Reviewing the Rack: “Serving Questionable Locals and Those Soon-to-Be”
The Rack is an independently owned-and-operated eatery at Sugarloaf serving burgers, beers, and authentic Maine barbeque smoked with sugar maple wood. This après hotspot has been serving the Carrabassett community for over a decade, since 2007, when the current owners came across the restaurant just before it was about to close; they ultimately decided to reinvent the Rack, transforming it into a top-tier ski bar you see today.
The exterior of the Rack features a wooden wrap-around porch that all but beckons to bystanders, exerting the warmth of rustic ambiance; during the summer season, outdoor diners on the deck are often treated to live music. The atmosphere inspires an air of camaraderie and livelihood supported by outstanding service from the restaurant's sensational staff—no wonder this iconic establishment was voted North America's #1 ski bar by Outside Magazine!
It just goes to show that the Rack is a prime-time place for adventures (bikers, hikers, golfers, and the like) and projects the communal feel of a small town, complete with a following of devout regulars displaying the rich local color of Carrabassett Valley; as its motto says, the Rack's specialty is “serving questionable locals and those soon-to-be.”
The Rack’s current selection of seasonal summertime drink specials include the Cucumber Watermelon Spritzer ($11), a refreshing combination of Effon cucumber vodka blended with a honey-watermelon puree and topped with a spritz of seltzer, as well as the Lavender-Lemon Gin Mist ($13): the citrus and floral notes in the lavender-lemon simple syrup complements the Empress 108 gin, and you get a bit of buoyancy from a touch of seltzer.
Last, but not least, there’s the Painkiller ($9), an appropriately-named drink that no doubt packs a punch: this knockout concoction is made with spiced rum and light rum, shaken with a creamy coconut fruit juice, then topped with a Virgin Island rum floater and a dash of nutmeg.
Arrive extra-hungry and enjoy an appetizer before your entree.
Pickle-lovers, I have the perfect plate for you: look no further than the Rack's Pickle Fries ($11), served with a spicy chipotle ranch sauce. And for those up in arms about this heavenly pickle-fry hybrid, all I'll say is don't knock it 'till you've tried it!
Potato Smashers ($11) more your speed? This starter is made of smashed baby red potatoes that have been fried and then baked with bacon, cheese, and chives and served with a side of sour cream.
- Vegans in the house? This appetizer has a vegan cheese substitution available ($13).
You’ll be happy to hear this app absolutely passed the cheese pull test; see results below.
You can't go wrong with the Rack's Wicked Wings! One pound is $14 and two sells for $22. Choose your fighter and have them served plain, dry rub, buffalo, teriyaki, or you can choose from one of the restaurant's four house made barbeque sauces–there's sweet pow pow (traditional sweet), ski bum (sweet but spicy), roasted and toasted (chipotle with roasted peppers, tomatoes, and cayenne), honey bourbon (traditional sweet and spicy blend with a kick of Jack Daniels), or hoisin BBQ (sweet and salty Asian barbeque sauce).
When I saw there was a mac and cheese entree, what option did I have but to order it?
Have it your way: the Rack's creamy BBQ Mac and Cheese ($25) is served with your choice of bacon, brisket, kielbasa, or pulled pork. We went with the tender pulled pork as our meat, but this magical mac can also be served sans-meat for just $20.
Opt to keep it classic with the Rack's Smokehouse Ribs, beautifully brined to perfection with hard cider and topped with a generous slab of simply delicious, slightly sweet barbeque sauce. A half rack is $22.00 while a full rack will cost you $30.
- All BBQ plates come with corn bread, coleslaw, the potato of the day, and the Rack's house made baked beans.
Can't choose just one thing? Then the Splatter Platter ($30) is for you: this all-encompassing sampling dishes is "the best on one plate" with servings of smoked kielbasa, 1/4 rack of ribs, brisket, and pulled pork.
To recap, the Rack is the route to go for those looking for an evening of entertainment, lovely libations, and locally-sourced homestyle fare; this restaurant is a landmark at the Loaf, a must-see during any Sugarloaf stay, and a great place to dine and drink with friends. (Not to mention the presence of the Rack’s two “house dogs,” named Cosmo and Zest is a definite plus.)
In addition to an assortment of other inviting offerings (just some of which were mentioned here!), this humble hub also houses at 3,000-pound brick-lined pizza oven that cooks pizza pies from scratch in record time.
Hours of Operation
- Mondays and Tuesdays, closed
- Wednesdays through Saturdays, 4:00pm-9:00pm
- Sundays, 12:00pm-8:00pm