With the ever popular presence of cuisines such as Thai and Italian dominating the Manhattan food scene, sometimes its good to go outside your comfort zone and try something new and inspiring.  With Southern Hospitality attempting to make its mark in the foodie scene here in NYC, there is one new restaurant that is sure to make a stir in the Lower East Side and beyond.  This restaurant is called The Derby, which boasts southern cuisine and even better… BRUNCH ALL DAY!   They boast classic favorites such as Shrimp & Grits and Chicken & Waffles just to name a few, with yummy starters such as house-made buttermilk biscuits with jalapeno butter and jam to start (Weeeee!!!).  I sat down recently with owner Rob Shamlain to discuss The Derby and its hopeful future.
The Derby, Manhattan Digest
Credit to: The Derby

How did “The Derby” get started? 

We wanted to create a friendly environment with southern hospitality that was light-filled and bright for brunch, but also sultry enough for dinner and drinks when the sun goes down. I’ve always loved southern-inspired fare, and knew this was the perfect place for my concept to come to life.

How did you come up with the name for it?

The phrase, “If jockey’s could eat, they would race to The Derby for the mouthwatering organic fried chicken and bourbon cocktails” really stuck in my mind. Whether you care for the horses or the hats, The Derby was the perfect name for a place worth whiling away the hours with biscuits and bourbon… or both.

Tell me about the type of cuisine you serve.

While the menu is southern-inspired fare, this is no greasy spoon. The Derby re-imagines Dixie favorites using the freshest organic, local meats and produce, with a farm to table menu that has something for everyone. If the tender rib-eye steak is too rich for your palate, the light whole fish redolent with fresh herbs and lemon offers a lighter option.

What is your favorite dishes in all arenas-  appetizer, entree and dessert.

The house-made buttermilk biscuits are a perfect appetizer and come with jalapeno butter and jam. Perfection! The Chicken & Waffles are certainly a stand out item not to be missed as the entree, and the thick slices of watermelon for dessert are the perfect end to the meal.

Do you think you can make this restaurant a big deal in the LES?

Definitely. We’re located on the bustling corner of Stanton and Orchard, with open mullioned windows and outdoor seating. We provide the perfect vantage point for the best people watching on the LES, and we’re already packed for brunch and warm summer evenings.

The Derby, Manhattan Digest
Credit to: The Derby

Do you have plans to open up other locations across New York City? 

I always have new projects in the planning phase.

What are you hopeful for in “The Derby’s” future? 

I hope to acquire a liquor license for the downstairs in order to serve people more efficiently and offer a space for after dinner cocktails.


The Derby

167 Orchard St


Official Site