Oldest Restaurants in America

10 Oldest Restaurants in America

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People have been serving food to weary travels from their homes basically forever, but the first real restaurants/inns/taverns did not open in America until the 17th century. Most of the restaurants on this list have been open for over 150 years, with some of the oldest on this list predating the formation of the United States. Several of these restaurants also served as inns or important meeting places during the American Revolution.

As of November 2019, all of the restaurants on this list are still open for business.

10. Tadich Grill

Year Established: 1849
Original Owner:  Nikola Budrovich, Frano Costa, and Antonio Gasparich
Location:  San Francisco, California
Cuisine Type: Seafood
Operating Hours:  Monday – Friday: 11AM – 9:30 PM; Saturday: 11:30AM – 9:30PM; Sunday: CLOSED

photo source: Sarah Stierch (CC BY 4.0)

Despite its position on this list and others, Tadich Grill claims is the third oldest continuously run restaurant in America, just behind Union Oyster House and Antoine’s Restaurant. While this isn’t quite true, Tadich Grill has been opened since 1849, over 170 years ago.

The restaurant did not get its name until 1887 when it was purchased by John Tadich. Tadich ran the Tadich Grill until it was sold to the Buich family in 1928. The Buich family have owned and operated Tadich Grill since then and moved the restaurant to its current location in 1967.

Did You Know?

Tadich Grill claims to be the first restaurant in America to grill seafood over mesquite charcoal, a method the restaurant still uses today.


9. Antoine’s Restaurant

Year Established: 1840
Original Owner:  Antoine Alciatore
Location:  New Orleans, Louisiana
Cuisine Type: Traditional Louisiana Creole
Operating Hours:  Monday – Saturday: 11:30AM – 2PM and 5:30PM – 9PM; Sunday: 10:30AM – 2PM

Antoines Restaurantphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Of all the restaurants on this list, Antoine’s is the only one that has been continuously owned and operated by the same family since it first opened in 1840. Antoine’s was established by its namesake Antione Alciatore, a French immigrant who felt at home in the French-speaking city of New Orleans. Alciatore continued to run the restaurant until 1875 and his wife Julie Freyss Alciatore took over.

Since then, Antoine’s Restaurant has been passed down to Alciatore’s descendants. Since 2005, Antoine’s has been managed by family member Rick Blount, who renovated the building and updated the menu to help revive the restaurant’s popularity.

Did You Know?

Antoine’s Restaurant is the birthplace of several famous dishes, including Oysters Rockefeller, Pompano en Papillote, Eggs Sardou, and Pigeonneaux Paradis.


8. J. Huston Tavern

Year Established: 1834
Original Owner:  Joseph Huston, Sr.
Location:  Arrow Rock, Missouri
Cuisine Type: Traditional American
Operating Hours:  Monday – Tuesday: CLOSED; Wednesday – Thursday: 11AM – 2PM; Friday – Saturday: 11AM – 2PM and 5PM – 8PM; Sunday: 11AM – 2PM

J. Houston Tavernphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Houston Tavern is the oldest restaurant in the state of Missouri, dating back to 1834, and also the oldest continuously serving restaurant west of the Mississippi. The restaurant was first opened by Joseph Huston, Sr., an early settler of Arrow Rock and a civic leader from Virginia. It also served as the Huston family’s home.

In the mid-19th century, J. Huston Tavern expanded and a mercantile store and ballroom was added to the second floor. A larger dining room and an updated kitchen were built in 1955. Since the beginning of 2019, J. Huston Tavern has been run by Friends of Arrow Rock Inc.

Did You Know?

Throughout J. Huston Tavern are museum spaces that show how the Huston family and their customers lived during the 1800s.


7. Union Oyster House

Year Established: 1826
Original Owner:  Hawes Atwood
Location:  Boston, Massachusetts
Cuisine Type: Traditional New England fare and seafood
Operating Hours:  Sunday – Thursday: 11AM – 9:30PM; Friday – Saturday: 11AM – 10PM; Bar open until Midnight

photo source: Flickr via Paulo O

While many of the the restaurants on this list are older, Union Oyster House claims that it is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the U.S. because it has been operating out of its original building since 1826. Union Oyster House’s building is even older than this, dating back to at least 1714 and was used for various other businesses before becoming a restaurant.

Surprisingly, Union Oyster House has not really changed its menu and has pretty much always had an oyster bar. Besides seafood, Union Oyster House also serves traditional New England cuisine, including various meats and baked beans.

Did You Know?

Supposedly, using toothpicks in America was first popularized at Union Oyster House.


6. The Log Inn

Year Established: 1825
Original Owner:  Henry Haub
Location:  Haubstadt, Indiana
Cuisine Type: Traditional American
Operating Hours:  Sunday – Monday: CLOSED; Tuesday – Thursday: 4PM – 9PM; Friday – Saturday: 4PM – 10PM

photo source: The Log Inn via Rick Brown

The Log Inn is the oldest restaurant in Indiana and one of the oldest inns/stage coach stops in America. The inn and restaurant was first opened by Henry Haub, the namesake of the town that the Log Inn is located. The Log Inn was along the Dixie Highway – the main road between Chicago and Florida, which eventually became US 41 – and received many visitors. These days, the Log Inn restaurant is only open five days a week in the afternoon, but it has been featured in Food Network’s Best of Viewer’s Choice Program.

