Helpful ReplyHot!Surviving "Duncan Hines Family" Restaurants

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JRPfeff
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2016/04/29 23:38:07 (permalink)

Surviving "Duncan Hines Family" Restaurants

The restaurants listed in Duncan Hines' Adventures in Good Eating were considered part of the "Duncan Hines Family" and invited to a big-city banquet each year. Hines recommended over 9,000 restaurants in his published guidebooks from 1936 to 1961. Only a handful of these "Recommended by Duncan Hines" restaurants survive. 
 
The thread that Ketteract started inspired me to search for a definitive list of the remaining restaurants, but I came up empty. As the saying goes, when the going gets rough, the Roadfooders get going.
 
A CHALLENGE
 
Find a vintage Adventures in Good Eating book by Mr. Duncan Hines (HINT - Here are links to online copies of the 1945 and 1959 versions) and identify any remaining restaurants recommended by Duncan. I’ll list them here and we will create the definitive list I was looking for.
 
It is actually pretty easy. I purchased a 1948 version of the guide and scanned through the Wisconsin listings. I was immediately able to identify five restaurants that are still in operation. Take a look at your state or region and see what you can find.
 
Just Do It. (Swoosh)
 
Remaining recommended restaurants are listed below – 10 states per post.
 
As information is learned about the restaurants, the following codes will be added to the entries to provide the current status:
DHR - Maintains "Duncan Hines Recommended" Standards
NR - Not Recommended
TM - Traditional Menu
OX - Restaurant on original 1935 Christmas list
DC - Different cuisine than recommended restaurant
NN - New Name
NL - New Location
BB - Currently operating as a Bed & Breakfast
VO - Venue Only
 
HONOR ROLL OF THE DUNCAN HINES ORIGINALS
One of the things that has captured my interest from the various lists is that several of the 164 restaurants first recommended by Duncan Hines in his 1935 Christmas card list remain in operation. My final count is 37, or about a 23% survival rate after 80 years. Some of the names and locations on the list are a bit off, but I think Duncan was using the best information or memory at that time since he was not charging for the info. Six of the originals are now B&B's.
 
I provide the list of these surviving originals here for convenience.
 
Now go eat at one of them.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2017/05/26 10:12:33
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JRPfeff
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/29 23:38:21 (permalink)
 
Alabama
Alaska
 
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
 
 
 
post edited by JRPfeff - 2016/07/10 16:38:30
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/29 23:38:36 (permalink)
HawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansas
 
KentuckyLouisianaMaineMaryland
post edited by JRPfeff - 2017/09/19 14:08:09
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JRPfeff
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/29 23:38:51 (permalink)
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
  • Grand View Lodge, Brainerd
  • Hungry Jack Inn, Grand Marias
  • Lowell Inn, Stillwater
  • Lutsen Resort, Lutsen
  • Kahler Hotel, Rochester
  • National Forest Lodge, Ely
  • Rustic Inn, Two Harbors
  • Ruttger's Lodge, Deerwood
Missouri
  • Barn Inn, St. Albans - OX, BB
  • McDonald Tea Room, Gallatin
  • The Old Tavern, Arrow Rock
Mississippi
  • Weidmann's, Meridian
Montana
  • New Sacajawea Inn, Three Forks
  • Union Pacific Dining Room, West Yellowstone
Nebraska
  • Petrow's, Fremont
Nevada
  • The Grand Cafe, Reno
New Hampshire
  • Hanover Inn, Hanover
  • Lamie's Tavern, Hampton
  • Loch Lyme Lodge, Lyme
  • Lovett's Inn, Franconia
  • Mountain View House, Whitefield
  • Spalding Inn, Whitefield
New Jersey
 
 
 
 
post edited by JRPfeff - 2017/09/10 18:49:53
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JRPfeff
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/29 23:39:04 (permalink)
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina 
North Dakota
 
Ohio
Oklahoma
 
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
post edited by JRPfeff - 2017/09/10 19:18:53
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/29 23:39:19 (permalink)
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
 Wyoming
post edited by JRPfeff - 2017/09/10 19:27:30
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ann peeples
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/30 11:06:37 (permalink)
Thanks for your research, Jim.
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Louis
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/30 12:08:36 (permalink)
I am glad you are doing this.
 
For years the Park View Inn in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia was a Duncan Hines mainstay.  I ate there as recently as 2002.  Sometime since then it has changed its name to The Country Inn, but that seems to be the only change.  It's pretty much the same place that Duncan Hines knew in the 1930s.
 
http://www.thecountryinnwv.com/#!restaurant/cv81
 
 
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Louis
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/30 12:15:13 (permalink)
The Greenbriar resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia was long a Duncan Hines destination.  It still has its elegance to this day, although since the 1930s they have added a few more restaurants to the complex.
 
http://www.greenbrier.com/Dining/The-Restaurant-Collection
 
 
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Louis
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/30 12:28:37 (permalink)
In Louisville, Kentucky there is the Brown Hotel, which was a Duncan Hines recommended stop.  It has been a roadfood.com recommendation for years.
 
http://www.brownhotel.com/
 
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Louis
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/30 12:44:29 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby JRPfeff 2016/04/30 18:51:58
I'm only going to mention this restaurant because it has been ignored as a roadfood destination for as long as the Roadfood website has been in existence--although quite a few Roadfooders have been here.  Let me make my case first.
 
