One of Leigh Ann Griffith's favorite places to eat is the french bakery, Croissant and Company in downtown Venice, FL. Photo © Leigh Ann Griffith

We Ask the Industry: What’s the Best Thing You Ever Ate….at a Horse Show?

Food – it’s something we can all agree is a must-have, not just to survive but to celebrate and create a close community at the horse shows.

The industry not only shares their love of horses, but friends get together to cook out, go out or share their favorite foods at places like the Florida Winter Circuits, Congress and World Shows.

In the past, GoHorseShow has featured practical recipes for cooking at horse shows, and favorite dishes at some of the bigger circuits. Now, we have asked people the best food they have ever eaten at a horse show, either at the show grounds or at a restaurant nearby. For many, it is a yearly tradition to visit a certain restaurant or food vendor every time they attend a show.

So, with the holidays upon us, the next few weeks are a time to attend parties and indulge in some of the dishes and desserts that we look forward to every year. That is….until 2019 when most of us probably have the New Year’s Resolution of losing a few pounds.

Until then, enjoy the holiday season, eat up and read on to find out some of our industry’s favorite culinary hot spots during the show season.

Leigh Ann Griffith – Part of the reason we purchased property in Venice, Florida was the obvious – the Gulf life and the amenities that go with it. While attending a show at Fox Lea Farm, we fell in love with the Made in Italy Restaurant. Often, on the weekends, the special is Lobster Ravioli which is one of the best dishes I have ever eaten at an upscale restaurant. Since the big Winter Circuit is approaching in January, I would highly recommend trying this. For casual dining at lunch, don’t miss Croissant and Company in downtown Venice where the French owners and menu are just delightful. The bread and pastries are sinful – the best this side of Europe. My Dad dreams of flying down to have lunch and said their lunches are his favorite thing in Venice.


Jason Martin – My favorite place to eat at while at ANY show during the year is Queenies in Tulsa. It’s been around for a long time, and they have the best egg salad sandwiches and bakery.




Becca Walter
– Oh man! I am a total foodie. I love this little Mexican restaurant near the fairgrounds in Oklahoma City named Chelinos. They have the best cheese sauce and tortillas.





Erin Bradshaw
– I would say my favorite thing is the breakfast sandwiches at the APHA World Show. The bacon is the perfect amount of crisp on an English Muffin. I get one every morning. Or their baked potatoes, holy cow, to die for.





Libby Rinder – Probably two favorites – The rotisserie chicken salad at the Red Rock Grill in Oklahoma City, and in Tampa, the famous restaurant, Columbia in Ybor City. Everything there is amazing.







Julie Hoefling – My favorite food to get at a horse show is in Las Vegas at the South Point Casino and Hotel. They have a Steak N Shake in the casino, and it is my “good luck charm” to always get a cheeseburger and fries. I’m not sure how much luck it brings, but it’s an excellent excuse to indulge.





Katy Jo Zuidema – My favorite restaurant at a horse show is probably Sharky’s on the Pier in Venice, FL. Venice is an ocean town, so anywhere you go is going to have that beach feel. However, Sharky’s is this place on the water, and there is a considerable pier where people fish off of and walk on. At night, they have a band that’s on the back deck outside where you can dance and eat, and they have a round bar that you can sit at too and get a view of everything. The atmosphere is mint. Then, upstairs they have a Sushi restaurant also with great food that’s a little swanky. You have the best of both worlds at one stop.


Colby Ringer – Probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten is the cinnamon rolls from the Sweet Shop at Congress. Those things beat any cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. I also got to meet the woman who owns and made the recipe for them late one night, and she’s terrific as well.





Beckie Peskin – Oh gosh. I think the best stuff I’ve eaten at a show is when Michelle and Trevor Forness cook. I wish I had a trailer so that I could help out, but these days, I’m a hotel dweller. But, they make fantastic stuff at the longer shows. When my husband comes along, he always finds some great places to eat, but I don’t even know the names half the time. Other than that, Charleston’s in Oklahoma City is my favorite “go to” place. Stella’s is a second one there. I think I ate at Charleston’s like seven of the nine days I was at the AQHA World Show.


Kathryn deVries Mitchell – Ms. Shirley’s Wonton Soup at Congress – I think I ate it every day this year.





Lana Markway
– Well, if we get to go out and eat at a show, my favorite is Uncle Julio’s in Fort Worth. However, my favorite meal at the stalls is the crack chicken in the crockpot.




Gerri Leigh Pratt
– I love the creme puffs at Schmidt’s; it’s the German Restaurant in the tent near the Coliseum at Congress.





Shelby Ratliff
– I have some favorites. One of them is the pizza place on Cherry Street at the NSBA World Show. It may have been good because I was hungry when I had it. (laughs) Next, would be the bourbon chicken from the Congress. I feel like it’s one of the must-haves there.




Alyse Roberts
– I’ve eaten a lot of good food in my travels but my most favorite would be Jalapeño Inferno in North Scottsdale. I could eat their flour chips and salsa and their Boss Margaritas and not even order dinner.




Beth Case – Hell, I don’t know – the Whataburger in Oklahoma City is pretty good. (laughs)






Sarah Rosciti – Well, since I’m vegan, it can be hard to find food at shows. Right outside the Congress is a vegan bakery called, Patty Cake. They make the best cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had.






Nicole Dalton – It would have to be the beef stew bread bowls at the Paint World Show. I have been eating them there since I was a kid. They are so delicious.






Ann Wilson – “Congress Coffee” after showmanship every year – add Bailey’s, Kahlua and Amaretto, then top with whipped crème and a chocolate drizzle. Yum!





Heidi Padelsky
– I’m going to have to go with the Sweet Shop Cinnamon Rolls with a side of hot apple cider. They are my favorite. I had this almost every day for breakfast at Congress.







Carrie Warren – My favorite horse show restaurants are Fins at Sharkey’s in Venice, Florida – excellent sushi and seafood. You have to go upstairs though. Sunsets are worth it too. For fair food or at the show, my favorite is the bourbon chicken at Congress. In Oklahoma City, you can’t go wrong at Trappers. In Tulsa, at the NSBA World Show, our favorite go-to is Sushi Hana. See a theme?




Angela Fox
– I’d say the Greek food truck at the Congress. Some good healthy options and delicious!





Whitney Vicars
– Gosh that’s a tough one because I’m a total foodie. Top two foods I get excited about when thinking of horse shows are Capp City Diner in Columbus, Ohio during Congress. All of their food is amazing, but my personal favorite is their Romano Crusted Chicken. Then, actually, on the fairgrounds, it would have to be the Sweet Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies, a guilty pleasure. I can’t pass up their soft gooey yumminess, hands down my favorite cookie ever.

What are some of your favorite foods to eat at a horse show? Let us know.