Savvy operators who run restaurants in hotels know they must find ways to get more than just tourists to visit their concepts. So they’re experimenting with a variety of dining formats and cuisines to lure locals and other nearby potential patrons away from other dining establishments. Here’s how some of the newest hotel-based restaurants and bars are working to attract a crowd beyond those staying upstairs.
1. Food hall meets hotel
The five-stall Showroom Food Hall at the new Marriott Marquis in Chicago is aiming to draw convention-goers from the nearby McCormick Place convention center. But operators hope the mix of a coffee counter and bar as well as stalls selling pizza, sandwiches and loaded potatoes will bring in neighborhood residents and area workers during all dayparts, especially as it sits in an area with few food options. The space includes table and counter seating, and all menu items are off-premise friendly as well, providing options for those looking to grab-and-go or sit a bit. One stall even has a nod to the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen, known for its Mexican community, with the This Little Piggy Went to Pilsen sandwich loaded with al pastor pork, pineapple hot sauce and achiote aioli.
2. An airy steakhouse
The description is in the name: Scotch 80 Prime. This new concept in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas is known for two things: prime steaks and a dedicated Scotch whisky program. But it’s not just the steakhouse menu catching attention from celebrities, tourists and locals alike, even earning a “new Vegas classic” mention from Las Vegas Weekly. The decor and footprint differ from the typical steakhouse in a casino, with an airy feel, large statement windows and patio space. The inspiration? The restaurant sits on part of 80 acres of land bought in the early 1900s by the city’s first mayor, and the menu features cocktails with local street names.
3. Tapping craftsmen for decor
The Lakehouse, inside the new W Hotel in Bellevue, Wash., attempts to gain favor with locals by leaning into the Pacific Northwest farmhouse vibe. It is made up of several nature-themed seating areas and plays up custom touches—such as plates handmade by a ceramic artist—to break free from its chain hotel provenance and provide a homey feel. A leather artisan custom-designs all of the aprons and menu covers, and a craftsman forges the steak knives. (As a retail tie-in, the artisan-made items are also available for sale in the restaurant.)
4. Craft cocktails—by prescription
The RX Lounge in the Hotel Indigo in Birmingham, Ala., resides in an art deco building that was once a medical office and apothecary. The bar plays up the space’s history with decor of beakers and themed bar tools, and bartenders often wear white coats. The menu follows suit, with classic and prohibition-era cocktails divided into categories such as “stimulants,” “aphrodisiacs” and “inhalation therapy” (aka smoked cocktails). Those smoked cocktails provide a bit of eatertainment, crafted in lab-like tools at the bar.