Derby Day is a Big Deal at Southern-Themed SOHO Kitchen


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I have no idea what a bib or tucker is, but if you do, SOHO Kitchen’s Derby Day Porch Party is right up your alley. The annual event was an immediate hit right out of the gate, says owner Nolan Konkoski, who along with partner Molly Smith hosted the first one a little over three years ago.

“It was part of our original business plan that we wrote in 2010,” says Konkoski. “We always knew that if our Southern restaurant ever got off the ground, Derby Day would be an annual tradition.”

That first year, the owners had no idea if their Yankee customers would appreciate the Kentucky Derby-based concept or not. Either way, at least the staff was going to have a great time, recalls Konkoski.

“We remember telling our staff to dress the part – seersucker, bowties, bright dresses, fascinators – so that we could be sure there would be at least some atmosphere for the event,” he notes. “We were blown away when our restaurant was filled inside and out with people dressed to the nines.”

Show up on the big day – May 2 – and you’ll see the Ohio City eatery transformed into an authentic Derby party. The dressed-up staff will be passing around complimentary snacks like Benedictine sandwiches, deviled eggs, burgoo, and Derby pies. The kitchen will be preparing a special menu of a la carte options like Hot Browns, biscuit sandwiches, crab cakes and oysters on the half shell.

Bars will be set up inside and out, each turning out an endless supply of Bulleit bourbon mint juleps (classic, peach, ginger and strawberry-rhubarb).

TV screens inside and out will broadcast “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports." Following the race, Thor & the Bluegrass Platter will play to keep the party going.

SOHO does not accept reservations for the event. It’s rain or shine. Doors open at 4 p.m. Post time is 6:24 p.m., and the band starts immediately after.

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