Levy Restaurants

And They’re Off


A tradition spanning more than 140 years, the Kentucky Derby is one of the world’s most celebrated and beloved events in horseracing. After Churchill Downs’ announcement of an $18 million dollar project to renovate its premium dining areas, Levy Restaurants sought to elevate the guest experience to be worthy of the Downs’ new look through new menus and a dedication to style.

How We Did It

  • Partnered with celebrity mixologist and Crafthouse Cocktails Founder, Charles Joly, to create a special cocktail menu including three original handcrafted creations.
  • Hand-selected the batch of bourbon served at the Kentucky Derby with help from Levy Chef David Danielson, mixologist Charles Joly and select members of the Turf Club.
  • Developed a Churchill Downs app in partnership with VenueNext and E15 to improve guest experience by moving their wallet and tickets directly to their smartphone.
  • Upgraded chef and staff uniforms to match current fashion and hospitality trends, reflecting the southern and speakeasy themes of the Derby.
  • Increased the safety of infield guests through new policies and procedures.

The End Result

  • Churchill Downs extended its contract with Levy Restaurants in 2016 to be its hospitality partner through 2026
  • Over 18,000 guests used the new Churchill Downs VenueNext app on Oaks Day and Derby Day to get express pick-up, in-seat delivery, navigation support, and/or wagering.
    • The Wayfinder feature on the Churchill Downs app was the most popular, giving guests the ability to locate restrooms, sections, concessions, ATM machines, wagering windows, and their own parking space. Users rated it four out of five stars.
  • The new uniforms added to the event’s sophisticated ambiance and made team members feel more comfortable.
  • Levy’s collaboration with Churchill Downs on media relations resulted in 88 placements and 410 million media impressions, up from 171 million in 2015, including a first-ever NBC race day broadcast spot with Charles Joly in the Speakeasy bar.
18,000 Guests Downloaded the VenueNext app to find their way
410 Million Media Impressions from the events
88 Media Placements Showcasing our offerings at the Kentucky Derby

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