Thursday, October 24, 2019

Theodore's Dining Room - Medora, ND

Medora, North Dakota was founded in 1883 by the Marquis de Mores and named after his wife, Medora von Hoffman. The Marquis built a meat packing plant there and established the town next to the transcontinental railway line so that he could ship refrigerated meat to Chicago. Theodore Roosevelt, age 24, arrived that same year and fell in love with the area. He invested in two ranches, the Maltese Cross, located seven miles south of Medora, and the Elkhorn, 35 miles north of Medora. Later, as president, Theodore Roosevelt visited Medora by train on April 7, 1903 as part of a presidential tour of the west and a short time later the Metropolitan Hotel in town changed its name to the Rough Riders Hotel, to honor President Roosevelt and the local cowboys who served under him during the Spanish-American War. Since 1986, the Rougher Riders Hotel has been owned and operated by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and Medora is now the gateway to the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. 
Theodore's Dining Room was added to the Rough Riders Hotel in 2010. It is the no. 1 restaurant in Medora on Trip Advisor, which is what got us there, and Onlyinyourstate calls the dining room one of the most elegant and fancy in all of North Dakota with a reputation for "top notch food." 
One of the most popular dishes is slow roasted prime rib which is served on weekends. I ordered it and it was the best prime rib I've had in years. It was nicely textured (unlike some of the limp prime rib you seem to get in most restaurants), nicely flavored and a true medium rare (like I ordered). It had decent au jus and horse radish sauce, but didn't really need it. We'd been listening to a book about Teddy Roosevelt in the Badlands and the cattle industry that flourished here (and apparently still does) and this meat did not disappoint. 
I also ordered some baked cauliflower which was pretty good, flavor-wise, but a little too aldente for me (or whatever the corresponding word would be for cauliflower). 
The hotel is beautiful. It has a painting of Roosevelt in the lobby, as well as a library on Roosevelt, and the fireplace in the dining room is made of bricks from the previous capitol building that was torn down to make room for the current capitol building. 


  1. You make me wish I'd ordered some prime rib. I did love the lobby. It would have been a fun hotel to stay in!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.