WASHINGTON - Historic Hotels of America has many iconic and legendary hotels that have made important contributions to the culinary heritage and traditions of the United States. The Omni Parker House which opened in 1855 is famous for the creation of both the soft, warm Parker House Rolls and of the original Boston Cream Pie, which was named the official state dessert of Massachusetts in 1996. Tomato juice was the invention of a chef at French Lick Spring Hotel, concocted when the kitchen ran out of oranges for juice one morning at breakfast. The Green Goddess Dressing was created at the Palace Hotel in 1923. Several hotels honored in the 2022 Top 25 Historic Hotels of America Most Unique Culinary Heritage and Culinary Traditions List provide recipes so you can mix a cocktail or prepare a pie like the one you would enjoy as their guest.
Culinary heritage includes a food or beverage that was created, invented, or first served at a historic hotel and is still served today. Culinary tradition includes a food or beverage that was perfected by the hotel’s chefs or has been served to guests for at least 25 years regardless of its origins.
From original recipes that were created at a historic hotel and have become widely loved and enjoyed everywhere, to specialty drinks and cocktails that are deeply a part of the hotel’s history, the 2022 Top 25 Historic Hotels of America Most Unique Culinary Heritage and Culinary Traditions List offers something sweet, savory, or refreshing for any person in 2022.
John Rutledge House Inn (1763)
Charleston, South Carolina
She-Crab Soup appears on many restaurant menus in Charleston, South Carolina, but the very first bowl was whipped up at its historic Rutledge House. In the 1920s, Charleston’s mayor Robert Goodwyn Rhett resided at what is now the historic John Rutledge House Inn, inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1989 and winner of a Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence honor in 2021. The mayor was expecting a visit from U.S. President William Taft during his tour of Charleston. Wanting to do something special for the President, Mayor Rhett asked his butler to “dress up” their typical crab soup. His presidential variation featured orange crab eggs, giving the soup a bright color and great taste. Thus, She-Crab Soup was born and began a legacy and practically a rite of passage for all Charleston foodies. She-Crabs (roe-carrying female crabs) are known to be a real delicacy because they have much more flavor than their male counterpart, He-Crabs. The orange-hued eggs of she-crabs give the soup extra flavor and color. She-Crabs are difficult to find in many parts of the country, so white crab meat can be substituted. Hard-boiled egg yolk may be crumbled in the soup to imitate crab egg.
The Omni Homestead Resort (1766)
Hot Springs, Virginia
Fresh, local trout has been a popular menu item at The Omni Homestead Resort for more than a century. Allegheny Mountain Trout has been a guest favorite at this hotel for generations and is still served today in the hotel’s dining room. The Omni Homestead Resort was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1989, and it was a winner at the Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence in 2016 and 2017. Its trout entrée has been updated over the years, and the Homestead currently features Sautéed Allegheny Mountain Trout Almondine. It is served with marble potatoes, haricots verts, macerated grapes, and brown butter sauce. The trout is sourced from the Virginia Trout Company, located less than an hour away from the resort, just outside of Monterey, Virginia in Highland County. The partnership between The Homestead and the Virginia Trout Company is one of the longest running between the resort and local food purveyors. The recipe was featured in Former Executive Chef Albert Schnarwyler’s 1989 book, Dining at The Homestead.
The Red Lion Inn (1773)
Apple pie à la mode is a long-standing tradition and a favorite dessert for the generations of guests and family who have dined at The Red Lion Inn, which was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1989. The Inn’s current owner, Nancy Fitzpatrick, can recall from family history that the recipe was passed down from her grandmother, Mary Pratt. “When we first opened, Nana May (as we called her), went out to the kitchen and showed the chef how she made her pie. She was a wonderful cook. There was always dessert at her house. It was the pie my mother made when I was growing up.” Nancy’s mother and father, Jane and John Fitzpatrick, opened the Inn in 1969 and the recipe has not changed since. The Red Lion Inn’s apple pie with vanilla ice cream is enjoyed by guests year-round in the main dining room and at the Widow Bingham’s Tavern. It is served at lunch and dinner and is part of the Inn’s special holiday menus.
