We are always looking for recipes and restaurants that serve outstanding Cape Cod seafood not only on the Cape but all over the U.S. and throughout the world. Over the years the Cape Cod Room at the grand Drake Hotel on the Miracle Mile in Chicago epitomized Cape Cod cuisine. For over 80 years this restaurant was a Cape Cod mecca in the city of Chicago. The restaurant, just as the name implies, had a Cape Cod theme with wooden beams and nautical tchotchkes hanging throughout the restaurant. The Cape Cod Room at the Drake Hotel was consistently selected by the leading food critics as one of the top hotel restaurants in the country.
Since its opening in 1933, the Cape Cod Room was the preferred seafood restaurant for celebrities visiting Chicago. Over the years some of its famous guests included Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, and many more. In fact the wooden bar in the restaurant has the initials of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio carved in it by the couple on the day they were married in 1954.
Legend has it that during the 1960 campaign, candidate John F. Kennedy and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had lunch at the Cape Cod Room. JFK had the clam chowder. Kennedy was believed to have told Mayor Daley that the clam chowder was good but his favorite was still Mildred’s Chowder House’s clam chowder in Hyannis. Mildred’s closed in the 1980’s.
Unfortunately, the Cape Cod Room has been permanently closed since the Drake Hotel is in the process of being renovated. The Cape Cod Room served its last meal on New Year’s Eve of 2016. The Drake Hotel is not scheduled to reopen until 2019.
In tribute to the Cape Cod Room we are highlighting one of its signature dishes with our own Cape Cod recipe. If you missed it earlier, here’s the recipe for Mildred’s Chowder House’s Clam Chowder, JFK’s favorite. Enjoy!!!
Mildred’s Clam Chowder
2 cups quahogs or clams, with their juice
3 oz. salt pork, diced (or substitute bacon)
1 chopped onion
2 diced medium potatoes
2 cups boiling water
3 cups whole milk
1 cup cream
1 tsp.. salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Add salt pork (bacon) and chopped onions, and saute till golden brown. Drain the clams, setting aside the juice. Clean and chop the clams and add to pork and onions. Parboil the potatoes for 5 minutes and add to the clams. Cover with 2 cups boiling water and simmer until the potatoes are done. Scald the milk and cream together. Heat clam juice and add it slowly to the hot milk. Now pour the milk over the clam and potato mixture. Remove from heat.. Add butter and black pepper. Serve with common/oyster crackers if desired.
A delicious gift for any occasion – Anniversaries, Birthdays, Holidays, or just to say Thank You, is a Gift Certificate from these great Cape Cod Restaurants. https://www.capecodrestaurants.com/info/gift_certificates.php