Hotel Statler: 1000 rooms, 1000 baths
The Statler in photos
The Main Dining Room
The Dining Room

While the lobby and kitchen took up the center of the ground floor, large areas on the hotel's Washington and Bagley sides were reserved for restaurants. The Main Dining Room took up the Bagley side. The Italian styled room measured 78 by 41 feet and was two stories. The dining room's ceiling was a shallow vault from which hung two heavy chandeliers. Along Bagley were five arched windows which were mimicked with mirrored false windows on the opposite wall. Between these windows were pairs of Corinthian pilasters. The north wall featured an entrance to the lobby and above that a musician's box. There was also an entrance to the elevator lobby.

The Cafe RougeRorimer made sure to use an identical decorative scheme with Detroit's dining room to the one he had used three years earlier in Cleveland. This allowed the company to used the same china, table cloths, and furniture in the two rooms. They could thus save money by buying in bulk.

The stunning dining room was a product of its time and would be a strictly formal place. The music was provided by a professional in-house orchestra. This despite the craze for cabarets. E.M. Statler felt cabarets were loud, vulgar, and were merely a passing fad.

Trader VicsThere was also a dress code. In order to be seated you had to dress in formal attire. On one occasion E.M. Statler and a friend came down to breakfast before a game of golf. Statler and his friend were not in their jackets and ties but were wearing plus-fours and sweaters. The head waiter, not realizing to whom he was speaking, told them they would have to get their jackets before he let them in. Statler didn't object and did as directed. Later he said to the manager, "Give that captain a raise. He's on the job."

In 1937, the dining room was reborn as the Cafe Rouge. The Cafe Rouge was still an elegant restaurant but it was less formal and more moderately priced then the new Terrace Room. As the Cafe Rouge this elegant space, with its decor given a red paint job, continued to serve patrons into the 1960's.

With renovations claiming the other elegant spaces of the ground floor, it was felt that the Cafe Rouge's time was up. The room was gutted and and floor installed through it. Trader Vic's, a Polynesian restaurant, was installed on the ground floor The Statler Rooms, a series of modern meeting rooms went in on the mezzanine.


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Copyright 2001, David Kohrman
Last updated on 11-14-01