Even if it’s a local establishment, chances are, your trusty old neighborhood diner has nothing on the grub hubs on this list of the oldest restaurants across the United States. In fact, you can still dine in locations that lived through the Wild West — and even date all way back to the days before the Revolutionary War. Food and history; what’s not to like?
25. The Bluebird – Utah (96 Years Old)
Let’s drift back into the days of our grandparents. We’re talking jukebox joints with long bars and milkshakes with two straws hanging out of the glass. While most of these old soda shops have vanished with time, The Bluebird restaurant in Logan, Utah has been running consistently since 1914.
A trip to The Bluebird would definitely be a treat, and not only for their delicious ice cream and milkshakes. If you aren’t in the mood for some dairy, you can always enjoy a cup of coffee or an amazing cut of prime rib or sandwich. One of The Bluebird’s coolest features is that it’s a multi-floor restaurant with a banquet hall, called the Florentine Room.
24. Carolina Coffee Shop – North Carolina (98 Years Old)
For nearly one hundred years, both locals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, as well as visitors and UNC students have been getting their hot coffee and French toast fix satisfied by the Carolina Coffee Shop. This fine establishment served up their very first stack of flapjacks way back in 1922 and haven’t stopped since.
We’re guessing this was the place to go after long nights of dancing the Charleston with dazzling flappers. The Carolina Coffee Shop has maintained its popularity throughout the generations, outlasting the Great Depression, World War II, and various economic recessions. Even today, it remains a popular joint in Chapel Hill for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
23. Perkin Noodle Parlor – Montana (109 Years Old)
If someone asked you where the first Chinese restaurant in the United States was established, you’d probably point to cities known as historical hubs for Chinese immigration, say San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York. Such an answer would actually be way off. The country’s first Chinese restaurant is actually in the city of Butte in Montana. Who would have thought?
The Pekin Noodle Parlor served its first bowl of noodles in 1911 and probably blew the minds of the locals who had likely never tasted such wild flavors before. The noodle bar came about in such a relatively remote location due to a mining rush that took the area by storm in the late 19th and early 20th century. The little city of Butte saw a spike in their Chinese population, and generations of delicious food followed.
22. Cattlemen’s Steakhouse – Oklahoma (109 Years Old)
Cattlemen’s Steakhouse hasn’t been in business for over a hundred years for having grilled up just your average, everyday, basic steaks. This Oklahoma landmark has a reputation for being one of the very best steakhouses in the entire United States. That said, the restaurant had a very slow start.
Back in the early 20th century, it was but a small café. Believe it or not, much of its success actually came down to a game of dice between the original owner and a rancher named Gene Wade. Gene rolled a hard six, won the café, and then turned it into a national treasure. Even today, you can see the number 33 branded all over the restaurant’s walls.
21. The Bright Star – Alabama (112 Years Old)
For over a hundred years, The Bright Star has been serving Birmingham locals some of the best Greek-style food that can be found in the southern regions of the United States. However, this century-old establishment was never limited to one style of cuisine. They have a wide variety of food items to choose from, one of the best being their signature seafood gumbo.
Since they first opened their doors, the restaurant went from being a quaint café that could seat only 25 guests, to a restaurant that could hold up to 330 visitors. With time, the restaurant has only become more beloved. It’s been voted by Birmingham News on an almost annual basis as being one of the top three restaurants in the city.
20. North End Tavern & Brewery – West Virginia (121 Years Old)
If you find yourself riding down those famed country roads of West Virginia, you’ll be making a terrible mistake if you don’t make a quick food or drink stop at the North End Tavern & Brewery. While it may look like your standard sports bar upon entry, it is actually a small town gem.
Its 120-year-long journey began way back in 1899 and it has been a favorite among Parkersburg locals ever since. They serve an array of tasty burgers and sandwiches, but their most beloved feature has to be the microbrewery they set up back in 1997. If you are a fan of craft beverages, you won’t be disappointed at the North End Tavern & Brewery.
19. Olivia’s Bistro At The Historic Skagway Inn – Alaska (123 Years Old)
Back in the late 19th century, much of the western United States caught gold fever, packed up their lives and headed north to Alaska. The gold rush made some instant millionaires, but broke many. As a result of the influx of population and discovery of the precious mineral, Alaska, then considered just a district, became quite prosperous.
