Communion from the same food as the god was eating gave the faithful strength and health.
The extensive building complex lies to the south of the archaeological site and was constructed in the late fourth or the early third century BC. It included the Hestiatorion proper, a monumental Propylon and a later Roman Odeum.
The actual Hestiatorion comprised a peristyle court with Doric colonnade, arranged around which were rooms of various sizes, with an internal colonnade in the Ionic order. Found in some rooms were supports of couches upon which the ancient Greeks reclined when dining. The different size of the spaces indicates that they were intended for pilgrims of different social status (nobles and the common people).
The official entrance to the complex was from the northwest, where the Propylon stood, with six Doric columns on the façade and a ramp giving access to its elevated floor. Opposite an entrance on its east side was a Hellenistic fountain. A row of Ionic columns was interposed between the Propylon and the Hestiatorion.
In the first century AD the Hestiatorion was partly destroyed by marauding pirates. However, some wings continued in operation. In the third century AD, the Odeum, was erected inside the internal court of the Hestiatorion. In this building singing and drama performances were held, which were associated with the ceremonial repasts. Due to strictures of space, the Odeum is rectangular in plan instead of the usual semicircular. In the same period, the Propylon is considered to have been converted into a temple of Hygeia.