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Luke Restaurant, New Orleans

Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama

Dine Here: 4 Historic Gems in the Southeast

By: Samantha Crespo

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  • States:
    Georgia
    South Carolina
    Louisiana
    Alabama

The American South charms visitors with history and hospitality.

Relax on a wide porch after a day spent exploring cobblestoned streets and visiting preserved landmarks. Clink glasses and swap stories of great adventures in a new city. For dinner, choose one of these restaurants inside Historic Hotels of America, each with its own story.

1. Restaurant at The Smith House

Enter The Smith House restaurant through a gold mine shaft, a clue to Dahlonega, Georgia’s heyday. What you’ll find is that there are no reservations or even menus here. Instead, guests share tables and pass heaping plates of buttermilk fried chicken and creamy mashed potatoes, a staple here since 1922, when a room and a meal cost just $1.50 a day. It’s all part of The Smith House, a gracious inn that’s an easy drive from the mystic Appalachian Mountains or the cosmopolitan city of Atlanta.

Restaurant at The Smith House in Dahlonega, Georgia

Restaurant at The Smith House in Dahlonega, Georgia
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2. Lüke at Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Avenue

While exploring the culinary wonders of New Orleans, Louisiana, take the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar to the circa-1927 Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Avenue, just steps away from the city’s charming French Quarter. Admire the hotel’s elaborate façade and ornate grand foyer — and then dine at Lüke, reminiscent of the European brasseries that once dotted the city. You’ll experience chef John Besh’s passion for Louisiana cuisine, made from ingredients gathered from the restaurant’s farm, as well as briny Gulf oysters and plump Louisiana shrimp.

Lüke at Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana

Lüke at Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana
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3. Circa 1886 at Wentworth Mansion

In Charleston, South Carolina, a city that defines Southern hospitality and good food, the Wentworth Mansion (a former private residence, now an inn) offers a 21-room tribute to the city’s grand past — along with Circa 1886, where chef Marc Collins puts a fresh, healthy spin on classic South Carolina dishes (try the Carolina gold rice and popcorn cake, with succulent blue crab and rock shrimp). Find the restaurant in the mansion’s original carriage house, complete with the old stable doors and beautiful heart-of-pine floors.

Circa 1886 at Wentworth Mansion in Charleston, South Carolina

Circa 1886 at Wentworth Mansion in Charleston, South Carolina
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4. Trellis Room at The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa

This Mobile, Alabama, accommodation was built in 1852. Inside its Trellis Room restaurant, a show kitchen and cathedral Tiffany glass ceiling will have your attention — at least until the food arrives (try savory Gulf shrimp scampi or the Alabama lump crab cake served with garlic aoli). After your meal, walk along sparkling Mobile Bay beneath swaying palms.

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