In 1939 Duncan Hines discovered a restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky that served fabulous fried chicken.  This chicken was cooked in a iron skillet.  It was called Sanders Court and Cafe and was operated by Harlan and Claudia Sanders.  When the restaurant closed in the early 1950s, Harlan Sanders went on the road, selling the materials that made up this fried chicken recipe to restaurants; the only difference was that a pressure cooker had been added to replace the iron skillet.  The recipe eventually was transformed into the Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food chain in 1962.
 
Harlan Sanders took the money he made from his franchise sale and created a restaurant for his wife to operate near Shelbyville, Kentucky which was named Claudia Sanders' Dinner House.  It is still in existence.  And here's why I think this restaurant might be included in this list, even though it is not geographically correct.  Claudia Sanders' Dinner House serves the skillet-cooked fried chicken recipe that Duncan Hines first discovered in 1939.
 
I'm not going to insist on it, but if the rules for inclusion on this list could be stretched a bit, I'd like to nominate it.
 
http://claudiasanders.com/
 
post edited by Louis - 2016/04/30 12:48:05
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JRPfeff
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/30 13:11:01 (permalink)
Louis,

As long as you don't try to persuade me to include KFC, I think we'll be OK.
 
I think location or name changes are acceptable, as long as there is some firm connection to the original restaurant (especially in this case with the ties to the Colonel and to Duncan). Even menu changes can be justified if the quality remains high. The food we eat has changed significantly in the last 80 years.
 
I think a tougher issue is listed restaurants that keep the same name and location, but have had a big drop-off in quality. These are places that Duncan would have eliminated from his guides. I think I will add a note to these listings describing how things have degraded.

Jim
post edited by JRPfeff - 2016/04/30 14:17:18
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JRPfeff
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/30 14:19:54 (permalink)
Louis,
 
Were Bern's Steakhouse and Commander's Palace ever part of the Duncan Hines Family? The reason I ask is that both restaurants still make a big deal of offering kitchen tours to their guests.
 
Jim
post edited by JRPfeff - 2016/04/30 14:58:10
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Louis
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/30 19:21:49 (permalink)
Jim, I endorse your approach to listing these restaurants.  There are a LOT of restaurants that Duncan Hines recommended that he would not set foot in today; their standards are just too low.
 
As to Kentucky Fried Chicken, when Duncan Hines died in 1959, the chain didn't even exist.  So I think we're safe there.  Besides, the KFC recipe has been so watered down since from what I ate there 46 years ago that it's only a ghost of what it was in its pressure cooker incarnation.  What you get at Claudia Sanders' Dinner House is both the recipe and style of preparation (pan fried) that Duncan Hines experienced.
 
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Louis
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/30 20:06:24 (permalink)
Commander's Palace is listed in the 1961 edition of Adventures in Good Eating (p. 136).  The guidebook says, "This is one of New Orleans' historic old places.  Specialties: Soft shell turtle stew, crabmeat Imperiale, stuffed flounder.
 
I went through guidebooks from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and could find nothing for Bern's Steakhouse.
 
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Louis
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/04/30 20:15:53 (permalink)
I think the Middlebury Inn in Middlebury, Vermont should be included on the list.  It was in some of Duncan Hines' first guidebooks in the mid-1930s.  From what I can tell, their restaurant seems to be carrying on the quality that Hines was recommending to weary travelers.
 
http://www.middleburyinn.com/
 
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/01 05:50:09 (permalink)
@JRPfeff, I am loving your thread, and wanted so much to make a North Carolina contribution for my home state, but came up empty handed. I did find one reference to a restaurant in Louisiana, where I have family and history. Galatoire's was in operation during Duncan Hine's touring time, we know he was in that state, and the restaurant still exists. I don't own the books to verify this, but perhaps it may qualify for the Louisiana listing?
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Louis
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/01 08:08:06 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ThanksfortheCrepes 2016/05/02 02:57:10
Galatoire's is still going strong.  It is listed in the 1930s editions and every edition afterward.
 
http://www.galatoires.com/home
 
post edited by Louis - 2016/05/01 08:10:50
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JRPfeff
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/01 08:43:18 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ThanksfortheCrepes 2016/05/02 02:56:57
ThanksfortheCrepes,
 
I am happy to hear that you are enjoying this thread. I'm enjoying researching and writing this.
 
I have a feeling that most of the 80+ year old restaurants in New Orleans were listed in Duncan's books. They have such a great dining tradition and high standards there. To survive that long in New Orleans you have to be one of the best.
 
It isn't easy to pull restaurants out of the air, but when you get a copy of a guidebook you'll have some "of course" moments and some "oh, really?" moments, too. When I looked through the NC listings, I found the Carolina Inn where my wife and I had dined. They certainly have maintained excellent food standards. I'm just not very familiar with the rest of the state.
 