One of the many gems to come out of Alaska’s gold rush was Olivia’s Bistro At The Historic Skagway Inn. The establishment first opened its doors in 1897 and has had a steady flow of business ever since. The recommended dishes if you eat there are their king crab legs and halibut cakes.
18. The Buckhorn Exchange – Colorado (127 Years Old)
If you’re a steakhouse connoisseur, you’re going to want to knock Denver’s The Buckhorn Exchange off your bucket list. Opening its doors back in 1893, it is one of the first steakhouses in the country, as well as the first restaurant in Colorado to receive a liquor license.
The man behind the restaurant was called Henry H. Zietz, and he created an establishment that welcomed people from all walks of life. While today, it’ll likely be filled with families local to Denver, it once served characters straight out of your grandfather’s favorite Western flicks. We’re talking miners, Native American chiefs, cattlemen, silver barons, gamblers, and railroad builders.
17. The Palace Restaurant and Saloon – Arizona (133 Years Old)
First opening its doors in 1877, Prescott, Arizona’s The Palace Restaurant and Saloon served the likes of cowboys, outlaws, and just about anyone who would push open their swinging doors. Things changed forever in 1900 when, after 23 years of business, the famous saloon was devastated by a fire.
Loyal customers salvaged what they could amid the blaze, and even the famous Brunswick bar was saved from the flames. After one year of hard work, the saloon was back on its feet and successfully managed to capture its original vibe. Even today, the saloon does a fine job of teleporting its patrons back to the days of the Wild West.
16. Scholz Garten – Texas (154 Years Old)
It goes without saying that Texas is one of the biggest gems in the country. It’s a state of culture and amazing history, and one tangible part of that history is a restaurant called Scholz Garten. This Austin business was first established by a German immigrant named August Scholz just after the Civil War, back in 1866.
When it first hit the scene back in the 19th century, this eatery was a very popular spot for German immigrants and became a hub of German culture in Austin. Today, Scholz Garten stands as the oldest business in Texas and the first beer garden in America. However, it’s significantly less German-centered today and more of a college hangout.
15. McGillin’s Olde Ale House – Pennsylvania (160 Years Old)
In 1860 America, the big news around the country was probably Abraham Lincoln winning the presidential election, a vote that would eventually change the face of the country forever. However, in Philadelphia, the big news for Catherine and William McGillin was getting their restaurant opened up.
It was originally called Bell in Hand Tavern, but the locals just called it “McGillin’s” after the two owners. They officially changed the name to McGillin’s Olde Ale House in 1910 and never looked back. When you enter the restaurant, you can definitely feel its age. The walls are decorated in old signs belonging to businesses that have come and gone over the decades, and they have a liquor license from 1871 hung up on the wall.
14. Hays House – Kansas (163 Years Old)
If any restaurant can boast a rich history in Kansas, it’s Hays House. Since being established in 1857, the restaurant has seen various faces, having been used as a courthouse, a theater, a church, and a mail distribution center. However, it was first created by Seth Hays with a restaurant and trading post in mind.
Back in 1857, Hays House started off as a small log cabin on the Santa Fe Trail. Tragedy stuck the establishment in 1886, when the log cabin caught on fire. It was said that many locals rushed over to put the fire out and save the cabin before the fire could spread to other buildings. In no time it all, Hays House returned and was better then ever.
13. Old Ebbitt Grill – Washington DC (164 Years Old)
Putting Washington DC’s Old Ebbitt Grill on the list might feel like cheating, as the establishment has switched locations multiple times since it first opened up back 1856. It most recently moved in 1983 and currently sits less than a block away from the White House.
When it first opened back in the 19th century, the business was strictly a saloon. However, as the years tumbled by it was also made into a restaurant. The restaurant currently holds the title of being the oldest in the nation’s capital, and it has served most of the American presidents who’ve taken office since it was established. In particular, it’s said to have been a favorite hangout spot for Teddy Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland.
12. Tadich Grill – California (171 Years Old)
California was a major player during the Gold Rush. San Francisco, which is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the country, was a huge hub for prospectors during that time. Businesses boomed in the wake of the masses flooding onto the city’s streets, and locals didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the situation.
This brings us to 1849 and the Tadich Grill. While today it’s a fully fledged restaurant, it started as nothing more than a small coffee stand. However, in 1887 the coffee stand was bought by an employee named John Tadich, who wasted no time turning it into an eatery. Today, the restaurant holds on dearly to the claim that it’s the first establishment in America to ever grill seafood over mesquite charcoal.
