At first it was a homestead and then it operated as different restaurants. Now under new ownership, it’s Elijah McLean’s Estate River Vineyard and Event Center. 

Located at 600 W. Front St. in Washington, Elijah McLean’s has been going through changes recently.

“It’s been fun to be a part of it,” said Diana Luepker, event manager.

One of the changes includes construction on a nine room hotel that will be open in late May or early June. Reservations are already being accepted.

There are a total of seven rooms upstairs and two downstairs. Of the lower rooms, one is handicap friendly and the other is an ADA compliant handicap room.

The tasting and main bars in Elijah McLean’s offer wines from all over, spirits and beers.

Charcuterie boards featuring local meats, cheeses, fresh and dried fruits, and other food items also are offered. The menu includes gourmet flatbread pizzas and Famous Barr-style onion soup, among others. 

The building has a banquet hall for events only. Luepker said she’s excited to decorate for an upcoming Royal Princess Ball event. 

She imagines the event space will be used mainly for weddings and special dinners. Luepker noted eventually Elijah’s may offer bourbon tastings, spirits education classes and wine dinners on special occasions.

The winter hours for the vineyard and event center are Thursday and Friday, 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 12 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.

The summer hours have yet to be decided upon, but Luepker said they will likely be extended. 

As part of the renovations, Luepker noted grapevines will eventually be added to the front of the property.

Other renovations taking place at Elijah McLean’s include new flooring, painting, marble tile in the foyer, updating the electric, installing geothermal heating and cooling, leveling out an area for future outdoor wedding ceremonies and landscaping.

A bridal suite and groom’s lounge also have been added.

Anthony Allmeroth, one of the owners, said redoing the rotting exterior balcony was a major project. The main bar, which had been covered in wood paneling, has been painted all black, and the flooring and ceiling completely redone.

The tasting bar features a handmade bar and wine rack made from materials from a 100-year-old monastery. The built-in was created by Joe Rauth, who was 82 at the time.

The main hall features 24-foot ceilings with two chandeliers made of bronze and crystal. The chandeliers are leveraged on wood pulleys that can be used to adjust the height of them depending on the event.

The original building was built in 1839 by Elijah McLean, a prominent doctor and state representative. In 1860, the local paper described him as “the richest man in town or county.” The main bar is decorated with old pictures of the estate.   

The building also features artwork from Bryan Haynes, Jim Peters and Gary Lucy.

For more information visit www.elijahmcleans.com or call 314-402-6268.