Cinco de Derby


With Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby around the corner, Chicago’s restaurant scene is ready to celebrate. I have found five restaurants that are gearing up to have great parties/events for their guests. You can pick one to attend on May 4th and don your best Kentucky Derby-inspired garb then follow it up the next day with a Cinco de Mayo cooking demonstration or a great Mexican dish at either Mercadito or HASH HOUSE A GO GO. The restaurants ready to give you a good time are as follows:



221 N. Columbus Dr.

Chicago, IL 60601



On Saturday, May 4, Filini’s Chef William Johnson will host a “Run for the Roses” Derby Party at Filini Bar from 1 to 9 p.m. Johnson will prepare a full Southern spread to celebrate, including traditional treats such as Biscuits with Ham and Pepper Jelly, Pimento Cheese Tea Sandwiches, and Shrimp Dip Divine. Guests will be dreaming of their “Old Kentucky Home” while sipping cocktail specials such as the classic Mint Julep, Horse’s Neck, and Jockey Club alongside equine- and rose-themed décor. Ladies feeling especially festive can enter to compete in a Best Hat contest—the winners of which will receive a Filini gift certificate for $100. Advance tickets can be purchased by phone or at the restaurant for $50 per person, which provides tokens for three food items and three drinks over the course of the afternoon. Walk-in guests are also welcomed to purchase food and drinks a la carte.




124 S. Wabash Ave.

Chicago, IL 60603



In honor of the Kentucky Derby, Potter’s Lounge at the famous Palmer House Hilton will feature a delicious spin on a classic derby drink. Beverage Manager Patrick Coyne will transport guests to the race track with his Peach Julep. Coyne’s festive sip includes Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey whiskey, brown sugar simple syrup, and peach. Topped with mint, this celebratory drinks costs $10; available only on Saturday, May 4.




10 E. Delaware Pl.

Chicago, IL 60611



Take a trip to Kentucky by heading over to Little Market Brasserie, and enjoy authentic Derby dishes and a live viewing of the races themselves. Diners can sip on a traditional Mint Julep or try its spicy cousin, the Ginger Smash; both cocktails are $6. A special Derby Day menu will include menu items like the Hot Brown, a baked, open-faced sandwich known as Louisville’s signature dish, and Derby Pie, the eponymous signature race day dish. Celebrations continue with a race raffle for the opportunity to win Kentucky Derby-inspired prizes.




1212 N. State Pkwy

Chicago, IL 60610



Hash House A Go Go proves that it’s not just Mexican restaurants that celebrate Cinco de Mayo; twisted farm food joints can join in on the fun, too. This holiday, guests can choose from an array of themed dishes at the all-day dining spot in the Gold Coast. Kick-start the day with a spicy Chorizo Hash with jalapeños, cheddar cheese, and fresh tomatoes topped with eggs and crispy potatoes, or indulge in fresh Fish Tacos or Chilaquiles. To up the heat, imbibers can enjoy the Jalapeño Watermelon Margarita made with tequila, sliced jalapeños, and fresh watermelon purée.




108 W. Kinzie St.

Chicago, IL 60654



During his interactive Cinco de Mayo Cooking Demonstrations, Mercadito Chef Patricio Sandoval will pay tribute with dishes inspired by the holiday’s true origins, the historic Battle of Puebla in 1862. On April 29 and 30, Sandoval will share how to plan the perfect Cinco de Mayo fiesta and serve up history with Mexican twists on French classics, like Camarones a la Nicoise, epazote-marinated, head-on shrimp with Nicoise salad of chipotle bernaise sauce and chicharron, and French Dip Tortitas, a dish featuring Puebla’s indigenous serrano pepper with herb-marinated, slow-roasted pulled chicken on a bolillo roll with pickled onions and cilantro, served with serrano chicken au jus. The cooking demonstrations will take place at Double A below Mercadito on April 29 and 30 at 6:30 p.m. and cost $65 per guest, including cocktail pairings. Reservations required; call 312.329.9555.


Mercadito will also host a weekend’s worth of Cinco de Mayo festivities, starting with a Brunch Fiesta on Saturday, May 4 and finishing with an All-Day Fiesta on Sunday, May 5. On Saturday, enjoy brunch favorites such as Huevos Rancheros and Chilaquiles and celebratory food specials, accompanied by the return of Bloody Mary and Margarita Brunch Bottles for $35. The party goes from morning till night on Cinco de Mayo Sunday, starting with a mariachi band during the day and finishing with a live DJ in the evening. Reservations recommended; call 312.329.9555.