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Yelptucky Derby

by Meghann on April 27, 2013

Last night I had the honor of attending the first – hopefully annual? – Yelptucky Derby.

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Can you believe I’ve never been to a Kentucky Derby party before? This was my first!

I’ve been a bad Yelper lately. Thanks to a crazy start to 2013 (wedding, honeymoon, new job… you know, the usual excuses) I haven’t been able to attend a Yelp event since last December! Yikes! I missed my Yelp buddies and was excited to finally have an event I knew I could attend!

The Yelptucky Derby wasn’t your average Yelp Elite event. It was actually an annual Yelp party where ALL Yelpers were welcomed – no Yelp Elite status required! It was also not your typical one-host event. The Yelptucky Derby was a celebration of multiple restaurants around the Tampa Bay area. Held at the Winthrop Barn Theatre in Riverview (fun fact: I’d never been to Riverview before last night either) there were over a dozen vendors in attendance, all with enough food to feed an army.


I arrived a little on the early side and had a surprise waiting at check-in.


I was voted Yelp Tampa Bay’s Best Writer in the 2012 Best of Yelp awards last year. This was a HUGE honor since the Best of Yelp awards are voted on by fellow Yelpers! This baby is going up in my office!

And in true Meghann fashion, I headed straight for the Enjoi Sweets & Co food truck by check-in.


Best to get in before the lines, right?


First nibble of the night – a sugar cookie!


It was sweet, soft, and chewy. I gave it two thumbs up!

Next I was greeted by the welcoming committee (courtesy of Busch Gardens)…


…before heading to the barn full of food and drinks.


I was one of the first inside so I thankfully avoided the major crowds that took over later in the evening. I grabbed my one and only drink ( a glass of red wine) before the line for the bar wrapped around the building. There were over a dozen stations for food, but only one bar and the line got long. People like their drinks!

The food! Oh, the food! There was SO MUCH food! I tried to taste a little of everything, but I could only eat so much before I started feeling stuffed.

Some highlights of the evening included:

Sushi from Hula Bay

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Dark chocolate pecan toffee from Toffee To Go


Sausage bites from Wimauma,


Black eyed pea salad, pimento spread, and mint tea from the Corner Store (and a goodie bag with dried rosemary and chocolate almonds!)


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Burger sliders from Green Iguana


Roasted salmon, wilted arugula, and corn pudding from Fred’s Market (my favorite dish of the evening!).


Balsamic Berries from Pelagia Trattoria


Strawberry cookies and local fruit from Parkesdale Farms


That doesn’t even cover all of it! It was great to have so many local restaurants all in one place. Some local staples I hadn’t had the chance to try yet (Hula Bay, Green Iguana, etc.) and some I’d never even heard of (Fred’s Market, Wimuama, etc.). I left happy and full.

Since I headed straight to the event from a work thing in St. Pete I was attending solo. Luckily I wasn’t solo for long, the cool thing about Yelp events is you’re guaranteed to always run into a few people you know. I spent the majority of the evening hanging out with the lovely Megan and Beka.


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(you know I can never turn down a good photo booth!)

And how great is Beka’s necklace?! I want!


I also saw Caroline and Genna – it was a TBLB reunion!


I had a BLAST at Yelptucky Derby! I thought the Yelp team did a great job bringing together a ton of great vendors, as well as providing great entertainment and a fun theme. I didn’t have a big hat, but I was rockin’ a floral print in honor of the derby! I missed my Yelp friends and can’t wait to be back for another event in the near future!


1 Andrea R. April 27, 2013 at 11:51 am

First of all… your dress and shoes are AWESOME!! You look great!!
Second of all.. I am starving for a burger slider and that salmon!!
Third of all…. I have never been to a kentucky derby party either and I am mad about it! They sound like a great excuse to get me out of my running shorts/sports bra and into something NICE for a change!!
Andrea R. recently posted..So I am running a race today….

2 Stephanie @ Steph's Miles April 27, 2013 at 12:06 pm

These Yelp! events look amazing! Congrats on your award for best writer! I NEED to research if they do anything similar in South Florida. A close friend hails from Riverview, actually.
Stephanie @ Steph’s Miles recently posted..Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin

3 Michelle @ 3cheaprunners April 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

How lucky are you…so much great food – ALL in one place.
Congrats on your award – what an accomplishment!!!

4 Chelsea April 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm

You had me at corn pudding πŸ™‚ looks like you had an awesome night, the Kentucky Derby party theme had always been one of my favorites! How did you get involved with Yelp?
Chelsea recently posted..Finally a run outside

5 Susie April 27, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Congrats on your award! Looks like such a fun (and delicious event), nice work Yelp!
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6 Emily April 27, 2013 at 3:24 pm

You look so cute in your award photo. Congrats!

Reminds me to start finishing up some Yelp drafts I’ve been sitting on …
Emily recently posted..The One Where I Went to Safeway Hungry

7 beka April 27, 2013 at 4:36 pm
8 PeachyLau April 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Crossfit is really changing your body! Loving your shoulder definition!
PeachyLau recently posted..What I packed – makeup

9 Carli April 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Congrats on the award! I’d be hanging it in my office too. Sounds like a really great time.
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10 Jane @ Not Plain So Jane April 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Toffee to go?? I would buy anything from a company with a name like that! Congrats on the award, the ones voted on by peers are always the most rewarding πŸ™‚
Jane @ Not Plain So Jane recently posted..Work-out with Venus Williams

11 Jan @ Sprouts n Squats April 27, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Wow all that food looked amazing!

12 Kelly @ Kelly the Culinarian April 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm

I love being a part of the Yelp Elite Squad! It’s such a great way to make new friends and see new restaurants.

13 stephanie April 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm

i love your dress!!! where did you find it?! so cute.

14 MealsAndMiles April 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Target last summer

15 Maggie April 27, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Congrats on your award, you totally deserve it! Also, I know I have said it before, but thank you for eating cookies, having a cocktail, and proving that you do not have to eat Paleo, juice 24/7 or anything else excessive, to be happy & healthy. {I’m feeling a lot of pressure from my CF box these days and you keep it real.}
Maggie recently posted..Virtual {Coffee Date}

16 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats April 27, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I absolutely love events like this. I could live on little nibbles of different meals forever. Also, anything Derby themed is a win for me πŸ™‚
Karen @ Runner Girl Eats recently posted..Duck, Duck, Goose Attack

17 Frances April 28, 2013 at 7:35 am

I agree with Maggie, you keep it real! Looks like you had a good time, and you looked great. Your bangs look cute pulled back like that! Oh and congrats on the award πŸ™‚

18 Natalie @ Free Range Human April 28, 2013 at 10:37 am

How fun! I would’ve definitely used the opportunity to wear a fun hat!
Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted..Feet Before The Fire

19 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed April 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Looks like a ton of fun. Love your dress!!!!
Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed recently posted..April Whole30: Week 4.5 Meal Plan

20 Kaitie April 30, 2013 at 7:16 am

Ah, you were in my neck of the woods! I hope you enjoyed your visit to Riverview. And the strawberry cookies from Parkesdale Farms. Had one a few weeks ago and fell in love!

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