These days, it’s easy to find out where the most popular dining spots in town are, thanks to thousands of diners posting their opinions on the internet. But more than ratings and reviews, longevity is a pretty reliable judge of a restaurant’s worth, which is why we researched the oldest restaurants in America. These eateries have managed to survive and stay open through wars, Prohibition, and more than a few food trends over the years, proving they have staying power.
Alabama: The Bright Star
This tiny café has been on the scene in Bessemer, AL, since 1907, serving patrons at its horseshoe-shaped bar. Greek immigrants started the joint, and it still serves up Mediterranean-inspired specials, like Greek-style snapper.
Alaska: The Historic Skagway Inn
Olivia’s Alaskan Bistro is a storied spot to dine at this inn in Skagway, AK. The original location opened in 1897 as a bed and breakfast and restaurant for those drawn to the Klondike Gold Rush, and you can still enjoy fresh seafood and ingredients from the onsite garden.
Arizona: The Palace Restaurant and Saloon
Established in 1877, this Prescott, AZ, restaurant first served as a central gathering (and drinking) spot for old Western figures like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. It’s since been restored to reflect the decor it boasted following a complete post-fire renovation in 1901.
Arkansas: Oark General Store
The tiny Ozark mountain town of Oark has been home to his beloved spot since 1890. Initially it sold supplies and groceries and remained open through the Great Depression—now the café serves up classic diner fare.
California: Tadich Grill
The Art Deco vibe doesn’t just remain on the outside of this San Francisco restaurant. Inside, the high ceilings, wood paneling, and majestic bar transport patrons back to 1849. They don’t take reservations, but customers flock here for fresh seafood anyway.
Colorado: Buckhorn Exchange
One of Buffalo Bill’s band members is said to have opened this Denver steakhouse back in 1893 to feed miners, cattle ranchers, and other locals. The Buckhorn’s prime cuts of meat and rustic decor (like taxidermy everywhere) keep it popular today.
Connecticut: The Griswold Inn
Sailors and soldiers found a favorite gathering spot in this Essex inn. The colonial-style building near the Connecticut River was built in 1776. Stop in to see the beautiful dining rooms, sit down for traditional Sunday Hunt Breakfast, or grab some chowder and a pint in the Tap Room.
Delaware: Jessop’s Tavern & Colonial Restaurant
Sure, Jessop’s didn’t begin serving food until the 1940s, but it’s been a landmark of New Castle since it was built in 1624. The servers still evoke that era thanks to their colonial uniforms, perfectly accented by a roaring fire in the fireplace and favorites like homemade chowder and fish and chips.
Florida: Columbia Restaurant
This extravagant Tampa restaurant boasts the title of oldest Spanish restaurant in the country. It first started turning out Cuban specialties in 1905, and things have only gotten more lively, with menu items like croquettes, paella and flan, and live flamenco performances in-house.
Georgia: The Plaza Restaurant & Oyster Bar
This storied Southern spot recently celebrated its 100th anniversary in operation. It started up in 1916 and is still going strong, offering cocktails, lunch, and dinner service and homemade desserts—including their famous homemade pies—to Thomasville residents.
Hawaii: Manago Hotel
This legendary hotel was established in Captain Cook, HI, in 1917, and the onsite restaurant is known for its local comfort foods that give guests a real taste of Hawaii. Make sure to order their famous pork chops and a few of the tasty side dishes.
Idaho: The Snake Pit
Railroad workers, miners, and loggers in Idaho’s Silver Valley have been familiar with this Enaville Resort restaurant since 1880. Wyatt Earp frequented the spot, and it still maintains that old western saloon feel. Enjoy live music while you eat, and try the Rocky Mountain Oysters…if you dare.
Illinois: Village Tavern
You can’t help but belly up to the 35-foot mahogany bar at this Long Grove tavern. It’s been in operation since 1849, and people still love it for the live entertainment and specials like prime rib and an all-you-can-eat fish fry.
Indiana: The Log Inn
Gibson County in Southeastern Indiana is home to this historic spot, where Abe Lincoln stopped on his campaign route in 1844. It also served as an Underground Railroad stop and stagecoach landmark, but now it’s revered for its fried chicken and gravy.
Iowa: Breitbach’s Country Dining
Antiques and handmade trinkets serve as the decor in this rustic restaurant. It’s been a Sherrill staple since 1852, though it burned down and was rebuilt more than once since opening. Dig into German classics like sauerkraut and sausage, as well as homemade pies.
Kansas: Hays House
This spot near the Santa Fe Trail in Council Grove, KS, used to be a trading post and a restaurant where travelers could pass through to collect mail, go to church, or grab a bite to eat. The storied joint serves specials like chicken fried steak and brisket.
