By Heather Collins
Ritz Charles will be on the front lines this month serving up Hoosier hospitality to nearly 28,000 race fans, drivers and VIPs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Carmel-based caterer is one of three companies that caters at IMS throughout May and on race day.
“We’re very proud to be a small part of the event,” Ritz Charles Vice President of Sales and Marketing Sarah Godby said.
Ritz Charles isn’t serving typical race fare. Godby said Ritz Charles has prepared everything from lobster to meatballs to its beef tenderloin medallions with oyster mushroom and truffle demi-glacé for national and international Indy 500 VIPs, including drivers, celebrities and royalty. Ritz Charles offers 40 different menus to 60 different suites on race day.
Last May, Ritz Charles served 4,580 of its signature double-dipped chocolate cookies and 24,804 truffles, tortes and trifles. It began catering at IMS in 1993.
Godby handles the logistics of catering to more than 4,800 guests over a 2 1/2-mile stretch on race day and 23,000 people in the first 20 days of May.
“We love it. We love being out there. It’s just a part of our world. We’re very proud that we’re a part of it,” Godby said.
Catering comprises 54 percent of the total business for Ritz Charles. It caters at venues such as Coxhall Gardens and Mansion, the Indianapolis Artsgarden and the Indianapolis Public Library. It has also catered high-profile sporting events like the the Ryder Cup, PGA tournaments and U.S. Opens across the nation.