As Derby Week approached Eater sought the opinions of several area dining and entertainment professionals, asking a number of questions about the upcoming festivities. Here Laurence Agnew, Joe Banet, Anthony Lamas, Edward Lee, Jeremy Johnson, Fernando Martinez and Mark Peters offer up their Derby horror stories.
Q: Can you tell a personal or professional Derby horror story?
Laurence Agnew, Executive Chef at Crushed Ice Events: During Derby 136 in 2010, I was working at Churchill Downs and it was so busy I ended up staying for a 36 hour shift!
Joe Banet, Executive Chef at Rye: In 2007, I had to individually plate 800 shrimp cocktails in martini glasses. I haven't made a shrimp cocktail since.
Jeremy Johnson, Meta: There are a LOT. I will say I regret offering to be a de facto taxi for a group of drunken North Carolinians, who ended up being SUPER racist. I kicked them out.
Anthony Lamas, Seviche: Well, any year that is rains that presents challenges. One year in particular the rain was so heavy that it was coming in under the doors and through the roof. We had a tent over the patio full of people eating their dinner, but it was coming down so hard that there was about a foot of water rushing through. The guests were pretty understanding. They had spent the whole day at the track getting rained on, so most of them just stayed seated and ate their dinner with water around their ankles. That was pretty stressful.
Fernando Martinez, Guaca Mole/El Taco Luchador/The Place Downstairs/Mussel & Burger Bar: Kentucky Derby is known for some heavy drinking. At one of my restaurants one year a couple locked themselves in the bathroom. After 30 minutes of people complaining and us knocking on the door, we decided to open the door to find the couple drunk and asleep on the floor.
Mark Peters, Coals Artisan Pizza: We had visitors from Seattle. They had box tickets but went to the infield to "check it out." They were both quite dressy… They came back and told me and Madeline that the infield was "interesting and educational."