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One of the more pleasurable recent trends in fine dining is the emergence of restaurants with rooms—gastronomic destinations worth a bit of traveling, where you can simply slip away to one of a few well-appointed lodgings after the last course. Unfortunately, you had to go all the way to Europe, primarily the Cotswolds or France, where fancified pubs and petite auberges have become plentiful.
Gradually, though, the concept has spread to the U.S., starting a few years ago at Chicago’s Longman & Eagle (rooms from $95), a tough-to-reserve, nose-to-tail restaurant in Logan Square with a bustling whiskey bar on the ground floor and guest quarters above. Similarly, at four-year-old Brushland Eating House (rooms from $135), an “eating house” in New York’s Catskills, a dinner of pork schnitzel or hand-rolled pasta can be followed with a night in one of a pair of attached rooms, and the feel is old-world in the tradition of “small, simple, colonial eateries.”
At the Hotel Madrid (rooms from $199) in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, co-owner Andrei Mikhail didn’t set out to import the micro-inn model. “We’re about creating a full experience, whether it’s an over-the-top meal or inventive cocktails,” Mikhail says. But at some point during renovations to the 108-year-old building, “it just made sense to offer accommodations as well.” Thus the year-old spot offers two loftlike suites with private entrances, exposed ceilings, and private balconies above Bodegón, the always-booked Spanish restaurant downstairs. “The concept was to create a destination and make it available however a guest sees fit,” Mikhail explains.
The trend seems to have gone national. At Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, Restaurant and Hotel (rooms from $299) in Philadelphia’s Fishtown, four suites outfitted with vintage rugs and vaulted skylights sit inside a 19th-century bottling plant. In 2014, as Mulherin’s owners were building what is now a popular Italian restaurant for the space, they “formed a deep connection to the building,” explains co-founder Randall Cook. “We only felt we could tell a portion of the story with the restaurant alone, and the rooms would share our affinity.” And perhaps tempt them to stay the night—or two.