With summer literally upon us, you may be considering traveling to some of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions, such as Stonehenge, Bath and the English countryside to name just a few. But what about the food? Is there anything available at the restaurants in these destinations that you could order on the plane ride over? Does anything more than coffee and water available on the menu?
Fear not, foodies, because you can eat well anywhere in the UK, and Martinsville Speedway has something special for you to try, which you won’t find anywhere else in the country.
Located in the beautiful countryside between London and Birmingham, this oval track was, for many years, the home of the United States’ most prestigious motorsport event, the Indianapolis 500. After decades of hosting the prestigious Indy 500, Martinsville is now also the site of the annual Cup Series race, the NASCAR Cup, which draws thousands of fans from around the world. But while the motorsport fans may have changed, one thing has remained the same – the food!
With the world’s smallest police station and the town’s oldest bar, it’s clear that this part of the UK enjoys some pretty special dining experiences, and you would not put it down to coincidence, as there’s a distinct food culture in Martinsville.
Here’s a quick run down of what you can eat at the venues around Martinsville, including the two motoring ovals that form the focal point of the town:
The Trackside Café
If you’re a motorsport fan, then you’ll know exactly what this place is, as it was the press room for the Indy 500 that used to be located here. Today it’s been adapted to serve more traditional British cuisine and welcomes diners from around the world, with a focus, of course, on the races themselves, which are shown live on big screens around the restaurant, Monday to Friday, during the summer months. Ordering food at a motorsport venue is pretty standard these days, and The Trackside Café is no different. The menu is straightforward and classic, with options like fish and chips, beef pie and chilli, alongside more unusual delights such as goat’s cheese and sun-dried tomato tart and blue ribbon waffles with strawberries and cream. If you’re coming to the UK for a sports event, then this is somewhere to fill your boots with British classics.
The Garage Café
The Garage is located in the paddock area, and with the exception of the bar, is the only place you can eat and drink inside the fences surrounding the track. Like its sibling café, the racing heritage of this place is apparent in the variety of motorsport memorabilia that lines the walls. Ordering food in the paddock area isn’t exactly unique, but the fact that this venue also doubles as a bar makes it an essential stop for anyone planning on spending a evening in the town. The Garage Café serves up classic English fare such as fish and chips, as well as more adventurous offerings like braised beef with smoked paprika and mushroom sauce and Thai green chicken curry.
The Beer Garden
This is the only place in Martinsville where you can eat outdoors, and you won’t need to seek protection from the sun’s blistering rays as the air is perfectly chilled, courtesy of an underground ice-making machine. The beer garden also doubles as a bar, so if you’re looking for a drink before or after your meal, then this is the place to be. Located in the heart of the motorsport park, this is the ideal spot to while away the afternoon or evening with a well-deserved pint and some delicious German fare such as wurst, sauerkraut and potato salad.
The Two Roasters
The Two Roasters is a traditional English pub, and one of the only places in the town where you can get an authentic English breakfast, served all day long. This place is ideal if you’re looking to fill your stomach before the afternoon practice starts, as you could arrive early in order to get a coffee and bun in the meantime. Located just off the main drag, this place also serves fish and chips, and, as you might expect, does a roaring trade in Brownsville Hot Dogs – something to look out for if you’re on a low-carb diet, but still want to indulge.
All of the above are just a selection of the eateries located in Martinsville, and yet, somehow, the town still manages to surprise and delight, as each new establishment that pops up seems to fit perfectly within the town’s quirky character. If you’re coming to the UK for a sports event, then you cannot miss out on a ride around the iconic oval track. However, if an air of tradition is not your thing and you’d rather explore the town’s vibrant dining scene, then take your pick from the above and head to the nearest café. Better still, why not head down to the pub and order yourself a pint of the local ale?