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The Raymond 1886: Restaurant and Bar Inspired by 19th Century Hotel

By Kelly Church

The Raymond 1886 is a historic Pasadena restaurant and bar serving American cuisine with international influences and carefully crafted cocktails.

"We are the last remaining piece of history from The Raymond Hotel," says owner Leslie Levy. Boston transplant Walter Raymond built the Pasadena hotel as a sunny escape on the west coast for those on the east in 1886. It burned down in 1895 and was soon reopened as a larger 300-room hotel. Misfortune struck once again for the Raymond in 1931 when it was knocked down during the Great Depression. Now, The Raymond 1886 stands as an ode to the hotel and the year that the original building was opened.

The menu is described as "stunningly inventive, classically-inspired" as Executive Chef Tim Guiltinan designs dishes pulling from many different cultures: American, Mediterranean, Latin American, Asian, and more. With brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert menus, The Raymond Restaurant has a lot to choose from.

"It is a very eclectic variety of both shared plates and more traditional entrees," says Levy. "Our Chef is very inventive and always demands the freshest ingredients."

Fresh dishes include Micro-Farmed Massachusetts Oysters, Pasadena's Whisper Farm's Aquaponic Lettuce with a lemon dressing and smoked salt, Roasted Duck, and Kobe beef burgers. Many dishes feature a unique dressing or sauce from The Raymond Restaurant kitchen, including a house vinaigrette, cumin vinaigrette, and Tim's Fermented Chili Mignonette. It's the little touches that Guiltinan adds to his dishes that keep the menu interesting.

"If it is on our menu, it is someone's favorite," Levy says. "Our menu is seasonal and is constantly changing."

In addition to The Raymond Restaurant, The Raymond 1886 has a craft cocktail bar called Bar 1886 attached to the back of the restaurant. With a foundation on classic bar techniques, Bar 1886 serves traditionally made cocktails including Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds, Sidecars and Sours alongside more than 600 unique Bar 1886 cocktails. Their most famous are the Honey-Nut Old Fashioned, the Smoking Jacket, and their series of Pimm's Cups one through 13, made entirely from scratch. Bar 1886 insists that if you don't see something that you want on their bar menu, request a Dealer's Choice that allows the bartender to create the perfect cocktail for your personal taste.

"We are not like other corporate restaurants," Levy says. "We customize our menus for our guests' needs. Our casual, relaxed atmosphere in an actual house makes all guests feel like they're dining at a friend's home. We pride ourselves on quality service and look forward to seeing our regulars, as well as introducing new people to our hidden gem in Pasadena."

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