The Circular

The Hotel Hershey's updated classic
For generations, the crown jewel of The Hotel Hershey was its iconic, formal restaurant, the Circular Dining Room. Updated to meet today’s call for casual elegance in dining, The Circular — as it’s now called — is a gem in its own right. Beautifully redesigned with better lighting and a more modern style, the room’s centerpiece now features a circular bar, which adds a new dimension to the restaurant experience.

Thanks to its 2013 redesign, The Circular is now bright and fresh-feeling, with modern neutral colors accented by decorative stained glass trim on the windows and fresh flowers highlighting the centerpiece bar. The bar is a new addition to the restaurant; it pays homage to the room’s origins, when it featured a dance floor during an era when dinner and dancing made up a night out.

Today, the bar — which also doubles as a dessert station — creates a bridge between the casual and more formal diner, and provides options for The Circular’s guests. The bar is not just a place to sit, but a theater where you can watch the skilled mixologists and pastry chefs build their creations.
Our Inspector's Highlights
  • When Milton S. Hershey designed the original Circular Dining Room, he was adamant about it not having a bad seat and hated the idea of someone being stuck in a corner — so he created a space without one.
  • Enjoy a choose-your-own experience when it comes to the menu. Sharing plates or ordering multiple appetizers instead of a formal three-course meal is popular globally, and now you can choose how you order, whether from the bar or at a table.
  • While wine is still available by glass or bottle, The Circular’s centerpiece bar isn’t just for show. Skilled mixologists craft traditional, contemporary and — of course — chocolate cocktails using handmade ingredients.
  • One table with the clearest view of The Hotel Hershey’s gardens is said to have been Milton S. Hershey’s favorite. It’s situated in front of one of The Circular’s oversized windows and is marked by a round — rather than rectangular — table.
  • The Circular’s menu is fresh and inventive, utilizing local and seasonal ingredients for a two-tiered offering of starters and entrées.
Things to Know
  • The formal dress code of yesteryear is long gone. In fact, the jacket requirement for men was dismissed several years ago.
  • The Circular is open to the public most days of the year (it may close occasionally for private events). It is open daily for breakfast and dinner. A lunch buffet is available Friday and Saturday, and its famous Sunday brunch also returns post-renovation.
  • Looking into the room, the entire back wall is made up of windows that overlook the exquisite landscaping and gardens of the hotel. Tables located along this wall have the best views of the grounds — and of the 13 locally made stained-glass windows themselves — but all of the seats in The Circular offer unobstructed views through the expansive glass.
The Food
  • The menu focuses on American food with a strong leaning toward steakhouse-style fare.
  • Choose from tasty options such as herb and lemon marinated shrimp and scallops; cocoa and coffee crusted cowboy steak; lobster bisque; sorghum glazed carrots; and prime NY steak carpaccio with black garlic aioli.
  • It almost seems wrong to order a burger in a place like The Circular, but under its new vision — and made with 21-day dry-aged ground beef — it’s just right. Add cloth bound cheddar and Benton’s bacon, and it’s already a customer favorite.
  • The chocolate fondue for two is the perfect end to dinner and a must-see dessert. Rum flambéed dark chocolate fondue is surrounded by dippable treats from cinnamon marshmallows and rice crisps to berry skewers and blueberry graham shortbread.
The Bar
  • The Circular’s centerpiece bar, added during the restaurant’s 2013 redesign, is the focal point of the room.
  • Behind the bar, certified mixologists create handcrafted cocktails and pour craft beers — many of which are locally brewed — and wines by the glass.
  • You’ll see plenty of tipples inspired by Mr. Hershey’s travels, from Sazeracs and Singapore Slings to the Traveler, a double-chocolate-bourbon-based drink with some sweet twists (dark Aztec chocolate bitters, fresh-squeezed orange juice) thrown in.
  • The bar also serves as a pastry station, allowing curious diners to watch as their chocolate masterpieces are created.
Getting There
100 Hotel Road, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033
The Circular
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