Happy Birthday Congress Hall

Happy Birthday Congress Hall

You’re all about the neighborhood when you grow up in Philadelphia. So when our neighbor Congress Hall, announced they were throwing a party we had to wish them happy birthday.


What’s a birthday celebration without a special dinner? America’s oldest seaside resort, Congress Hall, in Cape May, NJ is celebrating its 200th anniversary this summer with historical family style dinners featuring dishes inspired by local ingredients and menu items which were available to hotel patrons during the first 100 years of the hotel’s operation.

Congress Hall’s locale is the site of the very first civilized dining  in Cape May, as well as the site of the first stage coach stop at the Blue Pig Tavern, whereby travelers could take a meal. Executive Chef Jeremy Einhorn researched the hotel’s historic menu archive and created this special anniversary menu to incorporate some of Cape May’s own history into the dishes.

“I’m not so sure the current American palate would go for 19th century dinner options such as ‘jellied calved head’ or ‘deviled kidneys’,” says Chef Einhorn. “ I’ve been reading through Congress Hall’s historical menu archive and identified items that translate to current preferences.  We plan to present our guests first with the current menu juxtaposed against how a menu would have read during that time period.”

Cape May is also unique among beach side communities in that it has always had a rich farming heritage, one that continues today at Congress Hall’s own 62-acre Beach Plum Farm located one mile away and provides the hotel with fresh produce, herbs, pork, eggs, flowers, teas, and more. The Bicentennial Dinner Menu emphasizes that rich heritage and the resort’s strong ties to the sea.

Cheese and Charcuterie Display

Display of dry cured sausages, house made pate and artisan cheeses

Salad “Salmagundi”

Beach Plum Farm greens artfully garnished with seasonal fruits, vegetables and free range eggs

 Pickled Vegetable Medley

 Sweet Corn Bread with Whortleberry Jam ( What is that?)


Cod “Ravigote”

Locally sourced day boat cod, fresh herb sauce, braised red cabbage

Beef “a la Mode”

Slow cooked beef pot roast, root vegetable medley, jus

 New Jersey Corn and Tomato Succotash

Rice Pilaf with Sweet Peas and Summer Squash

200th Anniversary Cupcakes

Birthday Cake!

These historical dinners will take place Thursdays through August 25 in the Congress Hall Ballroom.  As part of the celebration, there will also be interactive sing-a-longs led by Annie Knight, who owned Congress Hall from 1904-1931, along with Congress Hall’s current owner, Curtis Bashaw.  Annie and Curtis will tell the story of Congress Hall’s 200-year history, with special appearances from some of the most distinguished guests that stayed at Congress Hall when it was “The Summer White House”.

Guests will enjoy a family style feast with a modern spin on yesterday’s favorite dishes served on Congress Hall’s new fine bone china which was specially created by Lenox and features 200 14K gold stars around the rim of the dinner plate in honor of the hotel’s bicentennial.

The Bicentennial Birthday Dinners are $50 for adults and $18.16 for kids and include a three-course dinner along with the performance. For reservations please call 609-884-6554.

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  1. August 11, 2016 / 11:06 am

    My home away from home will always be the Victorian. My heart and soul is full of wonderful memories I will cherish until the day I die.
    It’s been well over a year since my last visit, my Mom and I used to come down at least twice a year until she passed away nearly 3 years ago. I intended to come down again but I had to keep an eye on my Dad, who sadly died 10 months ago. Thinking I’d be able to make my way down there in September, my world was once again shaken when my younger brother died last week. I’m not really looking for this comment to be published, either way it’s fine, but I wanted to let you know John, that you and your amazing hotel have been so important to me and my Family, and while I’m still in a state of shock, I felt compelled to let you know how much happiness you were directly responsible for when it came to the Best family. I will be coming down in October, and I feel that this is a necessary step for me to move on with my life.
    Thank you again for making us feel like Family, see you in October so the healing can begin.

    • August 11, 2016 / 1:27 pm

      I don’t know how to begin to express my gratitude for your kind words. I am honored that we could play a part in the healing process. It is truly my hope that Cape May will bring about a sense of peace and return you to your place of contentment. I remember the visits with you and your mom with fondness and look forward to you returning this fall.