Photo by Dennis Huth
For many, Daytona Beach, Florida, is the Mecca of motorsports. From early century land speed records contested on the beach to the rise of NASCAR to modern day dirt track racing, the area surrounding Daytona is rich in racing history-past, present and future.
This issue will be in the hands of our subscribers the week just prior to Daytona's annual Speedweeks. And if you have plans to come to the Sunshine State (or maybe you live here) for February's racing festivities we figure you probably used our Speedweeks Guide in last month's issue. So this month we thought we'd let you in on our favorite place to grab a bite when the CT team is in and around the big track, New Smryna Speedway, or Volusia Raceway Park. This is a great little joint not far from Daytona International Speedway on West International Speedway Blvd.
It's called the Brickyard Lounge and Grill and it's known for its burgers, which is a big reason why we like it. As you might guess, the CT crew has eaten many a cheeseburger during our travels throughout the land. Our favorite, by far, can be found only at the Brickyard. It's a hand-formed burger that is cooked to order with a wide variety of toppings available. You can even get jalapeños.
Courtesy of Brickyard Lounge
Of course, Circle Track is not a food magazine by any stretch of the imagination, so you probably guessed that the Brickyard has a serious racing theme to it. In fact, it's full of racing lore, not only on the walls but in the patrons. It's not unusual to go to the Brickyard for lunch and see racers, sanction heads, and fans dining side by side.
The Brickyard is owned by L.L. "Renny" Miles, Jr. and his wife, Penny. The self-described drag racing junkie was exposed to motorsports at an early age and has close ties to both drag and oval track racing. But with a father in the grocery business, Renny was destined to end up in the food business after graduating from the Steed Business College at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee, in 1974 with a degree in Business Administration and marketing. Following a career with General Foods, the Virginia native moved back to Florida with his wife, who is originally from Clearwater.
When he and Penny bought the Brickyard in 1992 they knew they wanted the restaurant to have a racing theme. Naturally, being a stone's throw from Daytona International Speedway, the place is frequented by racers from all walks of life.
"Paul Newman, all the guys from Childress' crew, dirt track guys, they've all been here at one time or another," says Miles.
Courtesy of Brickyard Lounge
With all those racers coming in the place, you know that Renny has some great tales. "Bill Jr. (the late Bill France Jr. of NASCAR) loved this place," says Miles. "One day his secretary called me up wanting to order 15 burgers for lunch. I told her that I was too busy and couldn't fill the order for a couple of hours. She said, 'You know who I'm calling for, right?' I told her yes but it didn't matter, I had a restaurant full of customers. Well, she puts me on hold and Bill Jr. gets on the phone. He says, 'Miles, what do you mean you can't do 15 burgers for me?' I told him that I had a restaurant full of people and couldn't do it. He said, 'Well...you're the first son of a bitch to tell me no this week!' Then he said, 'Can you do three?' I said yeah but you'll still have to wait an hour. We had a good laugh."
Renny is full of stories like that one and he's always glad to share them with his customers. The Brickyard is located at 747 International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach, Florida, just 5 minutes east of the big track. The number is (386) 253-2270. So if you're in town for Speedweeks, or any time for that matter, hit the 'yard and tell 'em that Circle Track sent ya!