Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Camellia House Restaurant in The Drake Hotel, Chicago. (1940-1977) including the Original Camellia House Salad Dressing Recipe.

The Internationally famous Camellia House restaurant of Chicago's distinguished lakeside Drake Hotel. Traditionally one of the city's finest Supper Clubs. It featured superb cuisine and service in accompaniment to dancing, songs, and entertainment by artists from Europe to the Orient.  
Syracuse China dinnerware was designed by Dorothy Draper for the Camellia House restaurant in Chicago's Drake Hotel. First produced in 1940, this beautiful pattern was made with different colors accents (the ring on this plate). Postcards of the Camellia House from the 1960s show this pattern on tables. The Drake Hotel retired these in the late 1960s.

In the 1940s and 50s, the restaurant hosted an in-restaurant live radio show (on AM radio, of course) with music and a talk show. It was THE place to host weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties, baby showers, sweet-16 birthdays, and gatherings of all types. The stage was beautiful and the dancefloor was hoppin'.

I personally dined there many times in the late 1960s and early '70s. It was my Mom's favorite restaurant. Although it was excessively pricy, the food and service were 5-star and worth every penny. The Drake Hotel's famous seafood restaurant, the "Cape Cod Room," closed in 2016.

By Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

The Original Camellia House, Salad Dressing Recipe:
  • 3 medium whole eggs
  • 1½ - 2 Tbsp. Coleman's dry mustard powder
  • 1 dash (< 1/8 tsp) ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 2 oz. hot water
  • 1 qt. corn oil
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined (or use a processor to mix).
Store tightly covered at room temperature.

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