Oldest Diners in New York

14 Oldest Diners in New York

New York City is known for its iconic food scene, and diners have played a significant role in shaping that reputation. These institutions have been serving up comfort food to locals and tourists alike for decades, and some have been around for over a century. Today, we’ll take you on a culinary journey through time as we explore the oldest diners in NYC.

From classic diners that harken back to the golden age of American cuisine to those that have undergone modern transformations while preserving their historic charm, we’ll cover them all. We’ll delve into the stories behind these establishments, including their unique histories and the impact they’ve had on the city’s food culture. So, join us as we celebrate the enduring legacy of NYC’s oldest diners, and maybe even grab a bite to eat along the way.

14. Peter Luger Steakhouse

Year Established: 1887
Location: 178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY
Founder: Peter Luger
Current Owner: Amy Rubenstein Marilyn Spiera

Peter Luger Steakhousephoto source: Forbes

Peter Luger Steakhouse is a legendary restaurant located in Brooklyn, New York City. Established in 1887, the restaurant has become an iconic destination for steak lovers from around the world. Despite its legendary status, Peter Luger Steakhouse remains a family-owned and operated business, with third and fourth generation family members still involved in its daily operations.

The restaurant’s classic decor and old-world charm have been preserved over the years, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. The restaurant also offers a variety of classic American side dishes, including creamed spinach, German potatoes, and onion rings.

Did You Know?

Peter Luger Steakhouse is known for its signature dry-aged steaks, which are hand-selected, hand-cut, and grilled to perfection over a hardwood fire.


13. Keens Steakhouse

Year Established: 1885
Location: 72 West 36th Street, Manhattan, NY
Founder: Albert Keen
Current Owner: David Belasco, “Buffalo Bill” Cody. George M. Cohan.

Keens Steakhousephoto source: The Infatuation

Keens Steakhouse is a historic restaurant located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.  One of the unique features of Keens Steakhouse is its collection of churchwarden pipes. The collection began as a way for guests to store their pipes while dining at the restaurant, but over time it grew into a massive collection of antique and rare pipes that is now considered one of the largest in the world.

Over the years, Keens Steakhouse has hosted a variety of famous patrons, including Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, and Albert Einstein. The restaurant has also been featured in numerous films and television shows, cementing its place as a cultural institution in New York City.

Today, Keens Steakhouse remains a beloved destination in New York City, offering a taste of history and a glimpse into the city’s past. With its unique decor, classic menu, and world-renowned collection of smoking pipes, Keens Steakhouse is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the culture and cuisine of New York City.

Did You Know?

The restaurant was first opened in 1885 as Keens Chophouse, and it quickly became a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.


12. PJ Clarke’s

Year Established: 1884
Location: 915 Third Avenue NW, Manhattan, NY
Founder: Patrick J. Clarke
Current Owner: Phil Scotti

PJ Clarke’sphoto source: Empire Hotel

PJ Clarke’s is a historic bar and restaurant located in New York City. The restaurant was first established in 1884 as a saloon in the city’s Theater District, and it has been in continuous operation ever since. Over the years, the restaurant has served as a gathering spot for locals, celebrities, and politicians alike, and has been featured in numerous films and television shows.

One of the most famous stories associated with PJ Clarke’s is the legend of the “Cadillac Burger.” According to the story, Nat King Cole visited the restaurant in the 1940s and requested a burger so good that it would make him feel like he was driving a Cadillac. The chefs at PJ Clarke’s responded by creating a burger that became an instant classic and remains one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes to this day.

Did You Know?

PJ Clarke’s has undergone some renovations and changes over the years, but it still retains much of its historic charm and character. The restaurant features a classic decor with dark wood paneling, leather banquettes, and vintage photographs adorning the walls.


11. White Horse Tavern

Year Established: 1880
Location: 567 Hudson St., NY
Founder: Undisclosed
Current Owner: Eytan Sugarman

White Horse Tavernphoto source:Wikipedia

The White Horse Tavern is a historic bar and restaurant located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The tavern was first opened in 1880 and has been in continuous operation ever since, making it one of the oldest bars in the city.

The White Horse Tavern has a storied history as a gathering spot for artists, writers, and musicians. In the mid-20th century, it was a favorite haunt of the Beat Generation, and it has been frequented by famous figures.

While the White Horse Tavern is primarily known as a bar, it has also operated as a diner throughout its history. The tavern serves a menu of classic American fare, including burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers, as well as a variety of drinks.

Did You Know?

The tavern features a rustic interior with exposed brick walls and wooden beams, as well as a collection of photographs and memorabilia that pay homage to its rich history.


