Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hotel Restaurants

1908 picture of the restaurant at the Hotel Selwyn

1970 ad

1972 ad

1972 interior picture of the Four Flames

1975 ad

1978 menu

1975 ad

1977 menu

1980 interior shots of Mortimer's (above two pictures)

1978 menu

1979 ad

1983 ad

1983 ad

Late-'80's ad

Spring 1988 ad

Spring 1991 ad (note the switch to an "American grill"-the end is near!)

1979 interior shot of Reflection's

1980 interior shot of Reflection's

1983 Reflection's staff photo

1984 ad

1985 ad

1982 ad

1983 interior shot of La Tache

1983 ad

1985 interior shot of La Tache

1985 ad

1988 ad (note the switch to "American Regional Cuisine"-the end is near!)

1984 ad

1985 ad

1988 ad

1989 ad

Above three ads all from 1991-92

1992 ad

As long as there have been hotels in Charlotte, there have been restaurants to accompany them. In the early days, these eateries were designed primarily for the ease and comfort of the hotel guests and did not typically have many local patrons. This began to change in the mid-60's when hotel restaurants were designed and geared more towards a regional clientele. Hotels became popular not only for their restaurants, but most also had a successful lounge as well.  

One of the early hot spots was the Four Flames restaurant located in the Downtowner East (there would also be a Four Flames added to the Downtowner by the Coliseum). With its accompanying Aztec lounge, the Four Flames not only provided a great meal, but also allowed for post-dinner dancing in the lounge.

During the mid-70's through the '80's, three of Charlotte's top restaurants were located in hotels--all with a French-inspired menu. The Marker at the downtown Sheraton, Reflections at the Radisson Plaza, and La Tache (which took the place of Mortimer's) at the Registry Inn all dominated the Charlotte fine dining scene. For a significant part of this time, La Tache was considered to be Charlotte's premier dining establishment. Towards the end of the '80's, the popularity of these restaurants began to wane, causing them to forgo the French cuisine for a more American-bistro approach.

The '90's would see a continuation of the hotel restaurant concept but with a slightly different approach. Instead of high-end restaurants in hotels (the one exception being Scalini at the Hyatt Charlotte), the restaurants became less formal and some tried to differentiate themselves with a theme (this would also be the beginning of the end of the popularity of area hotel restaurants). In the former location of Reflections opened Bravo! which featured an all-singing wait staff and at the Embassy Suites, Bobby McGee's had its staff dress as different literary characters. Once the novelty of the themes wore off though, the non-spectacular food would lead to their ultimate demise. 

Today, all of these restaurants are long gone. Just like a hundred years ago, the few hotels in town that actually still have a restaurant do so mainly for the convenience of their guests.

REVISIONS-- 8-2-2008

Original matchbooks (all courtesy of Robert McEwen)

December 1973 ad

1973 ad

1976 exterior shot

1978 ad

Late-70's ad

1980 ad

1982 ad

September 1985 ad

1985 ad

1986 ad

June 1987 ad

1988 shot of Southpark's Guest Quarters Hotel (which housed the Arbour Cafe)

1989 ad

REVISIONS 8-9-2008

Early-70's aerial photo of the Downtowner

1 comment:

  1. Rather interesting post, Pat.

    Two observations:

    1) Off topic -- the Rodeway had a "MAN'S ROOM!" That just sounds so corny!

    2) On topic -- I can't help but notice that the logo for The Marker at the Sheraton happens to be the same logo as Adam's Mark, and that the Sheraton converted into an Adam's Mark at some point. I tried doing a little digging around online, but haven't found anything that would suggest a prior relationship (but maybe I'm just not looking with the right terms).

    Any ideas?