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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!

  • 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.

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The Jefferson Hotel to Host John Mariani’s How Italian Food Conquered the World Dinner

Secondary Menu

For Immediate Release
May 3, 2011

Contact: Jennifer Crisp, Public Relations Manager
804-283-1594
Email: je[email protected]

The Jefferson Hotel to Host John Mariani’s How Italian Food Conquered the World Dinner

Meet and Mingle with Esquire’s Food and Travel Correspondent at Five-Course Dinner and Book Signing June 22!

RICHMOND, Va. (May 3, 2011) --- On Wednesday, June 22, The Jefferson Hotel will welcome Esquire magazine’s renowned food and travel correspondent John Mariani for a special evening of authentic Italian fare and wine in honor of his new book, How Italian Food Conquered the World (ISBN 978-0-230-10439-6). Following a welcome reception at 6:30 p.m. in The Rotunda, guests will be ushered into The Jefferson Hotel’s magnificent Empire Room to enjoy a five-course dinner expertly prepared by Lemaire executive chef Walter Bundy, TJ’s executive chef James Schroeder, banquet executive chef Patrick Ehemann and pastry chef Sara Ayyash. Personalized copies of Mariani’s book will be available for purchase at $25 each. The cost of dinner with wine is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 804-649-4629.  An Evening with John Mariani Package is also available and includes deluxe overnight accommodations, two tickets for the dinner event, dinner gratuities, valet parking and a copy of Mr. Mariani’s book at the rate of $395 per couple, plus tax.  Reservations can be made at 800-424-8014 for this culinary travel experience.

The menu exemplifying How Italian Food Conquered the World includes the following:

First Course
Trio of Brushetta: Pure di Fave Fresche, Jamerson Farms Coniglio and Hanover Tomato Caponata

 Second Course
Chesapeake Bay soft-shell crab with three bean salad, capers, pickled okra and roasted pepper puree

 Third Course
Ricotta gnocchi with local pancetta, asparagus, grated farm eggs and shaved Parmesan served family style

 Fourth Course
Braised pork cheek with white wine and lemon on Carolina Gold rice and braised cabbage

 Fifth Course

Semifreddo al Torrone

John Mariani is a columnist for Esquire Magazine, Bloomberg News and Cowboys and Indians. In addition to his newest book, How Italian Food Conquered the World, Mariani’s other works include The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, The Dictionary of Italian Food & Drink and The Italian-American Cookbook, which he co-authored with his wife Galina. Mariani also publishes his own newsletter, the Virtual Gourmet Newsletter which is distributed weekly.

How Italian Food Conquered the World (ISBN 978-0-230-10439-6) is an entertaining gastronomical history of the cuisine of Italy and how it became the world’s most popular cuisine. Mariani takes readers on a journey through Europe and across the ocean to America – alongside the poor but hopeful Italian immigrants who slowly but surely won over the hearts and minds of Americans by way of their stomachs.

The Jefferson Hotel has been welcoming guests to downtown Richmond since 1895.  With 262 luxurious rooms and suites, The Jefferson Hotel is also home to Lemaire Restaurant, TJ’s Restaurant and a renowned Sunday Champagne Brunch.  It is a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and Historic Hotels of America and one of only 38 hotels and resorts in North America to earn both the Forbes (formerly Mobil) Five Star and AAA Five Diamond award.   For more information about The Jefferson Hotel, call 800-424-8014 or visit http://www.jeffersonhotel.com.

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