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Did You Know?

  • The Jefferson Hotel was supposed to open on November 1, 1895, but at the last minute it was realized that November 1 was a Friday, and it was considered bad luck to start anything on a Friday. So the hotel was opened on Halloween instead.

  • From the time the hotel opened until 1937, rooms were just $1.50 per night.  A room with a private bath was $1 more per night.

  • The Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the hotel in 1949 cost $2.50.

  • When Elvis stayed at the hotel in 1956, he brought his own television and the hotel manager was shocked that Elvis ate his bacon with his fingers.

  • In the mid 1950s, the hotel had a pink limousine to drive guests throughout the city.

  • The Jefferson has been in several movies including My Dinner with Andre (1981), First Kid (1996), HBO's Ironed Jawed Angels (2004), The American President (1995) and the recently discovered Rock and Roll Hotel (early 1980's).

  • Alligators once resided in marble pools in the Palm Court Lobby.  Richmonders would vacation in Florida and bring the baby alligators home as pets.  As they outgrew sinks and bathtubs, residents would bring them to live at The Jefferson.  Tour the hotel’s public area and see how many alligators you can find today!

  • Twelve US Presidents, including Harrison, McKinley, Wilson, Coolidge, Taft, both Roosevelts (Theodore and Franklin Delano), Truman and Reagan, both Bushes (George H. W. and George W.) and Obama have been guests at The Jefferson Hotel.

  • Legend says that Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was discovered by his life-long agent while dancing across the dining room at The Jefferson Hotel. 

  • Frank Sinatra once entertained guests in Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel with an impromptu performance after enjoying his dinner.

  • Artifacts from over a century of the hotel’s history are housed in a museum at the bottom of The Grand Staircase, including a photo of Elvis at the hotel's old lunch counter.

  • The priceless statue of Thomas Jefferson that stands watch over the Palm Court lobby has only left his post on one occasion.  In the 1902 hotel fire, he was rescued from the building only to have his head bumped on the cobblestones.  He took a brief vacation to Edward Valentine’s art studio where his head was reattached.

  • The Grand Staircase at The Jefferson Hotel has long been rumored to be the staircase featured in the iconic film, Gone with the Wind.

  • The Jefferson Hotel is often cited as one of the finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture still in existence today.

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Executive Chef



Walter Bundy
Executive Chef

From an early age, Walter Bundy’s experiences on the Piankatank River in the Chesapeake Bay instilled in him a reverence for indigenous ingredients. His summers were filled with profound culinary experiences, from eating fresh fish and crabs pulled from the river by his own hand to helping his grandmother in the kitchen as she baked pies from heirloom recipes. The family garden was prolific with everything from cucumbers to tomatoes and squash, and hunting trips with his father completed the earth-to-table eating that was simply their way of life. Bundy took his rich culinary heritage with him when he left home for Hampden-Sydney College, and he was fortunate to live on a country farm where hunting was plentiful. He took to cooking wild game for friends and family, and the connection between the land and the kitchen further strengthened his commitment to entertaining with locally informed cuisine.

While in college, Bundy helped open The Blue Point Restaurant on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The restaurant continues to be known for its “Southern coastal cuisine” and its use of the freshest local ingredients. After graduation, he was exposed to a whole new palette of flavors when a move to Santa Fe, New Mexico brought him to work at Mark Miller’s Coyote Café. Inspired by the variety of unfamiliar ingredients and flavor profiles, Bundy decided to enroll in the New England Culinary Institute.  A desire to learn about wine subsequently brought him to the Napa Valley, where he worked with renowned chef Thomas Keller at the legendary French Laundry.

In 2002, Bundy was one of the featured chefs at the James Beard House in New York, and in the same year he presented a dinner for renowned New York chef Daniel Boulud. In 2003, Chef Bundy was the guest chef for The Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Gala dinner held in Virginia Beach. Bundy also participated in an offsite James Beard Dinner held at Todd Jurich’s Bistro in Norfolk, Virginia. In 2004, chef Bundy appeared on Food Network’s Food Nation with Bobby Flay and also appeared as a guest chef for a dinner to promote Patrick O’ Connell’s The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook.

Bundy was named executive chef at Lemaire in May 2001. As a native Virginian, he is committed to providing upscale Southern cuisine that showcases the bountiful seasons of the area. The menu honors the local influences of Richmond and reflects the accommodations the Jefferson Hotel-classic presentation informed by the environs. Every spring and fall, Bundy creates a wine dinner that celebrates the Virginia wines that receive the distinguished Gold Medal Award, and he is heavily involved with local charities and non-profit organizations such as the SPCA, Tuckahoe Women’s Club, Ducks Unlimited, Maymont Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis, Steward School, and St. Christopher’s School.

 

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