11. Antoine’s Restaurant – Louisiana (180 Years Old)
These days, people generally don’t get around to opening their own businesses until they are well into their thirties. As admirable as those young entrepreneurs might be, they don’t have anything on Antoine Alciatore. At the tender age of 18, he opened up Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans.
Okay, so he did this all in 1840, but we still won’t take anything away from the guy, as he basically created the city’s most famous restaurant. In 1868, Antoine moved the French-Creole restaurant to its current location on Louis Street. With its snazzy dress code and pristine reputation, Antoine’s Restaurant has served folks as varied as Franklin Roosevelt, Bing Crosby, Brad Pitt, and even Pope John Paul II.
10. El Farol – New Mexico (185 Years Ago)
Santa Fe, New Mexico’s El Farol restaurant has been a beacon of hope in the Southwest for almost two hundred years. While today, it mostly means satisfying the hunger of an average Joe after work, it used to mean way more back in the days of duels and saloons.
This restaurant meant a lot for a cowboy traveling under the sun, like an oasis. Much like it was over a century and a half ago, El Farol is famous for its paella, steaks, and live entertainment. If you’re in the mood for some good Mexican food while in New Mexico, it’s well worth a stop.
9. Union Oyster House – Massachusetts (194 Years Old)
We can all imagine that the Union Oyster House has gone through a number of changes since it first opened its doors back in 1826, when Massachusetts-native John Quincy Adams was president. One change that’s obvious is the name — the Union Oyster House was originally called the Atwood and Bacon Oyster House.
Over the past two centuries, the establishment has served its fair share of some very famous patrons. The Kennedy brothers were loyal customers and ate there for years. The restaurant even dedicated John F. Kennedy’s favorite booth in his memory. Back in the 19th century, former Secretary of State Daniel Webster was also a beloved customer.
8. The Log Inn – Indiana (195 Years Old)
Most of the oldest restaurants in the United States can’t claim to have actually served a historic president like Abe Lincoln, but The Log Inn did just that in 1844. When the Indiana restaurant first opened its doors in 1825, it was a mere rest spot for stagecoach riders making the journey from Evansville and Vincennes.
As cities expanded across the land, The Log Inn became more accessible to the masses. Today, they no longer stand as some roadside stop for weary travelers; they are a booming business that’s beloved for their family-style meals. Their fried chicken is definitely worth a try if you find yourself in Indiana.
7. Ye Olde Tavern – Vermont (230 Years Old)
When the Ye Olde Tavern opened up in 1790, it was originally called the Stagecoach Inn. We’re assuming that at some point the establishment got pretty old and the owners decided to go with a more fitting name. It was smack in the middle of the 1970s that it underwent some restoration and adopted its current title, Ye Olde Tavern.
Despite being brought up to modern-day standards, Ye Olde Tavern still brings some of the colonial vibes of the 18th century. It’s a perfect environment for dining on some of Vermont’s best dishes, like pot roast, maple butter, lobster bisque, cranberry fritters, and — wait for it — some delightful lobster mac and cheese.
6. The Hancock Inn – New Hampshire (231 Years Old)
The year 1789 is well-known for two reasons. Not only is it the year that George Washington began his presidential run, but it’s also the year that New Hampshire’s Hancock Inn was opened. The fine establishment has been giving their patrons hot meals and fine sleeps for well over two centuries.
The restaurant and inn was the vision of a man named Noah Wheeler. He was passing through Hancock, New Hampshire in 1787 and saw the area’s potential blooming before his eyes. There were roads being built, a serious rum trade was based there, and other people were already running taverns. He knew that he needed a piece of the town. He moved there two years later, established the Hancock Inn, and the rest is, well, history.
5. The Old Talbott Tavern – Kentucky (241 Years Old)
When you drive into Bardstown, Kentucky, you might see a building that closely resembles England’s Warwickshire Inn. You didn’t teleport to the other side of the Atlantic: what you are seeing is actually the Talbott Tavern. It was first constructed in 1779 as a stagecoach stop.
The popular restaurant and inn has hosted a number of popular figures since being established. Big names like Abraham Lincoln, King Louis Philippe I of France, President Andrew Jackson, and legendary American bandit Jesse James have all stayed there. The hotel is said to be haunted, and if staying in spooky locations is your thing, you don’t want to miss this gem.
