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!
Thirteen 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.), Clinton 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.
Lemaire Restaurant Fact Sheet
101 West Franklin Street
The Jefferson Hotel
Richmond, VA 23220
Chef: Patrick Willis
Lemaire General Manager and Wine Director: Greg McGehee
Overview: The bar and lounge, décor, seating arrangements, menu, pricing and beverage program are all reflective of the goal to create a gathering place for the community and hotel guests that can be enjoyed any day of the week. The unique structure of the menu allows guests to customize their experience during each visit, from the small plates that can be shared with the table to the entrees that can be paired with any number of courses or ordered alone.
Food: The menu is inspired by a farm-to-table philosophy and the rich bounty of Virginia to create a classic American menu featuring locally grown ingredients and Southern influences. With small plates starting at just $5 and no entrée above $30, the menu offers extraordinary Virginia ingredients in an affordable and delicious format.
Beverage: An innovative cocktail program provides a versatile list of the classics each with a modern twist, many featuring a savory element and the same farm-to-table influences seen in the restaurant menu.
Guests will be delighted by the wine list of approximately 150 offerings, including a robust selection of bottles under $30 and more than 20 wines that can be ordered by the glass, half-bottle or quartino.
Décor: A rich mahogany and granite bar greets guests as they enter Lemaire’s spacious lounge. A muted color palette of golds, tans and creams in a variety of textures is accented with burnt orange and showcases the attention to detail in the finishes of the room. Bare wood tabletops and newly laid wood flooring provide additional warmth to the space.
The dining rooms feature beautifully restored historical architecture enhanced by magnificent lighting fixtures, hand painted faux finishes and inviting seating.
Seating: 130 seats with 22 additional seats at the bar
Group Dining: Groups of up to 60 guests can be accommodated for private dining. A full compliment of services is available, including audio-visual, florist and overnight rooms.
Parking: All guests of Lemaire receive complimentary valet parking accessible from the Franklin Street entrance or self-parking in the new Main Street parking lot.
Hours of Operation:
The bar and lounge is open daily at 4:00pm with service until last call.
Dinner is served daily from 5:00pm until 10:00pm.
An abbreviated menu is available from 4:00pm until 5:00pm and from 10:00pm until 12:00am.
Originally serving as the ladies’ parlor and then the private Rotunda Club, the first Lemaire Restaurant was introduced in 1986 and quickly became a Richmond dining tradition. Lemaire is named in honor of Thomas Jefferson’s White House maitre d’hôtel, who introduced Americans to the art of cooking with wine. A renovation in 2000 provided the addition of The Conservatory overlooking historic Franklin Street. A whimsical nod to the alligators who roamed the Palm Court lobby of The Jefferson until 1948 has been made in some unique ways, including the ties worn by the wait staff, the barstool upholstery and even the restaurant’s logo.