Brook Tavern Executive Chef Patrick Brown Boxes Up the Track’s Picnic Paddock Tradition

Anyone who’s dined at The Wishing Well knows its walls are packed with Saratoga Race Course memorabilia, thanks to owner and horse racing fan Bob Lee. What you may not know is that the restaurant’s staff has a long history of going to the track together.

It’s that longtime racing fandom that inspired Patrick Brown, executive chef of both The Wishing Well and The Brook Tavern, to put together picnic boxes for home entertaining during a potentially fan-less track season. The idea is that Saratogians still deserve the thrill of picknicking in the track’s backyard area or Picnic Paddock, even if they can’t be at the actual track. “There’s this tradition of waiting in line at the track with coolers,” Brown says. “Since we can’t picnic at the track this year, we wanted to provide a convenient way to entertain at home. We hope our picnic boxes bring some sense of normalcy.”

Brown gave Saratoga Living the inside scoop about the boxes, which can be purchased for pickup at The Brook Tavern.

Tell us about your Party Packs.
We have three kinds. The BBQ one has baby back ribs, sweet potato salad, jalapeño cornbread and a cold drumstick to heat up yourself. There’s a seafood option with Old Bay spice peel-and-eat shrimp, dill potato salad, jumbo lump Maryland crab, Maine lobster tails and chopped vegetable salad. And the Tuscan Party is a charcuterie board with salami, soppressata, cheddar, mozzarella, cornichons, olives and grilled vegetables with crackers; plus quinoa salad, tuna-stuffed cherry tomatoes with capers; and our popular pork and beef meatballs, with red sauce and grilled bread. Those meatballs–and the smoked baby back ribs–are both popular dishes at The Brook Tavern, so were no-brainers. The seafood option is an homage to The Wishing Well.

All three of those options sound like quite the day-at-the-races party!
Everything is simple so you’re not stuck in the kitchen; you can be with your guests. The prices are per person, with a four-person minimum. 

Are you offering any complementary drink options?
We serve wine and beer to go, plus cocktails by the pint or quart. We have a Grey Goose Lemonade; Patrón Coconut Margarita; Blackberry Mojito, with white rum; and Kentucky Mule, with Town Branch bourbon and ginger beer with lime.

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