10. Gage and Tollner

Year Established: 1879
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Founder: Eugene Tollner
Current Owner: Sohui Kim, Ben Schneider, St. John Frizell

Gage and Tollnerphoto source: The New York Times

Gage and Tollner was a historic restaurant located in downtown Brooklyn, New York City. The restaurant first opened its doors in 1879 and quickly became a favorite among Brooklynites and visitors alike.

Over the years, Gage and Tollner became a beloved institution in Brooklyn, serving as a gathering spot for locals, families, and politicians alike. The restaurant was also famous for its role in the women’s suffrage movement. In 1917, a group of suffragettes held a meeting at Gage and Tollner to plan a rally in support of the right to vote.

In the mid-20th century, Gage and Tollner experienced a decline in popularity and was forced to close its doors in 2004. However, the restaurant was later revived by new owners who restored its original grandeur and reopened it to the public in 2021.

Did You Know?

The restaurant was known for its opulent decor, featuring ornate wood paneling, stained glass windows, and gas lamps.


9. Old Homestead Steakhouse

Year Established: 1868
Location: 56 9th Ave, New York, NY
Founder: Greg Sherry, Marc Sherry
Current Owner: Greg Sherry, Marc Sherry

Old Homestead Steakhousephoto source: Wikipedia

The Old Homestead Steakhouse is one of the oldest and most iconic steakhouses in New York City. The restaurant was originally established in 1868 as a small meatpacking business in the District of Manhattan. Over the years, it evolved into a full-fledged steakhouse and has been in continuous operation ever since.

The restaurant has expanded to include a second location in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and it remains a favorite among locals and tourists alike. With a rich history that spans more than a century, the Old Homestead Steakhouse is a testament to the enduring appeal of classic American cuisine and the traditions that have shaped the culinary landscape of New York City.

Did You Know?

Today, the Old Homestead Steakhouse is still in operation and continues to serve up some of the best steaks in the city.


8. Landmark Tavern

Year Established: 1868
Location: 626 11th Ave, New York, NY
Founder: Patrick Henry Carley
Current Owner: Michael Young

Landmark Tavernphoto source: www.thelandmarktavern.com

While the Landmark Tavern is primarily known as a bar, it has also operated as a diner throughout its history. In the early days of the tavern, it was a popular spot for sailors and dock workers who would stop in for a hearty meal after a long day’s work. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the tavern became a hub of activity for Irish immigrants who were living in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Today, the Landmark Tavern continues to operate as a bar and restaurant, serving a wide range of food and drinks to locals and tourists alike. While it has undergone many changes over the years, it has remained a beloved institution in the neighborhood, known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere and its commitment to preserving the history of the city.

Did You Know?

During the Prohibition era, the Landmark Tavern operated as a speakeasy, serving food and drinks to a clientele of regulars and tourists alike. After Prohibition was repealed, the tavern continued to operate as a diner, offering a menu of classic American fare such as burgers, sandwiches, and seafood.


7. Pete’s Tavern

Year Established: 1864
Location: 129 East 18th Street, Manhattan, NY
Founder: Peter D’Belles
Current Owner: Gary Egan

Pete’s Tavernphoto source: Wikipedia

Pete’s Tavern is a historic restaurant located in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The restaurant dates back to 1864, when it was originally called “The Portman Hotel.”

Over the years, the restaurant has served many different types of cuisine, but it is perhaps best known for its role as a diner. In the early 20th century, Pete’s Tavern began serving breakfast and lunch to cater to the needs of local workers and residents. The diner menu included classic American fare such as eggs, sandwiches, and burgers.

Pete’s Tavern’s diner offerings were particularly popular during Prohibition, when the restaurant operated as a speakeasy. The restaurant’s basement was used as a secret bar, where patrons could enjoy illegal alcohol in a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. The speakeasy was a favorite of famous writers such as O. Henry and Damon Runyon, who were regulars at the restaurant.

Did You Know?

The restaurant’s historic ambiance has been preserved over the years, with original fixtures and furnishings still in place.


6. Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn

Year Established: 1859
Location: 4254 Arthur Kill Road Staten Island, NY
Founder: Nicolas Killmeyer
Current Owner: Ken Tirado

Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Innphoto source: killmeyers.com

Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn is a historic restaurant located in Staten Island, New York City. The restaurant dates back to 1859, when it was founded by German immigrant, George Killmeyer. Initially, the restaurant operated as a saloon and hotel for German immigrants who worked in the nearby oyster industry. Over the years, Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn evolved into a popular restaurant, known for its authentic German cuisine and atmosphere.

While Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn is primarily known for its German cuisine, it has also operated as a diner over the years. In the early 20th century, the restaurant began serving a breakfast and lunch menu that included classic diner fare such as pancakes, eggs, and sandwiches. Today, the restaurant continues to offer breakfast and lunch options alongside its German specialties.

