Horse Show Food Guide: Kentucky Horse Shows

By Tatum Mitchell

Horse Show Food Guide: The Kentucky Horse Park

Horse show cuisine is an experience like no other. As many horse people know, every show grounds has trademark foods that are a must-try. We reached out to some of our readers to get their favorites from The Kentucky Horse Park.

Whether you’re in Kentucky for the National Horse Show, Pony Finals, Derby Finals, Breyerfest, the Land Rover 3-Day Event or one of the many other events at the KHP each year, there are many delectable foods to choose from. 

“The main horse show concession in Kentucky does a pretty good job.  My favorite is their chicken salad. They also have a full [selection] of coffees,” says Mary Ann Thomas. “Lexington and Georgetown both have amazing restaurants: Jeff Ruby, Tony’s, Malone’s, Dudley’s, Carson’s, Local Feed, Rodney’s…the list could go on and on.”

For a Trademark Bite to Eat:

Toasties Gourmet—“One of my favorite things to eat at the Kentucky Horse Park is one of the newer additions to the food line up, Toasties Gourmet. This is a locally run food truck that serves smoothie bowls as well as a variety of avocado toast and grilled cheese. Martina and her staff go above and beyond to customize options for the customers—not to mention having the sweetest mascot, Petunia,” says Colin Caporusso of Whipstick Farm. “My personal favorites are the açaí smoothie bowls alongside the traditional avocado toast. There is nothing better than finishing showing on a hot day and diving right into a refreshing smoothie bowl.” 

Red State BBQ—“Red State BBQ and the pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw is the best barbeque you’ll ever have,” says rider Katharine Whitticom.

For a Celebratory Dinner:

Griffin Gate Hotel Restaurant—“My favorite restaurant  is the Griffin Gate [Hotel] restaurant,” says Jen Ritucci, trainer at Next Venture Farm. “Not only is the steak amazing, but there isn’t a night I’m in Kentucky that I don’t visit the Griffin Gate for the butter cake.”

Carson’s“As far as food outside the horse park in Lexington, you cannot go wrong with Carson’s. The menu has something for every craving. Their spinach and field green salad, along with their grilled Brie appetizer are two must haves in my book,” Caporusso says. 

Malone’s—“We love to have an early dinner at Malone’s on Monday after a long week,” says Emily Elek of Stonewall Farm.

For Mexican:

Agave and Rhy Tequila Bar—[They have] really good, unique tacos. The vibe in the restaurant is immaculate,” says rider and trainer Emily Vogel.

Salsarita’s—“I love the Mexican place ‘Salsaritas’ that’s in the Alltech,” says Haley Anderson of Apple Knoll Farm. “They have amazing tacos and the best queso.”

Jalapeño’s—“Everyone from the horse show goes there, and it has the best queso,” says Rogalny. “Jalapeño’s is definitely the best place to go after a long day at the horse show.” 

More Crowd Favorites and Reader Recommendations:

Josie’s—“There is a small diner close to the show called Josie’s, and it’s my favorite place to go for a quick lunch and for comfort foods. They have the world’s best tater tots,” says NCAA rider Madi Mitchell. 

Pasta Garage—“I used to go all the time with my friend after long horse show days. She’s Italian, so she’s super picky with pasta…and she said this was some of the best she’s ever had,” says NCAA rider Molly Canfield. “It’s insane, and the garlic bread is to die for.”

Keeneland Race Track—“[A] tradition we have is going to Keeneland Race Track and having breakfast there [at the track kitchen]. From oatmeal to fresh fruit to pancakes—they have everything. Finally, I love the cafe on-site to get smoothies. As a pony kid, I looked forward to a refreshing fruit smoothie after showing in the hot summer sun each weekend,” said Gabrielle Sousa. 

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