Bismarck Dining Room

Street Address: 
171 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL

Culled from: Drury, John. Dining in Chicago, New York: The John Day Company, 1931, pp. 108-109.

Note: The Newberry Library holds the personal papers of author John Drury.

171 West Randolph Street

A bulwark of German culinary art in the theatrical district. Koenigsberger klops, Wiener schnitzel, German potato pancakes, Hamburger steak, pork shanks and sauerkraut, sauerbraten and kartoff el kloesse — all the appetizing and substantial dishes of the hardy Teuton await you in the dining room of this historic Randolph Street hotel. And every one of the items on the comprehensive menu bears the stamp of that incomparable German chef, Fritz Mattmueller, who has been with this establishment for over thirty-three years and who has maintained the same high standard of cooking during all this time.

For this reason, and several others, the Bismarck dining room has been the favorite rendezvous of German-Americans of all classes ever since the World's Fair in 1893. Here, also, all visiting German celebrities are entertained and banqueted — Dr. Hugo Eckener, the air pilot; Julius Meier Graefe, the art critic; Count Von Luckner, the sea devil; the German transatlantic flyers; German opera singers and stage stars; and visiting members of the German diplomatic corps, from the ambassador down.

The Bismarck dominates "German Square," as the intersection of La Salle and Randolph Streets, at the west end of the Rialto, has been nicknamed. German shops, steamship offices, and clubs are on every hand and everybody connected with them dines at the Bismarck. So do many of the officials from the City Hall nearby, as well as the theatrical stars.

Nowhere this side of Berlin can you find more charming examples of German modernist art, as applied to interior decoration, than in the main dining room of the Bismarck. Karl and Emil Eitel, who built the present hotel in 1927 on the site of the old Bismarck, imported from Germany many of the latest ideas and effects in restaurant ornamentation, with the result that all is restful, artistic, and novel in the main dining room. Its modernist decoration has plenty of curves to beguile the eye of the most hardened conservative, grown weary of squares and angles. Brass chandeliers made in Berlin depend from the ceiling; the walls are of hand-carved walnut; and Gobelin tapestries hang at each side of the mantel in the south wall. And at dinner you may dance to the music of Art Kassel's orchestra.

For real old-style peasant atmosphere, however, dine in the picturesque Dutch Room on the third floor. The same menu, with the same prices, is used in this room as in the dining room. Another interesting dinner place here is the Flamingo Room, done in vivid red and decorated with highly-polished brass work.

Maitre d'hotel: Otto Hurting




1931 - 1931



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