The Original Brownie

First Brownie Hotel
Palmer Hotel Chicago – photo courtesy of

The Palmer House hotel is a Chicago landmark and with a 140 year old history has lots of stories to tell. It was built by Real Estate mogul Potter Palmer as a wedding present for his Kentucky socialite wife, Bertha Honore . It opened in September 26 1871 and tragically just thirteen days later was consumed by the Great Chicago Fire. In a determined response, work began immediately to rebuild the hotel and it was reopened on the same ground in 1875.  Not withstanding the romance of its beginnings and the tragedy of the fire, the curious slice of history for us here at Dello Mano is that this hotel  is in fact where the beloved Brownie was invented.

In 1893 Chicago hosted the Columbian Exposition and Bertha Palmer instructed her hotel chef to develop a small treat that was smaller than a cake suitable to fit in the lunch boxes of the women attending the fair. The delicious Brownie was a result of this brief. Today the hotel is a Hilton Hotel however the original Brownie is still available on the dessert menu. The Palmer Hotel, Chicago one to add to the “Must Do” list.

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