By Lucy M. Pritchett

This poached egg and bacon pizza from Blue Dog Bakery is one of many tasty foods you and your friends can try.
Photo by Johanna Ehnle

Perhaps you are having out-of-town guests for Derby this year. Or, as Louisvillian Abbey Mueller did, you have taken the plunge and rented your home to visitors from out of town. If your guests are here for more than just the Oaks/Derby weekend, you might find yourself playing tour guide or at least offering suggestions on places to Eat, Play, Linger.

Abbey, founder of Abigail Academy, has rented her St. Matthews home to Derby goers for several years and often plays the role of concierge. She gives us a few recommendations for value-added hosting.

Most of her suggestions are for places found in and around her St. Matthews neighborhood, are well known to the locals, and provide a change of scenery from the obvious sites that attract tourists and travelers this time of year.


Fried egg, bacon, and avocado sandwich at Blue Dog Bakery.
Photo by Johanna Ehnle

Blue Dog Bakery This is a great spot to enjoy breakfast or brunch before spending a long day at the track. Abbey recommends the poached egg and bacon pizza, or you might go for the fried egg, bacon, and avocado sandwich — a sure winner.

Plehn’s Bakery
Photo by Melissa Donald

Plehn’s Bakery Just walking into this staple of sweet delights is a treat in itself. Decorated cakes, pastries, and cookies — and, yes, there are horse-shaped ones to celebrate the day — fill the glass cases. And the donuts are to die for. Get your sugar on here for sure.

Plehn’s Bakery
Photos by Melissa Donald

Paul’s Fruit Market For boxed lunches to take to the racetrack, Abbey says Paul’s deli department is her go-to spot. Lunches include a sandwich, pasta, fruit, and a sweet. Order ahead so you won’t be an also-ran.

Pat’s Steak HouseAfter a day winning (or losing) at Churchill Downs, step into the historic atmosphere of Pat’s Steak House. In addition to the main dining room with its wood paneled walls and horse racing memorabilia, there are private dining rooms, an outdoor patio, and three bar areas to either celebrate or drown your sorrows. For a sure thing, make reservations early.

Diamond Pub and Billiards Do your guests fancy a game of billiards? This is the place to relax and get to meet some local folks. Eat, drink and be merry.

Saints Pizza Pub and Sky Bar Another favorite place to hang out with local folks. There are plenty of television screens to watch not only the races — in case you didn’t make it to the infield — but other sporting events during that week. Baseball, anyone?

Cherokee and Seneca ParksLouisville has marvelous parks for walking or running off those Derby week treats, tossing a Frisbee, or just taking in the natural surroundings. If you have kids to entertain, find your place under a tree and let them burn off energy at one of the playgrounds. Tiny Willow Park, in the heart of the Highlands, is a gem. Be happy.

Blades Salon and Spa Whether you need a quick trim or a complete makeover for that special Derby party, the stylists at Blades will make sure you are the belle of the ball.

Joseph’s Salon & Spa Here is the place to get your toes and fingertips shining for your day at the track with a manicure and pedicure. Or maybe a facial or massage is what you need to take a break from all the Derby festivities. Ahhhh.

Colonial Designs Boutique Don’t panic. If you need a last-minute accessory — jewelry, scarf, or handbag — this boutique offers a variety of fashion choices. You might even find the perfect sundress too.

The Vogue Center — If you have an inclination to do some casual shopping, the boutiques and shops at The Vogue Center offer just about everything from fine jewelry (From the Vault) to bath and body products and fashion accessories (Dandelion) to pie a la mode (Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen).

What are your favorite places to show your guests in Louisville?