The Red Lion Inn Pie Crust
- 1/2 cup butter, cold
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 1/4 cups of flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk, cold
Directions: Blend the butter and shortening together with a wooden spoon in a small bowl. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl. Cut in the butter and shortening, using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the cold milk, and blend until absorbed. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a ball. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Or, if using a food processor, place the butter, shortening, flour, and salt in the bowl; fit with a steel blade. Process until the mixture reaches the consistency of cornmeal. With the processor on, add the milk slowly through the funnel until the dough forms a ball.) When ready to bake the pie, roll each half of the chilled pie dough out on a floured board until it is slightly larger than the pie plate. Fit one half into the pie plate, place a filling inside, add the top crust, and flute the edges together.
Inn at Perry Cabin (1816)
St. Michaels, Maryland
Crab cakes can be found in many states, but Maryland’s version is famous for a reason. An essential part of the Chesapeake Bay’s heritage, the Blue Crab is a regional delicacy and is sought after by Maryland natives and visitors alike. The waterways surrounding the Inn have produced a bounty of crabs and fueled a thriving seafood industry long before the building was constructed in 1816. Crab cakes have been a staple menu item throughout the state since the 1930s and the Inn at Perry Cabin, which was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2018, has served their own version since the hotel’s doors opened. With a belief in remaining “Loyal to Local,” crabs are harvested daily by Eastern Shore watermen and delivered fresh to the Inn’s kitchen for a variety of preparations. Offered during every dining period, crab cakes made from Blue Crab can be enjoyed for breakfast (Maryland Crab Cake Benedict), lunch (Crab Cake BLT) and dinner (Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes). The crab cakes at Inn at Perry Cabin provide a true taste of the Chesapeake Bay and a bite into Maryland’s culinary history.
The Southern-style Mint Julep is the signature drink served at the Round Robin Bar of The Willard InterContinental, Washington DC, and dates to 1830, when Kentucky Senator Henry Clay tried to order a Mint Julep at the original bar. The hotel bartender was not familiar with this cocktail, so Senator Clay asked if he could go behind the bar to show him how to make a Mint Julep. Traditionally, Mint Juleps were made with rum, rye, or brandy. Henry Clay’s version featured sour mash corn whiskey, distilled in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Before he left The Willard, Senator Clay wrote the original ingredients on a napkin for the bartenders to keep. Since 1830, the Round Robin Bar's signature cocktail has been the Mint Julep. Senator Clay’s recipe is followed to this day, as the Willard seeks to preserve this piece of history. The Willard InterContinental, Washington DCwas inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2010. Today, the hotel’sRound RobinBar serves the Henry Clay Mint Julep as its signature drink and sells more than 20,000 juleps throughout the year. As bartender Jim Hewes – named Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence Hotel Historian of the Year in 2017 – says, "the Mint Julep is a light libation of extraordinary character."
French Lick Springs Hotel (1845)
French Lick, Indiana
It was an early summer day in 1917 at the French Lick Springs Hotel when Chef Louis Perrin entered his kitchen ready to prepare the morning meal for a crowd of guests at The Springs Restaurant. Things were progressing well until the Chef realized that they had run out of oranges and could not make orange juice. Ever resourceful, Chef Perrin simply grabbed a handful of tomatoes and began creating a new beverage – tomato juice. Using ripe tomatoes, a touch of sugar and his secret sauce, the Chef created a new breakfast drink that was an enormous success. News of the drink spread quickly throughout the country and people arrived at the hotel just to try the interesting concoction. Soon there were too many orders for tomato juice and The Springs kitchen could not keep up with the demand. A tomato juice company was formed in French Lick and given the secret recipe to make the juice in massive quantities for the hotel. But once folks had a taste for it, the demand for tomato juice increased, and by 1928, canned tomato juice was available on the commercial market everywhere.
