbox concession stand. Fried egg, cheese and breakfast meat on one of those aforementioned Sheboygan Hard Rolls? Sign me up. Pro tip: make it a Brat Egger.
Spotted Cow. How does one properly wash down multiple brats? With beer, which was invented and perfected in Wisconsin. (Don’t argue that statement. It’s the truth.) Dozens of craft brews are available on site, but true Wisconsinites have a Cow. Brewed in New Glarus, Wisconsin, by the most polite brewers in the history of beer, Spotted Cow pairs with everything listed here. And you can only get it in Wisconsin.
RGP. It stands for Really Good Potatoes, so you’ll be redundant if you call them RGP potatoes. They live up to their name. Also go well with brats and beer.
Roasted or steamed corn on the cob. Toothpicks and napkins are necessary.
Fried Cheese. Think you’d visit the cheese capital of the world and not eat some deep-fried cheese curds or mozzarella sticks? Think again. The art is in the choice of dipping sauce. There’s a wide variety of recipes for the batter, but beer is usually involved.
Mac ‘n’ cheese. Antoinette’s (more info below) is famous for its M&C, which clearly is a delicacy in these parts. Yes, you can add brats to your mac, or you can just give up and order the Oink Mac.
The Mother Clucker. This gem is a specialty of Parker John’s (more info below). It’s a smoked chicken breast with bacon and cheddar on a ciabatta bun. You’ll swear it’s the most amazing sandwich ever.
The Gearbox Melt. This popular number from Gearbox (more info below) is part burger, part grilled cheese sandwich. It will grind your gears in a good way.
Soft serve ice cream. No meal is complete without soft serve. Don’t limit yourself to one vendor. Try them all before you roll back to the camper with a bad case of brain freeze.
Where to Pig Out at Road America
The beauty of the eats at Road America is in the source. The on-site vendors are uniquely Wisconsin, offering food and drinks that can’t be found at other racetracks. They can only be found in this glorious part of the world. Lucky you.
Antoinette’s. Based in nearby Plymouth, the popular restaurant’s two track stands offer everything from the aforementioned Oink Mac to specialty cocktails and breakfast. Located at the Win Tunnel (near the flagstand on the outside of the track) and Turn 3.
Parker John’s BBQ and Wings. Formerly the renowned St. John the Baptist stand in the middle of the paddock. The Mother Clucker isn’t PJ’s only offering. Try the Texas brisket burrito for breakfast. Then try the Sconnie Stuffer, a baked potato loaded with mac ‘n’ cheese and pulled pork. Butter and sour cream on the side. Defibrillator sold separately.
Elkhart Lake Lions Club. With Al Zemlicka at the helm, the Lions Club stand has been operating at Road America for 30 years. Spectators enjoy 6,000 ears of steamed corn on the cob each year, with proceeds going toward local Lions Club projects like the veterans’ memorial and athletic park. Located on Fireman’s Hill.
The Launch Pad. Operated by Lakeland University students, the Launch Pad offers all-day breakfast, wings with bourbon barbeque sauce and weekend specials. Located above Turn 12.
The Gearbox and the Gearbox II. The original Gearbox offers spectacular views of Turns 5 and 14 from the patio of its Midway location. The Gearbox II serves those on the other end of the track by the Carousel (Turn 9) and Motorplex Karting Track. Eggers, RGP, the previously praised Gearbox Melt and much more. Ice and ATM at both locations.
Los Amigos Locos. The only authentic Mexican cuisine at the track. Churros, carnitas, quesadillas, street tacos and, of course, margaritas. Located outside Turn 1.
For more information on the track’s concessions, click here. IMSA action runs Thursday through Sunday at Road America, including Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race. For ticket information, click here.