It’s the best time of the year in the Bluegrass! With Derby weekend quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll be eating at the track. You can certainly enjoy any of the dining options Churchill Downs has to offer, but let’s be real. In between betting the ponies and admiring the decadent fashions, no one wants to spend their time at the track standing in line. With our luck, we’d miss the most important two minutes of the day! Luckily, the good people at Churchill have a BYOB(oxed)L(unch) policy in place, and many local favorites are here to help ensure Louisville is well fed for the most exciting two minutes in sports.
There are specific requirements for how these boxed lunches are to be packed and what is permitted inside the track, but have no fear, each of the restaurants listed below will make sure your lunch is in compliance so you can focus on bigger, more pressing matters, like how you’re going to get all your winnings home.
8 Tasty Boxed Lunches for Derby
3909 Chenoweth Square, Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 893-2324
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Closed Sundays and Mondays
The Cheddar Box is hands down one of Louisville’s favorite lunch spots, serving up delicious eats to our community since 1979. And there is no question they pull out all the stops for Louisville’s biggest weekend of the year. Three lunch boxes and a snack box are offered, and orders may be placed online or in person at their Chenoweth Square location. Selections are as follows:
- A classic sandwich lunch with your choice of roast beef with Henry Bain sauce, turkey with chutney mayonnaise, country ham or grilled chicken with caper gorgonzola mayo. Sandwiches are served with bow tie pasta salad with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese, a fresh fruit cup and a chocolate mint brownie for $20.
- Vegetarians will be thrilled to dig into their salad box complete with bow-tie pasta salad with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese and a mixed green salad dressed with pecans and balsamic vinaigrette. A fresh fruit cup and brownie are included in the price of $17.50.
- We are especially fond of The Cheddar Box’s entrée salad option, which comes with grilled chicken set over mixed greens and topped with spicy pecans, Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. A mini caprese salad also comes in this box, along with a wild rice salad and a chocolate mint brownie for $24.
- The fourth and final box is a snack option to serve two, a genius idea, as we know all that mid-afternoon betting will work our appetites back up! Cheese wafers, vegetables with spinach dip, herb cheese and country ham spread are accompanied by crackers and two more brownies, for those of us with a sweet tooth! The cost for this pick-me-up is $22.
1147 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205 • (502) 451-0377
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Closed Sundays and Mondays
It’s next to impossible to snag a seat at Chef Kathy Cary’s Lilly’s Bistro over Derby weekend. The next best thing? Ordering a box lunch from La Peche, the “gourmet to go” mini-bistro located next door to Lilly’s on Bardstown Road. The same culinary masterminds behind Lilly’s menu will be crafting the following for your Derby box lunch pleasure:
- A classic Cobb salad is one of our favorite lunchtime offerings, and there is no question that La Peche’s variation, complete with mixed field greens, chicken, bacon, avocado, blue cheese, tomato, eggs and Dijon vinaigrette, will be absolute perfection! Served with a chocolate chip cookie and an oatmeal raisin cookie, get it for $18.
- Sandwich lovers will be more than satisfied with the turkey club on the box lunch menu. Piled high with turkey, tomato, avocado, bacon, lettuce and lemon Parmesan mayo and served on ciabatta bread, this sandwich comes with chips, Pops’ Pickles and two cookies for dessert. The cost for this box is $18.
- La Peche knows that vegetarians need love too, and their gourmet veggie sandwich certainly won’t disappoint. Eggplant tahini, tomatoes, cucumbers and capriole goat cheese are sandwiched between slices of ciabatta bread and accompanied by chips, Pops’ Pickles and two cookies. This box costs $16.
901 Barret Ave., Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 581-8561
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday serving bread, pastries and coffee only from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Closed Mondays
Louisville favorite Wiltshire Pantry launched their retail bakery and cafe back in 2013. Ever since then, a loyal following has been established to devour their delicious breakfast pastries and artisan breads. This year Wiltshire Pantry Bakery and Café is serving up four lunch boxes, each for $16, and orders may be picked up Oaks Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Derby Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Selections are as follows:
- A classic Kentucky ham sandwich consisting of Marksbury Farm cured ham, pimento cheese and pickled ramp relish on sourdough bread, mustard potato salad and a mini Derby Pie.
- Niçoise chicken salad sandwich made of all natural chicken, hard cooked farm eggs, olives, pickled green beans, bell peppers, herbs, citrus oil on a baguette, a garden salad and a pistachio French macaron
- Derby veggie sandwich, which features Benedictine spread, marinated mushrooms, local asparagus, pickled turnip greens on multigrain bread, quinoa salad and a bourbon brownie.
- Vaquero Box, which includes cured chorizo, Manchego cheese, Iberico ham, quince jam, marinated olives, pickled vegetables, a demi baguette and lime shortbread cookies.