Omni Parker House, Boston (1855)
It will come as no surprise that the longest continuously operating hotel in the United States boasts some of the most historic and prestigious culinary traditions. The Omni Parker House opened in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1855, and was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2006. Its Boston Cream Pie, the custard-filled cake with chocolate frosting, was originally called the “Parker House Chocolate Cream Pie.” The pie (technically a cake) was created and served at Parker’s Restaurant from the opening of the hotel in October 1856. The original Parker House recipe was so popular that in 1958 it became a Betty Crocker® boxed mix. In 1996, thanks in part to a Norton High School civics class that sponsored the bill, Boston Cream Pie was proclaimed the official Massachusetts State Dessert. Today, you can order various interpretations of “Boston Cream Pie” in restaurants and cafés around the world. Those who want to taste the original can either dine in at the Omni Parker House or order it online. Along with the famous dessert, the hotel kitchen also produced the original soft, buttery, Parker House Rolls. Dubbed “America’s first soft dinner roll,” the recipe was closely guarded and top-secret until 1933, when U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt requested the rolls be served at a White House dinner. According to legend, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt asked that the recipe be forwarded to them at the White House. The Omni Parker House obliged.
The Inn at Leola Village blends local Amish heritage with a rustic Italian influence to create farm fresh breads, specialty pastas, and enticing entrees. The luxury countryside complex was once a working Amish farm, then later adapted into an inn during the early 2000s and inducted as a member of Historic Hotels of America in 2001. Food is part of the Inn’s heritage. Many herbs and vegetables are grown at the Inn, including the rosemary used in its mouthwatering focaccia bread. The Inn at Leola Village’s recipe for focaccia bread dates to the mid-1800s and was passed onto the business from the Amish family who farmed the land. Origin unknown, the base recipe was passed on from Ada Fisher, a local Amish woman who once lived on the land where the Inn is located. Her legacy is honored at the Inn to this day. The chefs at Leola Village put some rustic Italian flare into the bread to create their own signature recipe when the Inn opened. Enjoy the historical bread in the Inn’s Osteria Avanti, a casual restaurant, or at private events in The Spa. Interested patrons may even sample the bread as a member of the Chef's Table Culinary Experience. Guests can also purchase full and half loaves to take home.
Bertha Honoré Palmer, wife of the Chicago merchant and real estate developer who built the Palmer House hotel, directed the Palmer House chef to create a unique confection to be served at the Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in 1893. The hotel chef invented the chocolate brownie: a dense chocolate square – somewhere between fudge and cake – topped with sugary walnuts and glazed. The Palmer House chocolate brownie recipe has existed for more than a century and is the same one used for the brownies served in the Palmer House Hilton today. It remains one of the hotel’s most popular desserts. The first reference to the “brownie” in America appeared in the Sears Roebuck Catalog published in Chicago in 1898. The hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2007 and has since won Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence in 2021, 2018, 2016, 2015, and 2014. A leader in hospitality to this day, the hotel still crafts their brownies according to its original recipe. Guests can enjoy this tasty treat at any of the hotel's many dining outlets or take them to-go.
Palace Hotel (1875)
San Francisco, California
The Green Goddess Dressing was created at the Palace Hotel in 1923 by Executive Chef Phillip Roemer. Chef Roemer created the dressing for a banquet held at the Palace, which was San Francisco’s first luxury hotel and the largest in the world when it opened in 1875. The Palace Hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2010 and was honored at the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2016. The 1923 banquet was held to honor actor George Arliss, who was the lead in William Archer’s hit play, “The Green Goddess.” After the banquet, the Green Goddess Salad became a permanent menu item at the historic Palace Hotel. In the early years, when there was limited access to fresh produce, the dressing was served with shredded iceberg lettuce, canned vegetables and a choice of chicken, shrimp, or crab. Over the years the salad has evolved. Today, the salad is referred to as The Garden Court signature crab salad and features farm sourced mixed baby greens, fresh locally grown California vegetables and a generous portion of Dungeness crab meat. The salad is offered with the famous Green Goddess Dressing. Guests can experience a lightened version of the Green Goddess Dressing at the hotel’s fine restaurant, The Garden Court.