Jim
 
 
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/01 16:06:30 (permalink)
Here is a list of restaurants from the 1945 issue of Adventures in Good Eating along with some information about each.
 
Outside Angola, Indiana there is the Potawatomi Inn in Pokagon State Park which has a restaurant associated with it. This restaurant is a park concession operated by a private business.
Near MItchell, Indiana is a similar operation, the Spring Mill Inn, at Spring Mill State Park.
Both of these restaurants associated with these parks are still in operation.
 
In downtown Nashville, Indiana is the Nashville House, known for their fried biscuits and apple butter. Not my first choice for a meal in Nashville, but the food is pretty good.
 
I have had some contact with a couple of listed Kentucky establishments over the years.
Ashland, Kentucky was the home of the Henry Clay Hotel and its restaurant. At the time that I was there, in 1968, the hotel was still operating and the basement had been leased to the U. S. Government for use as a military induction center. While I know they must have fed us lunch, I'm afraid that I don't remember anything about the meal. The hotel was closed and converted to an apartment house named the Henry Clay House in 1975.
 
Louisville, Kentucky was home to The Brown Hotel, known for the Hot Brown Sandwich. This hotel also closed, in 1971, and was used as an office building for several years before it was restored and reopened as a hotel in the mid 1980's. Now known as the Camberley Brown Hotel, it again serves the hot brown in its restaurants. While I never ate here, I had begun to plan a trip to have a hot brown back about 1980 until I discovered it had closed.
 
Battle Creek, Michigan had the restaurant in the Hart Hotel at one time. It too has fallen on hard times, and the hotel building is presently owned by the Church of Scientology.
 
Now for some good news. Zehnder's Restaurant in Frankenmuth, Michigan is still in business, and it is still in the hands of the family that started it. And Schuler's Restaurant in Marshall, Michigan is also still operating, with the 4th generation of the Schuler family in charge.
 
Lebanon, Ohio is the home of the Golden Lamb, still operating over 200 years since it opened.
 
Columbus, Ohio, was the home of Marzetti's Restaurant until it closed in 1972.
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/01 18:27:25 (permalink)
JRPfeff
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Indiana

I'll accept the challenge for Der Rathskeller and I've already eaten at both Potawatomi Inn and Spring Mill Inn, although I didn't know they were Hines-approved.
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/01 19:37:12 (permalink)
I'm surprised. I have been to 11 of those restaurants listed by JRPfeff.
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/01 22:37:18 (permalink)
We have been to the Golden Lamb in Lebanon, OH.  The food was not really memorable.
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/02 01:57:06 (permalink)
Louis
In Louisville, Kentucky there is the Brown Hotel, which was a Duncan Hines recommended stop.  It has been a roadfood.com recommendation for years.
 
http://www.brownhotel.com/
 


I was in Louisville last week and actually stayed at The Brown Hotel. I just couldn't bring myself to spend $22 for an open-faced turkey sandwich with a bunch of stuff on it that I am not sure I'd like. 
 
Come to think of it, I am not sure that I'd spend $22 on an open-faced turkey sandwich if it were piled high with macaroni and cheese and chocolate sauce. 
 
Wait. That doesn't sound good, either. I guess I meant that I wouldn't pay $22 for an open-faced turkey sandwich if it were topped with a bunch of things that I like more than that which tops a Hot Brown. 
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/02 02:38:23 (permalink)
My husband and I had a late-ish supper in the bar at the Brown Hotel a number of years ago.  We did recoil a bit at the price of the Hot Brown, but wanted to have the experience.  It was OK.  I've had much better Hot Browns elsewhere, including at the Science Hill Inn in Shelbyville http://www.sciencehillinnky.com/About-Us.html and the Greyhound Tavern in Fort Mitchell.  The latter used to be known as the Greyhound Grill. http://www.greyhoundtavern.com/greyhound-tavern-history.html
 
Are either of those in the Duncan Hines books? Both have been around forever.
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/02 03:15:09 (permalink)
JRPfeff
 
Louisiana

 
Yah! It was added to your list! 
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Louis
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/02 07:59:13 (permalink)
I stayed at the Brown Hotel two years ago.  I had the hot brown.  I found it to be very average.  Everything at the Brown was expensive, rooms as well as food.  Paying for two rooms for two days, I spent $1000, not including tax.  And then there was the food, which wasn't cheap.
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Louis
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/02 08:04:45 (permalink)
I couldn't find either Science Hill Inn or the Greyhound Tavern in any of my books.
 
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/02 08:53:42 (permalink)
I should go do the Middlebury Inn sometime. 
 
I've recently been to three places on the list:  Zehnder's, La Posada, and the Brown Hotel.   Zehnder's has seen better days, La Posada and the Brown Hotel are still awesome.
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Ralph Melton
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Re: Surviving Duncan Hines Family Restaurants 2016/05/02 12:17:43 (permalink)
I accept the challenge for the two Pennsylvania restaurants.
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