Food prices

What kind of prices for pie, sandwiches,church suppers, etc should I expect?

13 Replies

swiifg, February 21, 2019 at 9:24 am

My experience over the last 4 years was drinks will run in the $5 range for smoothie or beer, maybe $2 for a can of pop or gatorade, water around $1 or $2. Pie was $4-$5 per slice last year. Lunch generally ran around $8 and church suppers in the $10-$15 range.


francoisvanzyl, February 21, 2019 at 10:20 am

My experience — $50.00 per day should be fine if you do not partake in alcohol based festivities too much.


Chris, February 21, 2019 at 11:00 am

Swiifg nailed it on the prices. Water is (most of the time) 1.00; you’ll see 2 bucks less frequently.

Supper: for that 10 bucks at one of the churches, you’ll have to be rolled out. It’s usually a ton of food, and most include one slice of pie with it, or they’ll charge something like 2 bucks extra for the pie.

See you in July :)


swiifg, February 21, 2019 at 11:36 am

We also like to find the American Legion or VFW when possible. Usually a good basic meal at a reasonable price and good people to visit with. One of the best meals on the route, in our opinion, was “Hobo Breakfast” in Garden Grove, 2016 for $8. There is such a variety of food available from local organizations and they sure do appreciate the fund-raising opportunity.


Ryan Arceneaux, February 21, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Thanks for sharing, my wife and I are excited for our first RAGBRAI ✌?


Larry Klaaren, February 21, 2019 at 2:28 pm

Last year I bought all but one meal (when I stayed at a friends home) and bought meals for four cousins on Thursday night and spent 300 bucks for the eight days, including drinks, (which I had a lot of, none alcoholic) some skin meds and sun screen and showers (six bucks per day for seven days.) I ate a lot. So it is not expensive. I left home with 500 bucks, and had two $100 bills left when I got in my car on Saturday.


Larry Klaaren, February 21, 2019 at 2:43 pm

My splurge on the trip was kind of fun. I tried all four of Beekman’s flavors. There is an Amish Pie stand that is usually right by Beekmans. So I tried four flavors of their pie (lots of lard BTW). Then I picked the best of each and ate them in a run off, and then on the last day I had the best of each. I think there was a glitch and I missed one day, maybe I went around the block and missed that day. It took some resolve and will power, but I did it.


LawnchairMan, February 21, 2019 at 6:20 pm

The best bargain I found for food was in 2013 (I think) on the last day at a pass through town. For $10 I got a pulled beef sandwich, sweet corn, chips, water, huge piece of water melon, and a large piece of pie and ice cream. I could barely eat it all. By the way, I had no problem riding the rest of the way on a full stomach. Might be another advantage of recumbents.

Typical menu for me is:

5 bot water…$5
pulled pork…$6
salad Hy-Vee..$3
apple Hy-Vee..$1
spagh dinner $10


Oh, forgot the lemonade $2

These are estimates, and choices vary daily, but roughly $37 per day. For eight days is $296, so Larry is accurate for food. A Mr. Porkchop chop is enough for two entrees for me, so I bring a sandwich bag in my bike bag. Similarly, a Hy-Vee salad lasts me two days. My food budget has to include more for my travel days to and from. I may throw in a good steak dinner somewhere on the trip for my splurge.

Showers and toiletries are extra for me.


Dizzy, February 21, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Greetings Mark and Welcome to RAGBRAI,
The responses you’ve received so far from some of the Forum veterans are on the money.
First I encourage you to go local vs chain eating. You may be missing your favorite chain food provider but once you’re home and back at your favorite, you’ll spend the meal talking about the local RAGBRAI food!
Another encouragement is to take the time to sample all the big name vendors (Turkey Toms, Mr Porkchop, Farmer Kids, Beekmans [all 7 days at Beekmans] etc) and leave room for the one & done, on-the-route groups, especially the VFWs/American Legions. Always take the time to observe and talk to the vendors, big and little.
After a few days, your appetite, and your guts, may be hurting for vegetables and as LawnChairman said, Hy-Vee is your place.
Finally, don’t be shy. Ask around to your 10K+ new friends for advice or suggestions.
See you in July, D


SFC JKL 2, February 21, 2019 at 10:14 pm

A few tips if you are trying to stay under budget. Every town has a water point. It’s normally on the way out of town. Often from a fire hydrant so quality is suspect depending on how picky you are. Nuun has had a stand in one of the towns the last several years. Fill up on the free sports drinks. If you hang out with the beer drinking crowd, you can find some bargains from the local vendors when the towns start shutting down.
Don’t expect vendors to take credit cards, but ATM’s are plentiful if you need more cash.


swiifg, February 22, 2019 at 8:54 am

My 1st year on RAGBRAI, I took $100 per day to cover anything that may come up. Safe to say, almost half of that came home in my bag again. Although things may seem a bit high on occasion, the week is really pretty inexpensive.

And…..I need to put a plug in for my brother-in-law’s Shrine group. They set up in Ottumwa in 2016 (I believe near PBV) and didn’t have as profitable an experience as they had hoped – sounded like they barely broke even. Well, they’re willing to give it a go again this year. Look for them ahead of and/or in Fairfield and please help them raise some funds for the great causes they fund.


Larry Klaaren, February 22, 2019 at 2:23 pm

Don’t forget: sweet corn, on the cob, is free. It’s at the Iowa Corn Council tent. The first day you have to find it. Each day the post where they will be the next day.


bugs11, February 22, 2019 at 2:59 pm

I’m not a big eater nor a picky one. I like to stop at the small town fire stations during the day and eat whatever they are offering – the food is usually priced reasonably ($5 or so) and also good to excellent grub. I like supporting the small town fire departments; those people are some of the hardest working, nicest folk you’ll ever meet. Every slice of pie ($2-$4) I ate was a “State Fair winner”, some were more of a winner than others. As for beer it’s usually $5, but I’ve found it as cheap as $2 a can in some of the smaller towns (Ute last year) and of course every now and then you run across some free beer (Manning last year in the park). My personal rule is no more than two beers a stop. Dinner was always a church in the overnight town or a vendor in the town square ($10 or so). Don’t dawdle getting to the church on time, they often sell out pretty quick. Beer tickets are usually sold in the overnight towns. They’ll have deals like 5 for $20. And you have to prove you’re of age. By the end of the week you’ll have a wrist full of beer bands.


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