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front entrance of the Radisson RTP

Radisson RTP, formerly known as the Governor’s Inn, closing Nov. 17

For as long as I have worked in the Research Triangle Park, there was a constant presence – the Radisson RTP – formerly known as the Governor’s Inn. For the nine years that I worked at the Research Triangle Foundation, we held our board of directors meetings there and were treated to a special lobster bisque that was not on the regular menu.

Sometimes I would  meet Margaret Knox, who used to be the publisher of North Carolina Leader and later the Beacon, and then wrote for the Durham Herald Sun at the Governor’s Inn. She was always trying to get me to join the RTP Rotary Club, which met there every week in the Quorum Loungue, which is the restaurant in the Radisson.

Then, when I was publisher of The Park Guide magazine, we held our monthly Breakfast in the Park event at the hotel, having a great breakfast buffet while listening to great researchers talk about the work they were doing in the Park. The last several years, I’ve worked at the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) who held many workshops at the Radisson, and who also catered food at times at our building in RTP.

Ron Hunter smiling

Ron Hunter, General Manager of Radisson RTP.

For all these years (about 19 in my case) the people at the Radisson RTP treated each guest as a VIP. They pampered our guests, making sure they got what they wanted. Many times when we had people with special dietary needs, they would make special plates for them.

dining room full of people

The Quorum Lounge – Radisson RTP

Now, the Radisson is being bought by the Research Triangle Foundation and the building will be torn down to make way for new development as the Park begins to fulfill its new 50 year vision. So, I went back a couple more times this past week to have the famous lunch buffet one more time. And, it was time to say goodbye to an outstanding staff who had taken care of me and all the guests we have had stay at the hotel for so many years.

Buffet with carving station

Carving station.

It is not often that you see a lunch buffet like this anymore. The standards are all there, the salad bar, followed by several vegetables, a few meat and fish dishes and pasta. I always loved the Radisson’s southern meal with homemade macaroni and cheese, greens, hush puppies, pulled pork and fried chicken, so the first time back, I had a healthy portion of each. But the real star of the buffet was the meat carving station, which nearly always featured a roast beef and roasted turkey. It was like traveling back in time!

Baked Alaska at the Radisson RTP

Baked Alaska at the Radisson RTP

But the one feature of the whole meal which I highly doubt you will ever see again was the baked Alaska. This is from the era of “Mad Men.” In fact, my mother used to make a baked Alaska when we had special company in town. Baked Alaska, for those of you who have never heard of this dish, is a dessert made of cake, and Napoleon ice cream (chocolate, vanilla and strawberry) that is topped with a big meringue that is baked in an oven! Yes, ice cream and all goes into an oven and is baked until the meringue gets browned on top. This is how I will always remember the Radisson (Governor’s Inn).

So please do consider making a trip for your last lunch or dinner experience before they close on November 17. These folks would love to see you one more time and you too can bid them a fond farewell. I sincerely hope we see many of these wonderful people around town at other dining and hotel establishments because you will not find better workers who cater to your customer’s every need!

One Response so far.

  1. Julien says:

    Radisson’s closing !?! That’s a monument of my time in SAMSI going down. And I still remember being flabbergasted at my first encounter with the Baked Alaska during a SAMSI workshop! Never had the chance to try their lunch buffet, especially the carving station: please have one for me before the end :-) And a thought for the staff: I hope they will find other positions nearby :/

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