When this season’s IndyCar Series kicks off with the Honda Grand Prix in St. Petersburg, Florida on Sunday, superstar driver Dario Franchitti will be looking to clean the slate. True, he won his third Indy 500 last year, putting himself in line to join the elite club of four-time winners (Rick Mears, Al Unser Sr., and A.J. Foyt). And when he’s in Indianapolis going for that fourth win this year, he’ll be eating at St. Elmo Steak House, his favorite restaurant in the Indy 500 capital. Besides the filet and the ribeye, Franchitti appreciates the fact that the downtown landmark, a celebrity magnet, specializes in comfort-food sides: “I have a weakness for mac and cheese,” he told MensJournal.com.
Founded in 1902 as a neighborhood tavern, St. Elmo’s enjoyed a major facelift in the mid-nineties, when the father-son ownership team of Steve and Craig Huse opened the kitchen and added an award-winning wine cellar.
“We spend so much time in Indianapolis,” says Franchitti. With its tiger-oak back bar, St. Elmo’s has “a lot of history there, a lot of old photographs of Indianapolis. They treat us really well. And there’s a real buzz about it during the month of May.” And not just from the joint’s trademark “Elmo Cola.” [127 South Illinois St, Indianapolis; stelmos.com]