The Chautauquan, winter 2014

The Athenaeum Hotel has announced major plans to improve the overall CHQ experience for all on the grounds this summer, with new dining options for hotel guests and the launch of a full-service restaurant.

In 2014, hotel rooms can be booked with or without a dining plan. Guests may choose to have lunch or dinner on their own, or keep the American Plan and enjoy all meals at the hotel. Guests choosing the new European Plan are still welcome to make reservations for lunch or dinner at the hotel when they arrive. The Athenaeum’s grand breakfast buffet will be available for all guests.

Additionally, the hotel’s current dining room will become a full-service restaurant—name to be announced at a later date—to hotel guests and other CHQ visitors for all three meals, with a renewed emphasis on affordability and speed of service. The new menu presents appetizers, entrées, salads, desserts and daily specials at lower prices, while keeping the same quality of food and farm-to-table influences. Menu highlights include Ginger Chicken Potstickers, Moroccan Chick Pea Stew, Roasted Green Heron Growers Chicken Breast and a Crispy Veal Schnitzel.

The hotel will also feature a new tapas and wine hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m. daily, allowing CHQ visitors to have a glass of wine and a snack before an evening performance. The tapas menu includes but is not limited to a Hummus and Rustic Tapenade, an Artisanal Cheese Plate, Mustard Glazed Pork Belly and Calamari.

According to General Manager Bruce Stanton, the recent changes are based on important feedback provided by recent guests and visitors while also addressing challenges that the Athenaeum Hotel has faced throughout its history.

“When I speak to my peers in the industry and try to explain what happens at CHQ each summer, I get some inquisitive looks and wide-ranging advice,” Stanton said. “Many in the industry see inherent challenges to opening multiple dining establishments with mostly seasonal staff for such a short duration.”

Chautauqua Hotel Company currently operates more than 10 different food venues on the grounds and is working to establish the Athenaeum as a top-tier venue for pre- and post-season special events, including weddings, rehearsal dinners, showers, brunches and conferences. A growing number of new and short-term visitors to CHQ every year means greater demand for a variety of dining options. This off-season, the hotel is also launching an improved preparation and training plan for summer hotel employees.

“Our staff understands that food is an important part of the overall CHQ experience, and all of our efforts are aimed at producing the best quality, variety and service for visitors,” Stanton said.