4. The Griswold Inn – Connecticut (244 Years Ago)
Being a relatively new country, the Griswold Inn in Essex, Connecticut is one of the country’s oldest restaurants. It opened its doors in 1776, the same year the USA declared its independence from Great Britain. The inn also holds the title of being the first bar in the state of Connecticut.
The restaurant and inn was originally popular among shipyard workers, who would work tirelessly building ships to face off against the invading British. A trip to the Griswold Inn today means more than just a good meal and a place to sleep. The site is practically a museum in its own right, and visitors can count on getting a tour of all the historical rooms.
3. The Red Fox Inn & Tavern – Virginia (292 Years Ago)
One can guess how popular a restaurant is by how long it’s been setting those tables, handing out those menus, and serving those dishes. When you see a place that was first established a few decades back, for example, you can guess it has a following. But that time frame is meager when compared to an establishment like The Red Fox Inn & Tavern.
This Virginia inn and restaurant has been in the hospitality and dining game since 1728. The colony was still half a century away from independence when this tavern was established. However, it wasn’t before long that this fine establishment was serving guests like George Washington himself. Over the years, it has catered to big names like John F. Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and Tom Cruise.
2. White Horse Tavern – Rhode Island (347 Years Old)
If you want to dine at a restaurant that was once frequented by Founding Fathers, look no further than the White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island. The establishment first opened up way, way back in 1673, and was a popular hangout during the colonial era. Everyone from British soldiers, pirates, missionaries, sailors, and the General Assembly would spend their time here, passing a long night with drinks and food.
The tavern currently has a reputation for being haunted, but with all that history, it shouldn’t surprise anyone. If you happen to be rolling on through Newport on a road trip, you won’t want to miss out on checking this place off your list. One dish that comes highly recommended when you arrive at this purportedly haunted piece of history, hearkening back to colonial British days and appetites, is the beef Wellington.
1. The ’76 House – New York (352 Years Old)
Before the United States was even the United States, The ’76 House in Tappan, New York was serving up meals and drinks to Dutch and English settlers. There’s differing claims surrounding its actual age, but some claim it dates back to the area being founded by the Dutch in 1668. It didn’t take long for this particular tavern to become a part of history.
During the Revolutionary War, The ’76 House was a hot spot for meetings between local patriots — and those who were a bit less loyal. Legend has it that both General George Washington and the infamous traitor Benedict Arnold both dined here back in the day — though certainly not together!
Honorable Mention 1: The Old South Mountain Inn – Maryland (288 years old)
The Old South Mountain Inn in Boonsboro, Maryland is packing an incredible amount of history behind that charming colonial exterior. The inn is so old that it was actually established back in 1732 — for context, that’s the year George Washington was born.
Over the centuries, along with playing host to such famous American historical figures as statesmen Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, the inn and restaurant saw some earth-shaking events. In 1859, it was briefly captured by abolitionist John Brown as he planned his anti-slavery revolt, and later served as a Confederate stronghold during the Civil War’s Battle of Antietam. Today, being that it’s Maryland, there’s no way you can pass through without trying the local crab cakes.
Honorable Mention 2: Cranbury Inn – New Jersey (260 years old)
It’s Cranbury, not cranberry! Once upon a time, in the colony of New Jersey, two taverns were founded side by side, eventually merging to create one super handy space, which served every purpose from being a barn, an office for a justice of the peace, a dance hall — and a dining room.
The Cranbury Inn’s restaurant is going strong even after two and a half centuries. Come for the shrimp or mussels, but take a moment to soak in the history of the place. It’s rumored to have been a station on the Underground Railroad, and the town itself played host to a meeting between Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette, and George Washington.
Honorable Mention 3: Golden Lamb – Ohio (217 years old)
In the very same year that Ohio became a state in the first place, Jonas Seaman spent a total of $4 on a license, and opened the Golden Lamb. It’s Ohio’s oldest hotel as well as its oldest restaurant, and a total of twelve American presidents have passed through its doors.
Today, the Golden Lamb is serving up some classic dishes that scream all things Americana, like their prized turkey dinner, or a prime rib that’s been hickory-roasted. And, of course, who can pass up the opportunity at trying a sauerkraut ball? Go on, don’t be shy! Your digestive tract will thank you.