Grand Hotel (1887)
Mackinac Island, Michigan
The 2022 season marks the 75th anniversary of the Grand Hotel's signature dessert, the Pecan Ball. The Grand Pecan Ball has been served at the Mackinac Island resort since 1947. This classic Great Lakes resort was founded in 1887 and was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2001, recognized for its distinction as a winner of Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021. The recipe was adapted from the L.S. Aryes department store that opened in Indianapolis in 1872. There was a tea room in the store and the pecan ball was a memorable dessert. The owners of the Grand Hotel enjoyed it so much that, in 1947, they hired someone to recreate it to be served at the hotel. It very quickly became the resort’s most popular dessert, and it is still loved by guests today. The hotel prepares over 60,000 Grand Pecan Balls every year. It is available on the menus of all Grand Hotel restaurants.
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis Union Station, Curio Collection by Hilton, was once the largest single-level train station in the world and is today a popular family destination. Home to the St. Louis Aquarium, the 200-foot-tall St. Louis Wheel, and dining establishments (including the historic Station Grille), the hotel was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior in 1970 and it was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2014. When the building opened in 1894, it was a symbol of the midwestern city's wealth and its role as a commercial hub. Soon, the legendary hospitality pioneer Fred Harvey opened a Harvey House dining room at Union Station. Fred Harvey’s chain of restaurants started in Topeka, Kansas, in 1876 and they revolutionized railroad dining. At Harvey restaurants, travelers ordered while still on board the train, and then the orders were wired to the restaurant manager, so that travelers could arrive, be seated and served a delicious meal, and then be on their way in as little time and with as little hassle as possible. Fred Harvey’s restaurant in St. Louis is now the St. Louis Union Station Hotel’s Station Grille, a gastropub serving some of the finest food in the city. Twenty-first century visitors can dine in the same elegant room that travelers did in the station’s railway heydays. Dining with Fred Harvey was an elegant experience with linens imported from Ireland, silver from England, and China from France. Harvey's waitresses, the famous “Harvey Girls,” were carefully recruited. Famed humorist Will Rogers remarked that Fred Harvey kept the west supplied with “food and wives.”
HOTEL DU PONT (1913)
The HOTEL DU PONT’s signature almond macaroons have been served at all lunches, dinners, and banquet events as well as served as a welcome gift and turndown amenity for over 80 years. So popular are these delicious cookies that the bakeshop makes more than 400,000 per month in batches of 3,000. Gluten-free and containing only four ingredients, the macaroon recipe is simple yet utterly unique to HOTEL DU PONT. This historic hotel in Wilmington, Delaware, was a charter inductee of Historic Hotels of America in 1989 and a winner of the Annual Awards of Excellence in 2020. The macaroon originates in Europe, where it was popularized by French and Italian pastry chefs. HOTEL DU PONT macaroons are available for purchase by the dozen (plain or chocolate dipped) at the hotel’s bakeshop, Spark’d Creative Pastry.
The Broadmoor (1918)
Colorado Springs, Colorado
A Colorado Springs resort steeped in history spanning almost a hundred years, The Broadmoor is rich in tradition and culture. The Broadmoor was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1989 and was a winner of the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence in 2018 and 2017. When it opened a century earlier, on June 29, 1918, the hotel’s first chef, Chef Stratta, prepared the Shrimp Salad Louis for the formal opening festivities. This was not his first meal for the hotel, however: he had begun his service in 1916 by preparing meals for the construction workers building the hotel. Except for an eight-year period from 1932 to 1940, Chef Stratta held the position of executive Chef until his death in 1976. The traditional west-coast seafood dish can be experienced through in-room dining or at La Taverne and The Grill.
Historic Hotel Bethlehem (1922)
Historic Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, revived a local heritage recipe for its guests to enjoy: the Moravian Sugar Cake. This sweet treat is a traditional bread-type dessert started by colonial Moravian settlers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, circa 1741. The Historic Hotel Bethlehem opened in 1922 and was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2002—the hotel was even a winner of the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2019. It was also voted USA Today's People’s Choice Best Historic Hotel in 2021. The hotel has been serving Moravian Sugar Cake to guests for 20 years as a celebration of the region’s heritage. In the past, the cake would often be served during a “Love Feast,” or a time during worship when people shared simple, but satisfying, food to sustain themselves. Today, Moravians still have Love Feasts, albeit in different ways. The Historic Hotel Bethlehem started making it for guests to celebrate the community’s deep roots in colonial Moravian-settled Bethlehem. The Moravian Sugar Cake is available in the lobby daily for guests to enjoy.
