Time-travel back to the 1920s with dinner and dancing in the Khorassan Ballroom.
One hundred years ago this month, St. Louis got a major glow-up in the glamour department: The Chase Hotel, designed by St. Louis architect Preston J. Bradshaw and constructed by developer Chase Ullman, opened its doors on September 29, 1922. A few years later, in 1929, Sam Koplar’s Park Plaza Hotel was completed, and in 1961, the two merged to become the Chase Park Plaza, now known as The Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta Hotel (212 North Kingshighway).
In the 1950s and ’60s, the Chase was “the place” and hosted some of the country’s biggest celebrities, stars, and athletes: Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Lou Brock, Muhammad Ali, Lena Horne, Liza Minelli, Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt….the list goes on. While you can still dine at iterations of The Chase Club and The Tenderloin Room, or take a dip in the Mediterranean-style pool, 2022 just doesn’t have the same glitz as 1922—except for on one night. In celebration of the Chase’s anniversary, the hotel is hosting a dinner and evening of performances in the Khorassan Ballroom on Thursday, September 29.
That ballroom, which opened in 1957 with the Spirit of St. Louis Ball benefitting the Missouri Historical Society, was built in anticipation of an increase in conventions and trade shows in St. Louis, according to Meet Me in the Lobby, a book about the Chase by Candace O’Connor. It would go on to host the Veiled Prophet dinner and ball, Wrestling at the Chase, and the city’s 200th birthday party.
The Tenderloin Room opened in 1962 and featured steak with a trademark “pepperloin” sauce. (Light fare it was not—the other must-order dish was the cheesecake.) According to O’Connor, Gussie Busch of the beer-brewing Busches ordered a pepperloin sent over to the hospital each year when he would go in for a multi-day checkup. “You’d have all the doctors and nurses in the hallway saying, ‘Going to have any of that left over,'” recalled Hack Ulrich, who managed the Tenderloin Room.
Pepperloin isn’t on the menu at the September 29 event, but the plan is to serve some menu items from throughout the decades: oysters Rockefeller, cranberry-and-orange roast duck, crab cakes with an Old Bay remoulade, pepper-jelly-glazed meatballs with tobacco onion, and seared red snapper with pickled vegetables and Himalayan rice. Craft cocktails will be available for imbibing as well as a specialty lager created by Urban Chestnut Brewing Company to mark the occasion. After a couple of those, you’ll want to dance to live music from Las Vegas’ Rat Pack Tribute Show as well as Anita Jackson and Tim Schall, accompanied by a 17-piece orchestra.
“The Chase has truly been ‘the Place’ since the doors first opened a century ago, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate alongside the St. Louis community,” says Frederik Houben, director of sales and marketing at The Chase Park Plaza. Tickets are $135 per person and include dinner, drinks, and parking in the Chase Park Plaza Garage. The fun starts at 7 p.m. and cocktail attire is a must.