Honorable Mention 4: J. Huston Tavern – Missouri (186 years old)
The town of Arrow Rock, Missouri was an important stop along the Santa Fe Trail that settlers moving west across the United States used in the 19th century. One of the landmarks established in the town remains a superlative to this day: the J. Huston Tavern.
This dining establishment isn’t just content being the oldest restaurant in its state. Rather, with its three dining rooms and a taproom, it’s actually the oldest restaurant west of the Mississippi River that’s still in use to this day. Try the fried chicken: after nearly two centuries of practice, you can imagine the recipe’s only gotten better over time.
Honorable Mention 5: The Village Tavern – Illinois (173 years old)
Just one year after one Abraham Lincoln gained a seat for Illinois in the House of Representatives, The Village Tavern opened in the Chicago suburb of Long Grove. These days, Abraham Lincoln’s legacy lives on — and so does this eatery! It’s the state of Illinois’ oldest bar and oldest restaurant all in one.
Inside its charming wood interior, diners can enjoy such house specialties as the baked French onion soup and the corned beef. What’s more, patrons can also have the opportunity to hear local music acts as they enjoy their meal and soak in the history, all just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Chi-town itself.
Honorable Mention 6: White Horse Inn – Michigan (172 years old)
After well beyond a century in operation, the White Horse Inn in Metamora, Michigan, was showing more than just its wrinkles. That’s when the owners stepped in, spending the years between 2012 and 2014 to polish over that wear and tear and give the establishment the proper tune-up and polish.
Today, the former stagecoach station is going stronger than ever despite its impressive longevity, and it’s got the menu to prove its chops. After all, who wouldn’t be at least curious to try a hot bowl of cowboy mac and cheese (yes, that’s what it’s called)? Or what about some venison chili? Chances are, it’s local.
Honorable Mention 7: Red Circle Inn & Bistro – Wisconsin (172 years old)
When you think of Wisconsin, one of the first things that comes to mind would have to be the state’s famous cheese industry. But a close second is easily their fame in the world of beer brewing. The Red Circle Inn & Bistro reflects this legacy, paying homage to one of Wisconsin’s most famed products.
Once upon a time, before it received its current form, the local beer Pabst Blue Ribbon (or PBR if you’re savvy) had a different logo, a red circle. In fact, Frederick Pabst himself, an immigrant from Germany, owned the Red Circle Inn a few decades after it was founded!
Honorable Mention 8: Breitbach’s Country Dining – Iowa (168 years old)
Sure, you’ve heard of Iowa’s corn crop. But have you heard of this glorious local fixture: the Iowa Park Association’s Pork Tenderloin Trail? No? Well, strap on a bib and get ready, because this restaurant can not only be found as a stop on this pilgrim’s route, it’s also an Iowa state treasure.
Around for a century and a half, Breitbach’s Country Dining is something locals are incredibly proud of, if not for the history, then surely for the deep-fried pork tenderloin. The building burned down two years in a row, in 2007 and 2008, but residents pitched together to help reinstate it.
Honorable Mention 9: Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse & Spirits – Wyoming (158 years old)
Cowboy, it’s high time to kick up those boots and rest a while with some good eats. Stroll on into this Hartville, Wyoming eatery, and you’ll understand why it’s had such long-lasting success. In a building whose stark brick and wood exterior immediately transports you back to the Wild West, you’ll find the state’s oldest bar and restaurant.
The steaks this restaurant is still serving up are so legendary that it’s raved about well outside of state borders. That being said, don’t come to town looking for much else to do — while Hartville was established during a mining boom, today the town’s total population, according to the 2010 census, is just 62 souls!
Honorable Mention 10: Glur’s Tavern – Nebraska (144 years old)
As you pass through the states of the Great Plains, it’s well worth making a pit stop in the city of Columbus, Nebraska. The town boomed during the Black Hills Gold Rush, and with the arrival of the railroad and an influx of prospectors hoping to strike it big, along came a local establishment that stands proudly to this day: Glur’s Tavern.
Today, you can enjoy the Western setting as you chow down on one of the restaurant’s famed burgers. Your fellow diners are bound to be interesting, but let’s face it: they just won’t be able to beat the restaurant’s most famous patron from back in the day, none other than Buffalo Bill himself!
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