An Old Harvey House!
In Winslow, Arizona there is the most amazing hotel that was built in 1930 to host (and feed!) travelers on the Santa Fe Railway.
In 1997 the beautiful building was re-opened as a hotel and restaurant. When you step through the doors of The Turquoise Room, it's a reminder of the days when The Harvey Girls waited on tables in their white aprons and black bowties.
A Restaurant with Waitress History!
The photo on the left shows traditional Harvey Girls, dressed to serve at Fred Harvey's Hotels and restaurants scattered along the western railroads, starting in 1875. When La Posada opened in 1930, the Winslow Harvey Girls were allowed to break the uniform rule. Mary Colter, the progressive woman who designed the hotel, insisted on dressing the waitresses in colorful, desert themed aprons!
Martini Lounge First
While staying a night at La Posada in April, Don and I got to experience a little Harvey House dining in the year 2014. We started the evening with a little train-viewing behind the hotel at sunset. Then we moved into the Martini Lounge, just off The Turquoise Room. (We had some wonderful margaritas, actually) The lounge décor was a bit more modern than the dining room. The leather bar stools were the most comfortable ever! Bartender, Cameron was fun and chatty, with his stories of growing up in Winslow where his dad was a 5th generation Santa Fe conductor. There were interesting old photos and a muted TV playing a Turner Classic Movie. I hate bar TVs, but I am a huge TCM fan.
The Peaceful Dining Room
From our comfy booth, Don and I had a good view of the room and the passing trains through the windows. We tried to imagine this place bustling during peak years. We dined late on a weeknight in April, so there were only a few other tables. But during WWII, 3,000 meals were served a day. Troops picnicked on the hotel lawn on the way to war and in the corner of the dining room, a Spam Room was added, where sandwiches were made around the clock.
A Colorful Room!
From our table we stared out at the dining room trying to imagine what was old and new. Actually, very little of the original interior remains. After closing in the 1950's, the hotel was gutted and partially used as office space. In 1997, La Posada was rescued from demolition by the current owners who have been restoring it ever since. Much research and patience went into recreating an authentic interior, while adding "new" accents that tie in with the past. The Navajo rugs and Mexican chairs were similar to the original décor. But the more modern glass panels incorporated the same patron saints that Mary Colter used when she first designed La Posada.
I sometimes talk less about restaurant food than I do people and décor, but this food was amazing. We started with a soup and appetizer. This Signature Soup was picture and taste perfect! Half creamy sweet corn and half spicy black bean, then signed TR, with spicy chile cream!!
Appetizer by the Hopi!
I couldn't believe they had Piki Bread on the menu. Don and I were given some Piki Bread by our guide when we visited the Hopi Reservation a few years ago. We know the difficult process of making this bread! And here we were eating this Hopi-made, delicate treat with hummus, made with Hopi-grown seeds and veggies! The hummus was rich and creamy with beans and roasted corn and a generous sprinkling of sunflower seeds! What a surprise!
Crispy Pork Carnitas
Don was pretty thrilled with this southwestern dish! The pork was served on a bed of black beans, with a red chile sauce and topped with mango salsa! The creamy polenta and grilled veggies were quite yummy.
Chicken and Tamale!
My chicken was grilled with the skin and an attached drumstick and served with a green chile, tomatillo sauce. Just look at that sweet corn tamale! I had to share a few bites of that and it was hard. Of course I had black beans and veggies too and did I even mention the scrumptious assortment of breads?
Our Harvey Girl
I kind of loved it that the servers were wearing white aprons like the old Harvey Girls! Julie said this wasn't the first time someone had asked to take her picture. We did notice a waiter in the dining room and he was not wearing an apron with ruffles. He would get lots of picture offers if he did.
Hope to Return
We left stuffed. It was nice to just stroll down the hall to our room at the hotel. We didn't get a chance to try breakfast or lunch, but we hope to come back. La Posada is worth the drive from Texas!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.