Kentucky: The Old Talbott Tavern
No Bardstown bar has seen as much action as this one. The Old Talbott Tavern has been in operation since 1779—that’s before the Civil War—and pioneers, soldiers, and criminals alike have stayed under its roof or dined on its Southern staples.
New Orleans is chock-full of storied establishments, but Antoine’s has bragging rights for being the oldest family-run restaurant in the country. The French Quarter restaurant, founded in 1840, is known for inventing Oysters Rockefeller and serving a mean Baked Alaska.
Maine: Palace Diner
Most diners have some level of charm, but few as much as Biddeford’s Palace Diner, housed inside an old Pollard dining car. Back in 1927 it remained open 24 hours for local mill workers—now you’ll have to come during open hours to enjoy the Lumberjack breakfast or fried chicken.
Maryland: Robert Morris Inn
The home of a famous merchant who arrived in Oxford in 1738 was transformed into this famed inn (the oldest in America). Locals come to eat in the elegant dining room, on the scenic patio, or in the tavern, which is outfitted with brick walls, wood beams, and a cozy fireplace.
Massachusetts: Union Oyster House
The “ye olde” modifier on this restaurant’s sign isn’t just there for kitsch. Built in 1704, Union Oyster House served some of the nation’s founding fathers once it became a restaurant in 1826, and JFK eventually became a regular. You can sit at his favorite booth and enjoy oysters, chowder, and lobster rolls.
Michigan: The White Horse Inn
In operation for over 165 years, the White Horse Inn in Metamora, MI, began as a general store before it served breakfast to equestrian fox hunters during the ’20s. The bar is made from wood salvaged from the original inn that was demolished, and the dining room serves classics like fresh, lake walleye.
Minnesota: Pracna on Main
This historic restaurant first opened on the cobblestone drag of Main Street in downtown Minneapolis, MN, in 1890. Though it closed during Prohibition and didn’t open back up until the ’70s, it still stands next to the St. Anthony Theatre, serving up mini corn dogs, Pracna waffle fries, and more comfort food.
Felix Weidmann, a Swiss immigrant, started up this iconic spot in 1870 when it was located in the Union Hotel. It moved to its present location in 1923 and has seen full renovations since. Visitors to Meridian, MS, stop in for top-notch Southern cuisine, like shrimp and grits and black bottom pie.
Missouri: J. Huston Tavern
Formerly a popular rest stop along the Santa Fe Trail, this restaurant was established in 1834 by an early settler of Arrow Rock, MO. It originally was a mercantile store where western travelers could stop in to rest and eat. Now it’s known for its legendary fried chicken.
Montana: Pekin Noodle House
This family-run restaurant was one of the very first in the country to serve up Chinese specialities like chow mein and chop suey when it opened in Butte in the late 1800s. The unique layout has 17 curtained booths which gave diners, like Evil Knievel, privacy while they ate.
Nebraska: Glur’s Tavern
Since 1876, Glur’s has been a staple of Columbus, NE, which explains why it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Rumor has it that Buffalo Bill himself passed through in 1883, and patrons still frequent the spot for its drink specials and bar food.
Nevada: Casale’s Halfway Club
It might not look like anything fancy, but the Italian food at this family-owned spot is no joke. Mama Inez Casale Stempeck opened the spot in 1937, and generations later, her family is still running the place, serving meatballs and ravioli to Reno visitors.
New Hampshire: The Hancock Inn
Founded in 1789, this bed and breakfast was built in the Monadnock Region along a trade route between Vermont and Boston, making it a popular stopping point for travelers. The Hancock landmark still offers quaint accommodations and meals at Fox Tavern. Stop in for Shaker Cranberry Pot Roast or the Innkeepers’ Supper on Sundays.
New Jersey: Cranbury Inn
This gorgeous inn located in Cranbury, NJ, was established in the mid 1700s, and still boasts decor from the colonial days. Two stagecoach taverns, built in the 1800s by the innkeeper, still stand—along with the main dining room, where quality steak and seafood are served to guests.
New Mexico: El Farol
This Santa Fe spot has been around since 1835, and it’s still going strong. The rustic wood interior hosts hungry guests for Spanish tapas, live music, and flamenco shows.
New York: The ’76 House
New York’s oldest tavern still stands in the same spot it was first built 300 years ago in Tappan. It was a meeting place for patriots and housed General George Washington during The Revolutionary War. Now it’s a National Landmark and a popular spot for fireside dining and live entertainment.
North Carolina: Carolina Coffee Shop
This spot has been in operation in the Chapel Hill community since 1922, and it’s much more than a place to pick up a cup of coffee. Previously, it operated as a student post office, but now serves casual comfort food and transforms into a bar at night.
North Dakota: Peacock Alley
Originally a part of Bismarck’s Patterson Hotel, this early 1900s joint is rumored to have served alcohol illegally during Prohibition. The lobby that once hosted Teddy Roosevelt and JFK is now a bar and grill, serving prime steaks and burgers.