La Fonda (1922)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Chile Rellenos have been served at La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, since 1926, when it was a Fred Harvey House. In 1925, the Inn was leased to legendary hotelier Fred Harvey, and it was operated as one of his renowned Harvey House Hotels for more than 40 years. Having first introduced hotels and dining halls along the railroads in the 1870s, the Harvey Company had a solid reputation for impeccable service standards and introduced those standards to La Fonda during its formative years. In the 1930s, the hotel sought to hire the best European chefs. Harvey House Hotels were known for their hospitality, comfortable surroundings, and delicious food for weary railroad travelers. Today, though no longer a Fred Harvey Company hotel, the tradition of culinary excellence lives on at La Fonda with a dish is known and loved, “Fred Harvey’s Chile Rellenos.” Fresh ground blue corn, anise, Hatch green chili, Chimayo Heirloom peppers, and posole are just a few of the regional specialties popular in the La Fonda kitchen. La Fonda was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1991 and was honored as a winner of the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2016, 2018, and 2020. To celebrate the hotel’s 2022 centennial year, La Fonda’s chef has revived the Fred Harvey era “Blue-Plate Special:” a weekly dinner entrée (available Monday–Thursday evenings) featuring artisan foods that come straight from the Land of Enchantment.
The Brown Hotel (1923)
The Brown Hotel, opening with a grand flourish in 1923, drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance by the height of the Roaring ‘20s. One evening, in 1926, The Brown Hotel’s chef Fred Schmidt grew weary of serving traditional ham and eggs and from that he was inspired to create the decadent Hot Brown open-faced sandwich. Delighting his guests with an open-faced turkey sandwich with slices of bacon and tomatoes all baptized in a bubbling Mornay, The Hot Brown was born! Since this culinary masterpiece was first presented to guests of The Brown Hotel in 1926 the recipe remains unchanged. Since that fateful night, The Brown Hotel has served more than 1.5 million Hot Browns. Visitors from around the world seek out the now world-famous Hot Brown as an opportunity to try the authentic original. Known as a leader in hospitality, The Brown Hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1989 and it was honored as a winner of the Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence in 2018. The Brown Hotel also serves an original cocktail, the Ali Smash, named after legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who was a frequent guest at the Brown Hotel as a young man. Legend has it that Louisville boxing coach Joseph Martin told young Ali, “You’re spicy as rye, but you might consider learning to fight before getting smashed.”
The Ali Smash
- 1.5 oz Old Forester Rye
- .5 oz PAMA Liquor
- 2 Lemon Wedges
- 6 Spearmint Leaves
Directions: In a glass or shaker tin, muddle mint leaves and 1 lemon wedge in PAMA liquor. Place mixture in shaking tin, with a small scoop of ice and Old Forester Rye. Shake until chilled and pour until a rocks glass. Add the other wedge of lemon and enjoy!
Francis Marion Hotel (1924)
Charleston, South Carolina
Shrimp and grits are a southern staple and a tradition in the Lowcountry. This dish has been on the menu at the Francis Marion Hotel for over 20 years. Built in 1924 as the “Grande Dame of the Carolinas” and named for Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, the Francis Marion Hotel remains one of Charleston’s premier hotels. It was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1999 and was honored as a winner of the Historic Hotels of Excellence in 2019. Its shrimp and grits was originally a breakfast item and made for fishermen. Once called "breakfast shrimp,” this dish was filling enough for their long hours of labor. Typically enjoyed through shrimp season, which runs from May through December, these fishing families made their breakfast shrimp with simplicity. Just using shrimp cooked in bacon fat and plain grits, the dish was more of a necessity rather than the exquisite recipe one might find today. This award-winning dish can be found at the Swamp Fox Restaurant thanks to Executive Chef Simon Andrew, who tweaked this regional and historic dish into the beloved one served today. Using local shrimp as well as regionally local grits from Adluh Mills, located in Columbia, South Carolina, the hotel chef is sure to source locally produced products for this historic dish.
