It's hard to top Forecastle for festival food
. I didn't really expect Churchill Downs to try, so I have to give them some well deserved props for bringing in local chains. I'm a huge fan of Shiraz (a local chain that serves great Persian kabobs), so even though they have their offerings are the most expensive, they're also a very welcome addition. You an also cool down with offerings from the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen.
You have 10 meager options for food. On average, you're going to spend $7 on something not terribly filling, $9 on something that shouldn't leave you too hungry for more, and $4 on a side order of fries. Eat a hearty meal before you show up, because none of these options are great.
The most affordable option is $4 for a single slice of Boombozz pizza (pepperoni, sausage, or cheese.) However, despite the fat and salt, you'll probably want at least two.
If you're looking to fill up on a budget, your best option is the $9 combo plate at Pacific Orient. They load a lot more food onto your plate than the $9 option at Beef O'Brady's.
Other options include a fish sandwich from Kingfish, quesadillas from Salsaritas (both $7, no sides included) or a BBQ sandwich from Famous Dave's.
The only vegetarian options are the veggie kabobs from Shiraz and side dishes like fries or onion rings. Interestingly, there aren't any traditional fair food offerings, either. You can't get a funnel cake or corndog - although you can get plenty of lemonade.
While I support Boombozz, Shiraz and Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen being here, I'm a little dubious about calling Beef O'Brady's and Famous Dave's "local" even if the national chains have locally owned franchises. In a town with so many truly amazing restaurant offerings I think that's cheating.
You're going to sweat here. Trust me, you'll crave salt and calories. There's no readmission once you arrive, so you should plan to bring a minimum of $40 cash per person for 2 large meals, 2 alcoholic drinks, and 2 bottles of water. Bring more if you'd like additional booze, but with temperatures in the triple digits, don't skimp on the water.