Aside from being called the most exciting two minutes in all of sports, the Kentucky Derby is equal parts regal celebration and fashion occasion. If you can’t make the trip to Churchill Downs in Louisville (it is Mother’s Day weekend after all), here are the best local places to toast with a traditional mint julep.
Luxbar “Winner’s Circle Party”
One of the Gold Coast’s favorite hangouts, attendees will receive a complimentary race card with a racing pony’s name on it, and those with the winning horse will all receive a $25 gift certificate. The person sporting the best Derby hat will win a $50 gift card to be used on race day (May 7).
18 E. Bellevue Place. 312.642.3400. www.luxbar.com
TABLE fifty-two Derby Party
Guests will ascend to TABLE fifty-two’s intimate second floor dining room where they will watch the race and dine on a menu of savory, seasonal Southern bites created by Executive Chef Art Smith; bottomless Angel’s Envy Mint Juleps; and decadent desserts prepared by Pastry Chef Celeste Campise. Menu highlights include Kentucky Hot Browns, open face applewood smoked turkey breast sandwich with country gravy; Aged Country Ham Biscuits, Bentons Country Ham on boarding house biscuit with Addie Mae Smith’s jam; and Kentucky Burgoo, beef and vegetable stew, a staple dish of the state of Kentucky. Chef Celeste Campise presents an array of sweets that include a decadent Run for the Roses Pie with chocolate and pecans. $125 per person, all inclusive.
52 W. Elm St. 312.573.4000. http://www.tablefifty-two.com/
Chicago Q Derby Day
Derby fans can look forward to exciting specials all day at Chicago q, including Bourbon Flights, Derby Pie, Deviled Egg Flights and Smoked Ham Sliders created by Chef/Partner Lee Ann Whippen. The Deviled Eggs Flights feature Pork Belly, Horseradish Dill, and Mustard with Fried Caper fillings; and the Apple Smoked Ham Biscuit Sliders with House-made Mustard and Ginger Apricot Chutney smoked in-house in the 1,000-pound Southern Pride smoker. Facebook fans will pick the best Derby hat and the winner will receive a $100 Gift Card and a Gift Basket of house-made sauces, rubs and pickles.
1160 N. Dearborn St. 312.642.1160. http://www.chicagoqrestaurant.com/