San Francisco, California
Located on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, the world-renowned Top of the Mark sky lounge affords guests a wraparound view of San Francisco. The hotel opened in 1926 and Top of the Mark has hosted guests for celebrations and commemorations since 1939. One longstanding tradition at the lounge is the "Squadron Bottle." During World War II, Pacific-bound U.S. servicemen met with friends and loved ones at the lounge for one last toast to the Golden Gate Bridge before deploying, hoping for good luck and a safe return. The servicemen would purchase and leave a bottle with the bartender so soldiers from their squadron could stop by to enjoy a free drink; the only caveat being whoever had the last shot from it would buy the next "Squadron Bottle." This tradition continues today with bottles not only from active servicemen and veterans, but also civilians to show appreciation. The InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2011 and, in December 2021, the hotel was awarded "Historic Hotels of America Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel" at the Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence.
“Spa Cuisine” became a national movement in the 1980s in large part because Edward Safdie, then the owner (1980-1985) of The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, published a cookbook with spa cuisine recipes in 1985. Spa Food: Menus & Recipes from the Sonoma Mission Inn cookbook made spa cooking – tasteful fare high in macronutrients and low in sugar, fats, and processed ingredients – a national phenomenon and has been coined a “book for cooks.” The resort’s health-conscious offerings date back to its original hot springs baths in the late 19th century. The Spanish Colonial-style Inn dates to 1927 and it was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2014. In the 21st century, the resort continues Safdie’s legacy. The resorts’ current culinary team demonstrates an unwavering commitment to serve guests impeccable meals created with seasonal ingredients sourced from regional wineries, breweries, ranches, fisheries, and farmers.
Since its opening in 1980, The Settlers Inn has been committed to presenting local food that would help preserve small family farming in Pennsylvania’s Delaware Highlands. The Inn was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2010 and honored with the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence in 2016 and 2021. When the Inn opened, owner/chef Grant Genzlinger reached out to local growers and producers to create partnerships that would highlight the bounty of the region in a simple and direct manner. Blooming Grove Brook Trout is sourced directly from a local hatchery that utilizes mountain river troughs. The hatchery dates to the 1880s and is one of the most historic in the United States. Blooming Grove Smoked Trout was featured on The Settlers Inn menu since its opening in 1980. Blooming Grove Brook Trout is served at The Settlers Inn year-round and may be found on the breakfast, brunch, and dinner menus. Today, there are over 25 direct-to-restaurant farm providers that serve Settlers Inn. In addition, the Inn’s extensive gardens produce many edible flowers used in recipes and as decorative garnishes. Recently, The Settlers Inn introduced a Chef’s Demonstration Garden. Located just steps from the kitchen, the garden will yield a small number of fresh vegetables and herbs, so guests can make the direct connection between fresh ingredients and quality meals.
The Hotel Hershey® (1933)
As the original purveyor of Hershey's chocolate brand, this historic hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania, invites its guests to partake in indulgent cuisine experiences. The Hotel Hershey opened in 1933 and was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 1991. It won the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence in 2018 and 2019. Over the years, guests have brought elevated expectations for dessert when dining at The Hotel Hershey and the signature chocolate cream pie has been a guest favorite for decades. Made with a chocolate cookie crust, dark chocolate custard, whipped cream and chocolate shavings, this top-selling dessert first appeared on the menu as early as 1976 and is still a must-order among new and return guests. It can currently be found on the dessert menu at Harvest, the Hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant, as well as on the room service menu for all guests to enjoy.
The Hotel Hershey's Chocolate Cream Pie from The Hotel Hershey Culinary Team
- 9-inch baked pastry shell of your choice (chocolate recommended)
- 2-1/2 cups milk, divided
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 2-1/2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Shaved chocolate or Hershey’s Kisses for garnish
Directions: Heat 1-1/2 cups milk and sugar in 1-quart saucepan. Combine 1 cup milk with flour, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks. Temper by adding some of the hot sugar/milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Return mixture to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir one minute, then remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Finish with vanilla and butter. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate. To serve, garnish with whipped cream and shaved chocolate or Hershey’s Kisses.
