Raleigh’s downtown Marriott has become a local dining hotspot thanks to Rye, the hotel’s upscale, 250-seat restaurant that replaced a long-languishing Italian restaurant in late 2015.
Offering a modern twist on Southern comfort food, Rye delivers a menu of regional favorites such as Cheerwine Spareribs and Short Rib Mac and Cheese, as well as seasonal dishes like Fried Green Tomatoes featuring smoked pimento cheese and truffled honey pulled from beehives on the hotel’s roof.
The restaurant’s modern farmhouse interior, punctuated by 19-foot ceilings, includes four imposing, 700-pound barn doors that separate the open kitchen, dining room, and private-dining room. Cold-rolled steel, wine barrels, and chalkboards work in tandem to elevate and brand the environment.
According to Rye GM and executive chef Michael Rigot, the restaurant averages about 160 weekday lunch covers, a rare-to-find hotel industry tally that speaks to Rye’s elevated offerings. “From the menu to the design, we’re doing a lot of things that are far from average in hotels like ours,” Rigot says.
In a city known for its share of flavorful cuisine and high energy, 10-year-old Bleu continues carving out its own niche.
The 221-seat restaurant serves American fusion cuisine under the direction of Chef Ana Gonzalez, who puts a creative, local spin on American classics. There’s the popular Honey Truffle Seared Salmon and the Herb Crusted Filet Mignon, as well as the in-demand Bleu Burger, an 8-ounce black Angus burger topped with cheese, apple wood bacon, sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions—all of which guests can enjoy on a patio overlooking the flurried activity of downtown Memphis. Or they can choose to sit in the restaurant’s blue light–infused dining room.
For many, Chef Gonzalez says, Bleu has become both a beginning and an end for a night of adventure in the entertainment-fueled city, a stop before a game at the FedExForum or the nightcap following an evening of revelry on nearby Beale Street. “We’ve become a place to be,” she says, adding that the Bleu also hosts live music on Friday nights.
The Omni Chicago’s 676 has dazzled diners for more than a decade with sweeping views of the lively Michigan Avenue strip and an open kitchen that produces an interactive breakfast buffet and prompts frequent conversations between diners and kitchen staff.
“It’s all about being approachable and simple,” says executive chef Josh Hasho.
The 120-seat restaurant’s menu, which shifts every three to five months, leverages Midwest-produced goods, including produce, dairy, eggs, and proteins, plus local fish such as walleye and bluegill.
“That creates some challenges,” Hasho admits, “but helps us tell a rich story.”
The restaurant also claims an extensive cheese and charcuterie program, with many of the meats cured in-house, a Midwestern microbrew–focused bar program, and a rooftop terrace that hosts guest seating in addition to a garden that supplies the kitchen team with ingredients, ranging from the commonplace (lemon thyme) to the rare (Johnny Jump-Ups).
After roughly 20 years as the stable City Dock restaurant, Sheraton Norfolk management created an entirely new restaurant this year, as part of the hotel’s $12 million renovation. The result is the Waterside Seafood Company, an upscale concept designed to keep pace with the dynamic evolution of the adjacent Waterside District and its array of foodservice offerings, which includes a smokehouse concept from celebrity chef Guy Fieri.
Opened in August, the 100-seat Waterside Seafood Company focuses on traditionally prepared Southern classics and beautiful presentations. Popular dishes include fried green tomatoes with roasted red pepper relish and goat cheese, a seafood bouillabaisse, pecan-crusted grouper, and a deconstructed key lime pie.
Guests can dine on the restaurant’s waterfront patio or in the dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Elizabeth River. “People feel a sense of renewal being on the water, and that’s something beautiful we can give them alongside some wonderful food and drinks,” says Martha Fraser, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing.
A refined, upscale diner reminiscent of Hot Shoppes, the family restaurant that launched the Marriott brand in 1927, Anthem delivers farm-to-table cuisine in a dramatic, nostalgic venue featuring pops of vibrant red hues against its largely white backdrop.
Calling upon its Hot Shoppe heritage, Anthem features a nine-seat diner countertop as well as original artwork and historical photos of the Hot Shoppe heyday, though executive chef Matthew Morrison is quick to note that Anthem is not a Hot Shoppe re-creation.
That, of course, becomes evident with a look at Morrison’s ambitious menu, which is dominated by fresh ingredients from the farms of Maryland and Virginia as well as the Atlantic Ocean. The 3-year-old, 180-seat restaurant’s menu includes a mix of go-to favorites and seasonal items ranging from a Chicken Waffle Sandwich and Seared Virginia Rockfish to Skuna Bay Salmon.
“Refined yet approachable,” says Morrison, who adds that a steady stream of repeat diners serves as testament to Anthem’s perception-shattering food and service.
Amid the Adirondacks of upstate New York, the Courtyard transformed its former grab-and-go bistro into Peak 365, a polished, 70-seat full-service restaurant that debuted this summer.
Delivering a warm, yet modern mountain feel, Peak 365 features brown butcher paper on its tables—servers write their name on the paper to build familiarity with guests—as well as two chalkboards, one communicating daily specials and another showcasing the restaurant’s local draft beers and handcrafted cocktails. Old Tiffany–style lights hover over booths, and recycled wine bottles find a second life as water glasses.
“You don’t get bored sitting in here,” confirms Taylor Hall, general manager of Courtyard Lake George.
While the breakfast menu largely relies on the standards, items such as the Croque Madame and the Apples & Ice Cream French Toast highlight the eatery’s culinary flair. “Peak 365 is giving our guests a reason to stay on property rather than head somewhere else in Lake George,” Hall says.