Did You Know?

The restaurant has hosted Oktoberfest celebrations and other cultural events that celebrate the rich history and traditions of German immigrants in New York City.


5. Delmonico’s

Year Established: 1837
Location: 56 Beaver Street, New York, NY
Founder: Giovanni and Pietro Delmonico
Current Owner: Ocinomled Ltd.

Delmonico’sphoto source: Eater NY

Delmonico’s is a historic restaurant located in the Financial District of New York City. The restaurant dates back to 1837 when it was founded by Swiss brothers, John and Peter Delmonico. Originally, Delmonico’s was a pastry shop and cafe, but it soon expanded to become one of the most renowned restaurants in the city.

Delmonico’s was known for its elegant atmosphere and fine cuisine, which included classic dishes such as Lobster Newburg and Baked Alaska. It was a popular spot for high society gatherings and was frequented by celebrities such as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde.

Did You Know?

In the early 20th century, the restaurant began offering a more casual lunch service to cater to the business crowd in the Financial District.


4. Neir’s Tavern

Year Established: 1829
Location: 87-48 78th Street, Queens, New York City
Founder: Undisclosed
Current Owner: Loycent Gordon

Neir’s Tavernphoto source: Eater NY

Neir’s Tavern is a historic bar located in the Woodhaven neighborhood of Queens, New York City. The bar, which dates back to 1829, has a rich history and has served as a community gathering spot for over a century.

While Neir’s Tavern is primarily known as a bar, it has also operated as a diner over the years. In the mid-20th century, the bar gained a reputation as a popular spot for celebrities. During this time, Neir’s Tavern also offered a menu of classic diner fare, such as burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes.

In the 1970s, Neir’s Tavern changed ownership and the diner aspect of the business was phased out. However, the establishment’s rich history and status as a community gathering spot continued to attract patrons over the years.

Did You Know?

In 2009, Neir’s Tavern closed down, but it was later reopened in 2010 as a result of the efforts of a group of local residents who were determined to preserve the historic establishment.


3. Ear Inn

Year Established: 1817
Location: 326 Spring St. New York, NY
Founder: James Brown
Current Owner: Martin Sheridan

Ear Innphoto source: The New York Times

The Ear Inn is a historic bar located in the neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The building that houses the Ear Inn dates back to 1817 and was originally used as a residence for James Brown, a black sea captain who had fought in the War of 1812. In the mid-19th century, the building was converted into a bar and brothel, and it continued to operate as such until the early 20th century.

Interestingly, the Ear Inn briefly operated a diner in the 1940s. Following the repeal of Prohibition, the owners added a small diner to the front of the building to serve food to patrons. The diner was reportedly a popular spot for sailors and dock workers who frequented the Ear Inn.

Did You Know?

During Prohibition, the Ear Inn operated as a speakeasy, serving illegal alcohol to patrons in a hidden back room.


2. Bridge Café

Year Established: 1794
Location: 279 Water St., New York, NY
Founder: Jack Weprin
Current Owner: Dan Newman

Bridge Caféphoto source: Travel Network

The Bridge Cafe in New York City is one of the oldest continuously operating bars in the United States. Located in the South Street Seaport district of Lower Manhattan, the bar has a rich history that dates back to the 1790s

The building that houses the Bridge Cafe was originally a tobacco warehouse, built in 1794. In 1812, it was converted into a bar and has been in operation ever since. The bar got its name from its location, which was next to the original Brooklyn Bridge.

In the 1950s, the Bridge Cafe fell into disrepair, but in the 1970s, it was bought by two local businessmen who restored it to its former glory. They preserved many of the bar’s original features, including its tin ceilings, wooden floors, and antique fixtures. Today, the Bridge Cafe is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, offering a glimpse into New York City’s rich history.

Did You Know?

In the mid-19th century, it was a gathering spot for Tammany Hall politicians, and in the early 20th century, it became a speakeasy during Prohibition.


1. Fraunces Tavern

Year Established: 1762
Location: 54 Pearl Street, New York, NY
Founder: Samuel Fraunces
Current Owner: Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York Inc.

Fraunces Tavernphoto source: Wikipedia

Fraunces Tavern is a historic landmark located in the heart of New York City. Founded in 1762, it is widely considered to be the oldest diner in the city. Over the years, it has served as a meeting place for some of the most important figures in American history, including George Washington and Alexander Hamilton.

Today, Fraunces Tavern is a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from all over the world who come to experience its rich history and unique atmosphere. The tavern offers a wide range of dining options, including traditional American fare and craft beers. In addition to its historical significance, Fraunces Tavern also offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

Did You Know?

During the American Revolution, it served as a headquarters for the Sons of Liberty, a group of patriots who fought for independence from British rule.


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