The Hotel Hershey Welcomes New Era of Dining with the Opening of The Circular

Iconic restaurant receives transformation, honors Milton S. Hershey, offers innovative menu, and celebrates 'cocktail culture'

Apr 23, 2013, 08:15 ET from Hershey Entertainment & Resorts

HERSHEY, Pa., April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today marks the opening of The Circular, Milton S. Hershey's iconic dining room at The Hotel Hershey in Hershey, PA. The newly designed restaurant, formerly known as the Circular Dining Room, celebrates the grandeur of a bygone era while keeping with what diners want today. It delivers a new menu featuring small plates, prime cuts of meat, local produce, irresistible desserts and innovative cocktails.

"Mr. Hershey was a man of reinvention. It is in this spirit that we undertook the careful transformation of one of the region's most regarded dining rooms," said John Daly, Director of Food & Beverage, The Hotel Hershey. "The new concept has been in the works for years and is the result of researching the room's original design, culinary trends and dining habits of today's consumer. Diners want a different experience than they did years ago and The Circular offers casual elegance with diverse dining options."

Design and Details
The restaurant retains its signature circular shape, which was Mr. Hershey's idea to eliminate obstructed views and avoid putting solo diners in corners. It also reflects many attributes of the original room built in 1933. At that time, the restaurant boasted a center dance floor serving as the room's hub. Today, the social focus of the room is around a central, circular bar with an interactive pastry kitchen. The tiles around the bar replicate those found at the room's entrance and the original lampposts have been recreated and incorporated into the new decor. A color scheme, much like that of the original, brings a renewed focus to the majestic stained glass windows overlooking The Hotel's formal gardens. All of the furniture, woodwork, lighting fixtures, sound system and carpet in The Circular were made in America, also a nod to Mr. Hershey - who sought American made products for his properties.

The Hotel Hershey partnered with Minneapolis-based Shea, Inc., a design firm that specializes in creating consumer experiences from brand to physical space through expertise in graphics, marketing, interior design and architecture. Shea has worked with a number of notable restaurant/hospitality, retail and commercial clients including Macy's, Sofitel Hotels and Rosa Mexicano.  

"In working with our partners at The Hotel Hershey, our goal was to transform the Circular Dining Room to better meet the way people dine out today, while retaining the grandeur and history of the room," said David Shea of Shea, Inc. "The result is a celebration of Mr. Hershey's original innovation in a newly energized space perfect for everyday or special occasion dining."

It's All About the Food
Serving breakfast, dinner and weekend brunch, the menu at The Circular features sharable appetizers such as Cocoa Dusted Maine Scallops (a longtime favorite), Mini Lamb Burgers, and Pretzel Crusted Rock Shrimp. Wild Mushroom Wellington, choice cuts of beef and fresh seafood round out the entree options. The Circular's highly-regarded culinary team is led by Executive Chef Ken Gladysz. It would not be Hershey without decedent desserts. Executive Pastry Chef Cher Harris introduces confections such as 'Sugar & Spike,' 'Double Scotch,' and classics like chocolate souffle. Each dinner guest will take home a salted caramel, a tribute to Mr. Hershey's first successful candy business.  

Cocktail Culture
Built during the Prohibition Era, the restaurant will feature beverages inspired by the 'cocktail culture' of that time. Made famous at speakeasies from the '20s and '30s, the cocktails at The Circular will celebrate this historic period in our country. Prohibition shaped many of the favored cocktails served today and The Circular's team of nine mixologists, led by Alisha Bird, a Certified Sommelier, will create vintage favorites with a modern twist. With names like 'Traveler,' 'Hemingway,' and 'Innovator,' The Circular's contemporary cocktails are also influenced by Mr. Hershey's love of travel. One-of-a-kind chocolate libations and an expansive wine list round out the offerings.

Signature Monogram
Great thought went into rebranding The Circular. Nationally known and award-winning letterer and illustrator Jessica Hische whose clients include filmmaker Wes Anderson, The New York Times, Tiffany & Co., and Penguin Books, crafted the elegant 'C' that serves as the signature monogram of the restaurant. "I grew up in Pennsylvania and know the history of The Hotel Hershey and its iconic restaurant. It was a pleasure to be part of the room's transformation," said Hische.

The Circular is the flagship restaurant at The Hotel Hershey, one of America's landmark hotels. The Forbes Four-Star, AAA Four-Diamond Hotel is a Virtuoso-exclusive property and a member of Historic Hotels of America.

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Hershey Entertainment & Resorts is proud to help fulfill the dream of our mutual founder, Milton S. Hershey, by supporting Milton Hershey School, the largest home and school in the world, as it continues to provide opportunities for children in need.

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