Ohio: The Golden Lamb
Dating back to 1803, The Golden Lamb is the oldest continuously operated hotel and restaurant in the state. Distinguished guests included 12 different U.S. presidents, Harriet Beecher Stower, and more. Antique furniture decorates the themed dining rooms, where visitors dig into fried-chicken dinners and the famous sauerkraut balls. Don’t knock em ’til you try em!
Oklahoma: Cattlemen’s Steakhouse
The Stockyard City district of Oklahoma City is home to this famed restaurant. A crowd of ranchers, cowboys, and cattle haulers kept it busy long after opening in 1910, and their “perfect steak” still brings people through the doors.
Oregon: Huber’s Café
Roast turkey dinners aren’t reserved for Thanksgiving at this Portland establishment. Since it was established in 1879, the specialty has been a year-round best-seller. Don’t forget to order their famous Spanish coffee to wash it down.
Pennsylvania: McGillin’s Olde Ale House
Opened just before the start of the Civil War, this longstanding restaurant and tavern (established in 1860) has really seen it all. Tea replaced alcohol here during Prohibition, but now the joint serves up cheesesteaks and hosts karaoke in a vibrant pub atmosphere.
Rhode Island: White Horse Tavern
The colonial charm definitely remains at White Horse Tavern, the oldest tavern in the country. The Newport landmark that hosted British soldiers, founding fathers and pirates alike is the place to go for fresh fish, clams and lobster from Narragansett Bay, plus produce from local farms.
South Carolina: Henry’s House
Head to North Market Street in downtown Charleston for a true taste of the city’s history. This was one of the first fish houses in town, and the restaurant still whips up classic lowcountry fare like shrimp and grits, crab soup and crab cakes, made from a fourth generation family recipe.
South Dakota: Legends Steakhouse
The peak of the Gold Rush brought a flood of visitors to Deadwood, and this eatery, originally part of the Silverado Franklin Hotel, became a local hotspot. It was built in 1902 on the site of one of the first gold discoveries, and greats such as John Wayne, Buffalo Bill, and Teddy Roosevelt stopped in through the years for prime rib.
Nashville might bring to mind hot chicken and biscuits, but chili parlors like Varallo’s aren’t to be overlooked. This place, dating back to 1907, has been run by family for five generations, serving “chili three ways,” including a classic bowl of chili, chili over spaghetti, and chili with meaty hunks of tamale.
Texas: Scholz Garten
German and Texan food come together in beautiful harmony at this restaurant and beergarden that’s been in Austin since 1866. August Scholz, a German immigrant, opened the place after the Civli War ended, and crowds flock here to celebrate UT football wins while scarfing soft pretzels, fried chicken, and beyond.
Utah: The Bluebird Restaurant
After opening its doors in 1923, The Bluebird struggled through the Depression, but managed to pull through thanks to its devoted founders. The ballroom on the top floor saw frequent dances back in the day; now it offers a simple yet varied menu to Logan visitors.
Vermont: Ye Olde Tavern
The oldest inn in Vermont can be found in Manchester Center, but its earliest days it was merely a tavern. The 1790 structure eventually gained an impressive ballroom with sprung floors and was named Ye Olde Tavern in 1975. Now it’s a fine-dining hotspot in the area.
Virginia: The Red Fox Inn & Tavern
The beautiful worn exterior, historical paintings, and bar made from an old surgeon’s table immediately evoke the history behind this Middleburg landmark. The old fox hunting grounds offer a romantic setting to dine on classic Virginia peanut soup and other high-end offerings.
Washington: The Horseshoe Café
Bellingham is home to the oldest 24-hour restaurant in the country, though today it only remains open until 4am on weekends. Established in 1886, the café kept miners and storekeepers fed during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in 1958.
West Virginia: North End Tavern and Brewery
This casual establishment in Parkersburg is said to have opened in 1899, making it the oldest restaurant in the state. The brewery began in 1997, and their flagship Roedy’s Red amber ale is a must-order, along with the NET burger.
Wisconsin: Red Circle Inn
Since 1848, diners have flocked to this Nashotah restaurant for hearty steak, pork and lamb dishes, but a local favorite is the roast duck with wild rice. Updates to the dining room have removed original details like a working fireplace, but the renovations have diners coming through the doors 168 years after its opening.
Wyoming: Miners and Stockman’s Steakhouse & Spirits
This rustic steakhouse in Hartville is housed in one of the only remaining structures from Old Fort Laramie, and the Old West atmosphere lives on. The impressive whiskey selection is great company while drinking in the 1862 lore about outlaws, bank robbers, and cattle rustlers who supposedly used this spot as a hideout.
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