Biggest Food Ripoff on RAGBRAI XXXIX

My nominee for this year is the “Wonder Sub”, which was advertised on several signs the first day, and, I believe, sold in Griswold.  Four dollars bought me a submarine roll coated with chicken salad spread slightly more thickly than one would apply mayonnaise.

52 Replies

pmac, August 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm

You are always going to pay more when you’re part of a captive audience.  I thought the smoothies were pretty good and fairly priced.  The many pie vendors seemed to be fairly priced.  For everything else, $4 to 6 for a plate/bowl/sandwich seemed to be the going price which I really didn’t find out of line under the circumstances.


jwsknk, August 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm

 No complaints about the places really. Atlantic Chinese buffet under $15 for 2. Carroll 4 xlrg pizzas delivered $44, Boone at a bbq place, 2 sandwiches, 2 sides and drinks under $15. In Baxter ate at the grocery store, $3.50 6 inch subs made to order. Only they ran out of 6 inch buns and used 2 hamburger buns instead. Altoona, DQ, could have found better but it was handy to the showers. Grinnell should have gone to the place behind the stage but didn’t know about that one until breakfast, it had only bee open 4 days, guess that’s why the locals didn’t know it. The pizza place took way too long, the should have just done pasta instead of only doing pizza. Corallville at Perkins, the was an Anime convention in town that weekend too, most of the people there in costume.


Scot, August 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm

By day seven I am so tired of everyone with an SUV and a Sam’s card trying to take advantage of me by selling overpriced everything.  Sorry for the pass-through towns on Saturday but we were already milked dry before we got to you.  We come from all over the country and in some cases the world to have a great bicycle vacation in Iowa.  It would be easier for us to support your fundraising efforts if the prices were not so out of hand. 

For the owner of the Wilton Ice Cream / Candy Store.  I needed to wash my hands and you had a big Out Of Order sign on your restroom.  What a bunch of cr*p.  While you were bailing all of the money you were making off of RAGBRAI you probably could have had the restroom serviced.

The oasis in the desert was the Saints John and Paul Catholic Church in Altoona.  You folks were awesome!!! Not only was it the best food that we ate all week, but you kept it coming. Thank you so much for your hospitality and generosity.


Sandaltan ., August 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm

My favorite breakfast stop was in Carson the first day.  Remember walking through town and up the hill then turning right with the vendors set up on your right???  Well….on your left was the Wander Inn Cafe.  We walked in, sat down at about noon and had a six buck omelet and we were about the only bikers in the cafe.  Fast service, air conditioning and good food.



sestrain, August 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm

The only ripoff I saw was the Templeton Rye shot for $7.  I opted out, but I saw plenty of other people trying it.  Most places I stopped at were priced about right.  The best deal was the breakfast burrito at the fire station the first morning, $5 and I could only eat half of it.  The pie was great and priced right everywhere I stopped.


kenimus, August 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm

did any body get caseys pizza? yum a camp next to us who was awesome brought us there left there left overs and even after kfc it was top notch. of cours it only stuck a round an hour or so but i expected that. oh yeah and we had a stick chop that was awesome


busymike, August 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm

the best deal in the overnight towns was the hy-vee buffet. You could pay for a lunch buffet and then come back with your receipt (up to 11pm i think) and eat dinner on that receipt. So I’d get the grand buffet (~$10-11) and be able to stuff my face twice in one day. Can’t beat that!

Biggest ripoff would be the people who bought gatorade over and over again for $2/bottle. I brought electrolyte pills ($0.20 each) to take with my water and I never cramped up while riding all week.


WILLLIKESJAVA, August 1, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Best deal was the American Legion in Victor.  $5 for eggs, pancakes, huge sausage patty, biscuits & gravy, coffee, Milk, and orange drink.  I was told I could have seconds, but I was already having touble holding in the first plate.  I didn’t even eat again until supper. 

Worst deal: beats me, if I didn’t like the deal I moved on, there are so many vendors, churhes, local eateries, American Legions(I like these, helping vets and always a good deal), and don’t forget the fire houses.

If you can’t find a good deal, look harder, I never had a problem in 5 years.

Worst case scenario there is always a Caseys or a Hy-Vee.


cjpelzer, August 1, 2011 at 9:37 pm

I have to concur with WillikeJava that if you do not find something you like move on. 

Long time established local churches (catholic, methodist, lutheran, etc.) with old church ladies have always worked well for me as well as legions and firehouses. I always do a round in the town before I decide to grab something to eat and then get what seems to be the ticket. It is always good to ask the locals what is being served or ask other riders who have something that looks appetizing. The opinions of others before you make your purchase always helps me too.
Unfortunately, you will find people who are trying to make a couple more dineros than what is fair trade, but with the plethora of options skip those people and move on. 
Best deal: Peach pie and strawberry rhubarb pie both with ice cream, coffee at the Marengo Catholic Church for $5. Also all you can eat french toast, sausage, fruit, coffee, milk, and oj $5 at the West Branch Methodist Church. 


John L, August 2, 2011 at 5:26 am

I loved Tom’s Turkey fillets! Farm Boys and Breakfast Paradise were yummy and pretty big on amounts. No complaints….I say dont go if you are worried about the $ for food thing. It is a huge charitable event to me.


Michrider !!!, August 2, 2011 at 5:44 am

Porkbelly Ventures provided dinners on 5 evenings.  All 5 dinners were very good.  PBV uses local catering services!  It’s great not having to search for dinners after a long hot ride!  I had no problems with prices and or food offerings during the day.  I figure it’s Iowa’s stimulus package, LOL!


Fast Freddy, August 2, 2011 at 5:50 am

I wasn’t happy with the bait and switch ribeye sandwich. The huge sign at the corner said $3 then when you get to the food stand they are charging $5.


Ragbrai Nation, August 2, 2011 at 5:56 am

Scot said:  …The oasis in the desert was the Saints John and Paul Catholic Church in Altoona.  You folks were awesome!!! Not only was it the best food that we ate all week, but you kept it coming. Thank you so much for your hospitality and generosity.

The city did not extend shuttle service to our campground (softball complex) so we missed getting to St. John’s. Thankfully, the Girl Scout org provided some great-tasting chicken kabob and pulled pork sandwiches at the complex.


Anonymous, August 2, 2011 at 8:08 am

Adding insult to injury, did you stand in a long line to get ripped off?  That’s why it was advised that HyVee, grocery stores have the reasonable prices and variety..You carry food in panniers and only stand in short lines..The bagger way is the easy way. “but what about all that weight I have to pull up a hill”?..just use a lower gear.
one slice of pizza for 3$ does sound steep.


Sandaltan ., August 2, 2011 at 8:28 am

If I am by myself I will go to the front of the food line and see what is being served and will often ask those who are eating “is it good and worth the price?”.  When our group is together we send the “official food scout” to the front of the line to reconnoiter.  Sometimes we have to move on due to a negative report.  Ya live and learn.



Viewing 15 replies - 16 through 30 (of 43 total)

The forum ‘RAGBRAI XXXIX – 2011’ is closed to new topics and replies.


Looking for RIDES







Gatherings & Meetings

Lost and Found







Clubs, Teams & Charters