By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Apr 22, 2024 at 4:02 PM Photography: Maxie's

It’s almost time to break out your big fancy hats and seersucker suits in celebration of Maxie’s annual Derby Day celebration.

Once again, guests can enjoy three days of Maxie's Kentucky Derby-inspired menu – featuring dishes like Kentucky hot browns, fried bologna sandwiches and bourbon BBQ salmon – with offerings available at the restaurant on Thursday, May 2 to Saturday, May 4. 

However, the party begins in earnest on Derby Day (May 4) when Maxie’s doors will open starting at 2 p.m. for food, drinks, pre-race coverage, and an outdoor performance by Jackson Park Jazz Orchestra.

Throughout the party, guests can bid on silent auction items, participate in a prize raffle and 50/50 cash raffle and win prizes for Best Dressed and Best Hat. There will also be a race winner’s raffle at the end of the race (at about 6 p.m.).

Dancing at Derby Day PartyX

But, as usual, the party’s overall goal is even sweeter.

“We hope to beat the record donation of $20,574 for Hunger Task Force that we set last year,” says Maxie’s co-owner Dan Sidner, “As we don our finest attire and gather for the 150th milestone race, we are also mindful of those facing the harsh reality of hunger in our community. We want everyone to come together to party and have fun and rally for this good cause.”

It's a community-centered celebration that aims to contribute to the elimination of food insecurity throughout our city.

“Year over year, we look forward to attending this fun event through which we receive a lot of community support,” said Sherrie Tussler, CEO of Hunger Task Force.

“To date, we’ve received more than $115,000 through Maxie’s to help ensure our neighbors in need can receive emergency food with dignity, on the day they need it and in the neighborhood they live in.”

Derby Day big hatX

What you need to know

This year, guests can choose among three donation levels for entry: Clubhouse, Grand Stand, and In-field.


For an $80 per person donation, guests can secure Clubhouse reservations which include a buffet featuring Maxie’s Derby Day food from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., a private cash bar and a dedicated port-a-let for Clubhouse guests through the end of the race (around 6 p.m.). Each reservation includes two “betting forms” per person. 

Clubhouse reservations can be made at Donations are non-refundable and do not include beverages, or tax or gratuity related to beverage purchases.

Grand Stand

For a $40 donation, guests can reserve a table (for two to eight guests) inside of Maxie’s with a guaranteed televised view of race coverage. Reservations also include full service provided by Maxie’s staff and two “betting” forms per person. Seating will be available between 2 and 3:30 p.m. and is reserved until the race is over at approximately 6 p.m.

Grand Stand reservations can be made beginning Tuesday, April 4 at Donations are non-refundable and do not include food, beverages or tax and gratuity related to food and beverage purchases.


For a $20 donation purchased prior to Derby Day (or $25 in-person on Derby Day), guests will receive access to both the building and outside tents during the Derby Day celebration.  Limited table seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis (these tables include outdoor service).

An outdoor bar and food truck will provide Derby Day food, beer, wine, and cocktails. Guests can take part in the Jackson Park Jazz Orchestra performance and watch the race on multiple televisions. Each person will receive one “betting” form with each $20 donation.

In-Field donations can be made prior to Derby Day at Admission on Derby day will be $25 per person. The donation does not include food, beverages or tax or gratuity related to food and beverage purchases.

Maxie’s will continue regular indoor table service following the race until 9 p.m. 

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.