Did You Know?

The most famous person to stay at the Log Inn was President Abraham Lincoln. Reportedly, the Log Inn was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.


5. The Golden Lamb

Year Established: 1803
Original Owner:  Jonas Seaman
Location:  Lebanon, Ohio
Cuisine Type: Traditional American
Operating Hours:  Monday – Saturday: 11AM – 9PM; Sunday: 11AM – 8PM

The Golden Lambphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

The Golden Lamb traces its history back to 1803 when a man named Jonas Seaman moved to Lebanon, Ohio and built a log cabin to serve as an inn and tavern. No one knows for sure when the Golden Lamb got it name, but it’s believed that Seaman hung out a sign painted with a golden lamb from the beginning. The oldest written record mentioning the Golden Lamb dates back to the 1820s. The current Gold Lamb building was built by the inn’s second owner, Ichabod Corwin around 1815.

Did You Know?

Since Lebanon, the home of the Golden Lamb, on the highway between Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, the Golden Lamb has had many notable visitors including 12 American Presidents: William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, William Howard Taft, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush.


4. Old Talbott Tavern

Year Established: 1779
Original Owner:  man known as Hynes
Location:  Bardstown, Kentucky
Cuisine Type: American/Bar food
Operating Hours:  Monday – Thursday: 11AM – 9PM; Friday – Saturday: 11AM – 1AM; Sunday: 11AM – 8 PM

Old Talbott Tavern

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Old Talbott Tavern, or Old Stone Tavern, is the oldest western stagecoach stop in America still in operation. Most of the Old Talbott Tavern building is original according to the tavern, it has never closed since it first opened in 1779. Initially, the restaurant/hotel was called the Hynes Hotel, but received its name in 1886 after it was purchased by George Talbott.

Over the years, Old Talbott Tavern has earned a reputation for being one of the most haunted inns in the United States. While there are numerous ghosts reportedly seen all over Old Talbott Tavern, its most famous ghostly visitor is the outlaw Jesse James.

Did You Know?

Louis-Philippe of France (King of France from 1830 to 1848) stayed at Old Talbott Tavern while he was exiled in 1797. Murals painted by Louis-Philippe and a member of his entourage were rediscovered in the 20th century and put on display until they were ruined by a fire in 1998.


3. The Griswold Inn

Year Established: 1776
Original Owner:  Sala Griswold and his brothers
Location:  Essex, Connecticut
Cuisine Type: Traditional American, specifically New England-style
Operating Hours:  Monday – Thursday: 12PM – 11PM; Friday – Saturday: 12PM – 12AM; Sunday: 11AM – 9PM

The Griswold Innphoto source: Flickr via Joe Mabel

The Griswold Inn has been continuously run since 1776 when it was first opened by three brothers from the Griswold family of Connecticut. Like many of the old restaurants on this list, the Griswold Inn was used as more than just a restaurant. In the 1840s, the Griswold Inn was the site of protests organized by the women of the “Temperance Movement.” The Griswold Inn was even captured and used by British Troops during the War of 1812. Since it was first opened, the Griswold Inn has only been owned by six families.

Did You Know?

The Griswold Inn has the largest privately held collection of the works of Antonio Jacobsen, the most prolific painter of maritime art in America.


2. Fraunces Tavern

Year Established: 1762
Original Owner:  Samuel Fraunces
Location:  New York City, New York
Cuisine Type: Traditional American
Operating Hours:  Monday – Sunday: 11AM – 2AM

Fraunces Tavernphoto source: Wikimedia Commons


Fraunces Tavern has a long and storied history not just as a restaurant, but also for being an important meeting place before, during, and after the American Revolution. Along with the restaurant, there is now a Fraunces Tavern Museum showcasing the building’s history. In addition to being the oldest restaurant in New York, it is also believed to be the oldest surviving building in Manhattan.

Some of the most important things to take place at the Fraunces Tavern include: being a meeting place for the Sons of Liberty, serving as one of George Washington’s headquarters, and housing the first offices of the departments of Foreign Affairs, Finance and War when New York became the the seat of the Confederation Congress in 1785.

Did You Know?

Since 1904, Fraunces Tavern has been owned by Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York Inc., who have restored the building.


1. White Horse Tavern

Year Established: 1673
Original Owner:  William Mayes, Sr.
Location:  Newport, Rhode Island
Cuisine Type: Traditional American
Operating Hours:  Sunday – Thursday: 11AM – 9PM; Friday – Saturday: 11AM – 10PM

The White Horse Tavern Newport Rhode Islandphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

 

The White Horse Tavern first opened in 1673, over 346 years ago, making it the oldest restaurant (and bar/tavern) in America. It is also recognized as the 10th oldest restaurant still operating in the world. Since the White Horse Tavern building was so large it was also used as the meeting place for the Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court, and City Council.

In 1952, White Horse Tavern was showing extreme wear and was close to demolition, but was saved by the Van Bueren family of Newport who donated money to restore the building. Most recently, in 2014, the White Horse Tavern was acquired by its ninth owner.

Did You Know?

The White Horse Tavern did not get its name until 1730 when it was owned by Jonathan Nichols.


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