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Toasting at The Immigrant restaurant in Kohler, Wisconsin

Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana

Dine Here: 5 Historic Gems in the Midwest

By: Samantha Crespo

Courtesy of The Immigrant Restaurant
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  • States:
    Illinois
    Michigan
    Wisconsin
    Ohio
    Indiana

When a wonderful meal is served in grand, historic surroundings, it becomes even more memorable.

These five historic hotels of America in the Midwest region offer the best of both worlds — restaurants with delicious, innovative cuisine and a fascinating look at American history.

1. The Immigrant Restaurant at The American Club

Almost a century ago, Walter Kohler, himself the son of an immigrant, built a Tudor-style village along Kohler, Wisconsin’s Sheboygan River for his immigrant workers. Today, The American Club is part of a village known for world-class golf, fine dining at The Immigrant Restaurant and popular festivals. Look for Wisconsin artisanal cheeses on the restaurant’s menu, and plan to attend the Festival of Beer in May or the Food & Wine Experience in October.

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2. Orchids at Palm Court at Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

In Cincinnati, Ohio’s vibrant, friendly downtown is an Art Deco gem, the 1931 Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. Here, Brazilian rosewood panelling and immense ceiling murals provide visual interest while executive chef Todd Kelly creates award-winning cuisine at the hotel’s Orchids at Palm Court restaurant. Courses might feature roasted venison served with chestnuts and winter squash.

This tender lobster salad is on the menu at Orchids at Palm Court at Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.

This tender lobster salad is on the menu at Orchids at Palm Court at Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.
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3. 1875: The Steakhouse at French Lick Springs Hotel

For 170 years, guests have come to the French Lick Springs Hotel to rest and rejuvenate in gilded surroundings, near the beautiful Hoosier National Forest in French Lick, Indiana. Now, with spas and golf — as well as 1875: The Steakhouse — there’s even more reason to come. In the restaurant’s open kitchen, chefs prepare dry-aged steaks of premium Midwest beef and side dishes such as sweet Indiana corn simmered in cream.

Inside 1875: The Steakhouse at French Lick Springs Hotel in French Lick, Indiana

Inside 1875: The Steakhouse at French Lick Springs Hotel in French Lick, Indiana
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4. Lockwood Restaurant at Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel

In the heart of downtown Chicago, Illinois, a quick walk from the Art Institute of Chicago, visitors flock to the circa-1873 Palmer House. Reserve a table in the hotel’s Lockwood Restaurant for the prix fixe lunch — it includes a tour of the hotel with its resident historian, and a dessert brownie. According to legend, the dessert was invented in the hotel’s pastry kitchen for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair!

Lockwood Restaurant at Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel is set in the midst of downtown Chicago.

Lockwood Restaurant at Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel is set in the midst of downtown Chicago.
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5. Dining room at The Grand Hotel

The dining room of the 1887 Grand Hotel overlooks the Straits of Mackinac on the south shore of Mackinac Island, Michigan, a Victorian-era resort area where horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the only modes of transportation. In the evening, dress up for the five-course dinner, where Michigan wines and seasonal fruits are stars of the show (try the smoked duck breast with sour cherry jam).