4816 Brownsboro Raod, Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 205-2888
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Say the name Anoosh Shariat, and every foodie and chef in Louisville knows exactly who you are talking about. It was love at first bite with Anoosh Bistro, and this year we can enjoy chef Anoosh Shariat’s cuisine trackside with a box lunch from his newest all-day oven, Noosh Nosh, which opened in May 2016. Have your pick of turkey, ham, club or caprese sandwiched with your choice of Swiss or cheddar cheese on rye, wheat or sourdough house-made bread. All sandwiches come with quinoa salad or chips and a brownie, all available for $15 each. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance and will be available at 8 a.m. on both days for pick up. To order, call (502) 205-2888.
Various locations and hours; click here to find one near you.
Paul’s is a go-to every day of the year, and with locations scattered throughout the city, it provides both a convenient and delicious option for your Derby weekend box lunch needs. They don’t skimp on variety with the to-go offerings, with a multitude of box lunches up for order on Oaks and Derby. The most popular option is The Champion, a beef tenderloin sandwich served on a French roll with cheddar and horseradish. Other favorites include the fried chicken sandwich and the smoky pork loin sandwich topped with smoked Gouda. A Derby sub, veggie wrap, ham wrap and jalapeño turkey wrap round out the menu. All sandwiches come with a pasta salad side dish, fresh fruit and a Derby bar for dessert. Box lunch prices range from $11.95 to $15.95.
3717 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 896-6361
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Although small, it is hard not to get lost among the various cheeses, pastas, meats, crackers and specialty goods that fill virtually every inch of this international food shop. The wide selection of made-to-order sandwiches is a good idea any day of the year, and Derby weekend is no exception. Lotsa Pasta allows you to choose from any sandwich on their board (excluding paninis and hot sandwiches), including specialty sandwiches, like the muffaletta and a plethora of deli meats, cheeses and breads, for those who prefer constructing their own sandwich for Derby Day noshing.
Box lunches with sandwiches sell for $11, and come with chips and a cookie. Prefer one of their various housemade salads? They’ll give you a box with a pint of salad, chips and a cookie for $10. Can’t make up your mind? Sub the chips for a half-pint of salad with your sandwich of choice. The cookie is still included, of course, for a price of $12.
1114 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 584-3354
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Closed Sundays
Stevens & Stevens has been a serving hungry Highlanders a plethora of both quirky and classic deli-style sandwiches since 1991. They’re featuring three of their most popular sandwich and pasta salad options for this year’s Run for the Roses, each box selling for $12.95. Here are their hunger-inducing offerings:
- WIN — This box includes the Me Turkey – You Jane sandwich, a beloved combo of roasted turkey, benedictine, applewood bacon, lettuce and tomatoes served on whole wheat bread. It comes with a side of the tomatoes alfresco pasta salad, which includes bow-tie pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, farm goat cheese, fresh basil, toasted almonds and housemade balsamic dressing. It also comes with fresh fruit and a Goldrush cookie, which is Stevens & Stevens’ housemade version of the classic chocolate chip cookie.
- PLACE — Comes with a Be Seriously sandwich, complete with roast beef and a housemade horseradish spread, fresh fruit, tomatoes alfresco pasta salad and a Goldrush cookie.
- SHOW — This box is filled with an entree size of tomatoes alfresco pasta salad, as well as fresh bread and a Goldrush cookie to round out the meal.
505 W. Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202• (502) 589-1797
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m..; Closed Saturdays and Sunday
City Cafe has been a serving the Louisville community since 1995. Their popular box lunches, selling for $9.25, are served on freshly baked, all-natural bread and include pasta salad and a Kizito cookie. Potato chips or pretzels and a fresh fruit cup are available upon request for an additional $1 charge. All sandwiches come on your choice of sourdough, rye, whole wheat or as a wrap. City Cafe offers four simple ways to place your boxed lunch order: 1) Print the menu and fax your order to (502) 589-1793 2) Download the pdf, and email [email protected] 3) Call directly to place your order (502) 589-1797 or 4) Order online for the Broadway location only. Here are their hunger-inducing offerings:
- Club — Spicy capicola ham, smoked turkey breast, Monterey jack cheese, tomato, leaf lettuce and shallot mustard mayonnaise
- Smoked oven-roasted turkey – Thinly sliced cucumbers, leaf lettuce, herb cream cheese and shallot mustard mayonnaise
- Pesto chicken sandwich– Grilled chicken, spinach pesto and provolone cheese on a ciabatta roll
- Tuna salad– Albacore tuna, celery, red onion, dill pickles and leaf lettuce
- Tarragon almond chicken salad– All white meat, roasted red peppers, celery, purple onions, tarragon, leaf lettuce and toasted almonds
- Vegetarian club– Provolone cheese, Monterrey jack cheese, tomato, cucumber, leaf lettuce, purple onions, herb cream cheese and shallot mustard mayonnaise
Do yourself a favor and plan ahead this year. Preorder your Derby eats, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about at the track. Enjoy all the wonder that is the first Saturday in May!
Be sure to download the free SB App to find all the great restaurants around town!