Dining Family Style at the Wittmond Hotel

We were warned: Eat lunch at the Wittmond Hotel in Brussels, Illinois, and you won’t need to eat for the rest of the day. Little did we know the extensive relish tray alone at this restaurant would fill us up…and then came the entrees.

Restaurant in Historic Hotel

Conrad Wittmond and his wife opened a trading post in Brussels, Illinois in 1847. Brussels is located in Calhoun County on a tiny peninsula between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. In 1863 the couple added a two-story structure to accommodate river travelers and renovated again in 1885. Today the business no longer accommodates overnight guests, but the Wittmond Family, now in the sixth generation, continues to run the restaurant. The Wittmond Hotel is the oldest continuously operating business in Brussels.

Wittmond Hotel Brussels Illinois

Wittmond Hotel Dining Room

You enter the Wittmond Hotel through the bar, and head toward the back, then through what must have been the trading post. Shelves are lined with antique glassware and hurricane lamps, beer steins and commemorative liquor bottles. I could have spent an hour browsing the antiques, but we were hungry and on a tight itinerary.

Antiques in old Wittmond Hotel trading post

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Cross the threshold into the dining room, and you feel like you’re in someone’s home. It’s actually multiple rooms, each with a few lace tablecloth covered tables. We were seated next to a fireplace, a cozy welcome on the cold January day we visited.

Wittmond Hotel dining room

Our Wittmond Hotel Meal

The Wittmond Hotel serves a family-style meal. There is no way you can leave there still hungry. The first course is the relish tray. You can always tell restaurants that have been in businesses for generations when they bring out a relish tray. I’ve been served many relish trays in the past but none as extensive as the one we had at the Wittmond Hotel. Here is what it included:

  • Pork sausage
  • Coleslaw
  • Applesauce
  • Cinnamon apple rings
  • Pickled beets
  • Corn relish
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Dinner rolls
  • Peach preserves

Wittmond Hotel relish tray

The pork sausage isn’t your average, everyday breakfast sausage. It’s more like a sausage you’d order as your entrée in a German restaurant. As for the coleslaw, I couldn’t stop eating it. It has an oil-and-vinegar dressing, which I much prefer over creamy coleslaw. In my opinion, I make a darned good oil-and-vinegar coleslaw, but the Wittmond Hotel version has mine beat. Another of my favorites on the relish tray was the corn relish. It took me a while to place the taste but finally figured out it tastes like bread-and-butter pickles.

We were full by the time we finished with the relish tray—and we left plenty on the tray. But then came the entrée:

  • Fried chicken
  • Roast beef (now an optional add-on item)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Corn
  • Chicken and dumplings

Oh. My. Gosh. How could we ever eat more? But we did. After all, I can’t pass up chicken and dumplings. Or fried chicken. And the mashed potatoes were so creamy. By the time we finished, we practically needed to be rolled out of the restaurant. We really didn’t need to eat another meal that day. I definitely recommend eating the family-style meal at the Wittmond Hotel. The food is not only plentiful, it’s delicious.

If you go

The Wittmond Hotel is located at 166 East Main Street in Brussels, Illinois. Hours are Friday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Closed Tuesday through Thursday). There is an extra charge for beverages, desserts, and roast beef. Note: The restaurant does not accept credit cards, so be sure to take cash. Check the restaurant’s Facebook page for further details.

Accommodations

Check rates and reviews of hotels in the Brussels area.

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Wittmond Hotel

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2 thoughts on “Dining Family Style at the Wittmond Hotel

  • March 21, 2018 at 8:24 pm
    Permalink

    Sounds like comfort food heaven. I’m getting hungry just thinking about that meal.

    Reply
    • March 21, 2018 at 8:32 pm
      Permalink

      It really is comfort food heaven, Penny. I was craving it again while I was writing the article.

      Reply

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