The Wort Hotel (1941)
The Wort Hotel’s Famous Corn Chowder was first introduced at the Silver Dollar Bar in 1985. The recipe was added to the Wort Hotel’s menu when the hotel chef, Arthur Leech, wanted to create a hearty staple item for the menu that would keep guests warm during the long, cold, winter months. The original hotel opened in 1941 and The Wort Hotel was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2002. Guests can enjoy the chowder at the Silver Dollar Bar & Grill in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or at home with the recipe included below.
- ¼ pound bacon
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 cups fresh corn
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dill
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- Flour to thicken
- 2 tablespoons chicken base added to 2 qts. water
- 12 red potatoes, quartered
- ¼ to ½ cup heavy cream
- White pepper and salt to taste
Directions: Cook bacon slowly until crisp, and then drain fat and crumble in the pan. Add vegetables, wine, garlic, dill, and thyme to the pan, and cook until tender. Add flour and cook while stirring well – do not brown. Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender. Add heavy cream until desired consistency. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Dish hot chowder into individual oven-safe crocks, add croutons, top with cheddar slices and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Place in oven or under a broiler to melt and brown the cheese. Serve & enjoy!
Rancho Bernardo Inn (1963)
San Diego, California
In January 1986, Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, California, hosted the National Conference of Gastronomy. Famous chefs and actors attended the conference, including Julia Child, Alice Waters, Diana Kennedy, Danny Kaye, and Jacque Pepin. Vincent Price, the famous horror actor and – surprising many – a published cook, demonstrated his Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding recipe for the attendees. Afterward, Price gave the Executive Chef at Rancho Bernardo Inn the bread pudding recipe to use at the Inn because it was so well received. The Inn served bread pudding at brunch in its former restaurant El Bizcocho for over 26 years and the Inn continues to serve it at the Veranda Dining Room. The recipe is unchanged since Price introduced it to the Inn and the bread pudding continues to be a guest favorite. Among the best Wine Country resorts, Rancho Bernardo Inn was inducted into Historic Hotels of America in 2021.
Mauna Kea Hotel (1965)
Kohala Coast, Hawaii
Culinary traditions run as deep as the Pacific Ocean at the historic Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel has sourced produce and product from Hawaii’s Big Island for well over 50 years, long before sourcing locally gained prominence and renown as “Hawaii Regional Cuisine.” Among treasured favorites on the menu are two standouts: Mauna Kea Banana Bread and The Fredrico cocktail. Each morning, guests are greeted at Manta Restaurant with a slice of Mauna Kea’s flavorful banana bread. Home cooks have often tried to replicate the recipe but the secret to its success is tightly guarded in the hotel’s pastry kitchen, where it is fresh baked daily. Alongside the banana bread, The Fredrico cocktail is synonymous with Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s Hau Tree Gazebo Bar. The hotel’s signature drink was invented in the 80s for a thirsty golfer – Fred – who wanted something tropical but not too sweet. Thus, The Fredrico combines tropical juices with Jack Daniels for an inexplicably delicious concoction that conjures up the Spirit of Aloha with each sip.
“What better way to experience a part of history than to taste the recipes created, invented, or perfected over the past two hundred years at Historic Hotels of America,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Vice President, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “These tastes of history, many created for a special event for presidents, world leaders, celebrities, special guests, and local events and celebrations are now part of our nation’s culinary heritage and culinary traditions. At Historic Hotels of America, learning about history can be fun, delicious, savory, sweet, and tasty.”
About Historic Hotels of America
Historic Hotels of America® is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing, celebrating, and promoting the finest historic hotels in the United States of America. To be nominated and selected for membership in this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historical significance. Of the more than 300 historic hotels inducted into Historic Hotels of America from 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, all historic hotels faithfully preserve their sense of authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity. For more information, please visit HistoricHotels.org