The Oldest Restaurant in Every State
Some things just get better with age. Like these historic eateries, which, in a few cases, have been serving up food since the 17th century. Whether it's a haunted inn or a smokey saloon, here is the oldest restaurant in each of the 50 states.
The Bright Star, Bessemer
If there was an Academy Award for the food world, it would be the “America’s Classic” honor doled out by the prestigious James Beard Foundation. And in 2010, The Bright Star went from not only being the oldest restaurant in Alabama but also being the first in the state to win such an award.
Olivia’s at the Historic Skagway Inn, Skagway
Step back in time (er, all the way back to 1897) at this Victorian inn in the center of the Klondike Gold Rush National Park Historic District. Fresh Alaskan seafood is the star here so dig into a piping hot pile of king crab legs or a plate of the smoked salmon pastry puffs.
The Longhorn Restaurant, Tombstone
Situated in the old Bucket of Blood saloon (where notorious pioneer Vigil Earp was shot), the Longhorn Restaurant is famous for its barbecue-smoked pork ribs and the super sweet prickly pear margarita. And after being open for over 100 years, let’s just this isn’t their first rodeo…
White House Cafe, Camden
Oark General Store may be the oldest store in Arkansas (it opened in 1890), but it hasn’t had a restaurant all those years. So it has to relinquish the title of oldest continuously-operated restaurant to the White House Cafe, originally started in 1907 as a spot for railroad workers to grab a bite to eat. It now holds the state’s oldest liquor license, too.
Tadich Grill, San Francisco
Started back in 1849 during the California Gold Rush, this old-school fish house is still, well, pure gold. Their signature dish is the seafood cioppino, a tomato-based stew filled with clams, scallops, mussels, prawns, white fish, shrimp, and crab.
Buckhorn Exchange, Denver
For all the carnivores out there, this 120-year-old steakhouse will hit the spot. The menu features everything from the classics (steak, prime rib, salmon and pork) to the curious (game hen, Rocky Mountain Oysters and even alligator tail). And if you really love meat and potatoes, check out these 50 filling recipes.
The Griswold Inn, Essex
1776 isn’t just the year that the Declaration of Independence was signed—it’s also the year the Griswold Inn opened its doors. Stop in at the “Gris” (as it’s known to the locals) on a Saturday night to enjoy a nightcap and some live music in the Tap Room, which has been voted Connecticut’s best bar.
Kelly’s Logan House, Wilmington
If there’s one place that knows how to do St. Patrick’s Day right, it’s Kelly’s. The oldest family-owned Irish bar in the entire United States hosts a 5K race every year, awards one lucky lad or lass the “Best Dressed Leprechaun,” and, of course, serves traditional tavern fare. They’d definitely approve of these 45 classic Irish recipes (and so will you!).
Columbia Restaurant, Tampa Bay
Dinner? More like “fiesta” at Florida’s oldest restaurant where, since 1905, they’ve been whipping up flavor-packed family recipes with a Mexican twist. On weeknights, while you eat your filet mignon chacho or pork a la cubana, you’ll be treated to a fiery flamenco dance show.
The Plaza Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Thomasville
While you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at The Plaza Restaurant & Oyster Bar (which just celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016), make sure you save room for dessert. And by dessert, we mean the chef’s homemade pies which are baked using a 50-year old recipe. If you’re too full, make one of these sweet Southern pies at home later.
Manago Hotel Restaurant, Captain Cook
Back in 1917, a young Japanese woman took $100 started a restaurant. Now, more than a hundred years later, the Manago Hotel Restaurant is still going. Order the crowd favorite pan-seared pork chops served over steamed rice and smothered in brown gravy.
The Snake Pit, Kingston
Don’t worry—there aren’t actually any snakes at this longstanding Idaho watering hole. But there are plenty of unique treasures left over from when the bar was part brothel, part gambling den, part pit stop for miners. If you’re feeling brave, try the Rocky Mountain Oysters which are available “as long as the bulls cooperate,” according to the menu.
The Village Tavern, Long Grove
Snag a seat at the antique mahogany “Presidents Bar” for a drink by the crackling fireplace while you wait for your table at this Long Grove landmark. The best night to visit is Friday, when the tavern hosts its weekly all-you-can-eat fish fry. From crispy cod to perfectly seasoned French fries, here’s how you can host your own fish fry.
The Log Inn, Haubstadt
Named one of Indiana’s favorite hometown restaurants, this former trading post and stagecoach stop still boasts the log dining room where Abraham Lincoln ate dinner back in 1844 on the campaign trail. Dinner is served family style and each diner gets their choice of meat with mashed potatoes, veggies and hot buttered rolls.
Breitbach’s Country Dining, Sherrill
Breakfast, lunch, dinner… It doesn’t matter what you’re in the mood for, Breitbach’s has it. And the Iowan institution—beloved for its pillowy pies in flavors like coconut cream and rhubarb custard—isn’t actually located in Sherrill. It’s in Balltown, a town so small (the population is less than 100!), it doesn’t even have its own zip code.
Hays House, Council Grove
The oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi River, Hays House (which was started by Daniel Boone’s grandson) has been a Kansas must-visit since 1857. You can’t leave without indulging in the crispy golden fried chicken followed by a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.
Talbott Tavern, Bardstown
Enter this historic home at your own risk: There have been many stories told of ghost encounters including dishes moving by themselves and shadows appearing in mirrors. If you make it through the main course without getting spooked, reward yourself with a slice of the signature Talbott Tavern pie, made with citrusy meringue.
Antoine’s Restaurant, New Orleans
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… at least in the case of Antoine’s, which has survived every major event from the Civil War to Prohibition. And not only survived, but thrived! The French Quarter landmark—which is now one of the best spots for authentic Creole cuisine in New Orleans—also invented oysters Rockefeller in 1899. Try making the elegant entree yourself with these simple steps.
Palace Diner, Biddeford
Show up early to snag one of the 15 vinyl barstools at the counter in this old dining car. All stainless steel and pastel tiles, the Palace Diner is filled with nostalgia—and an elevated twist on your usual greasy spoon fare. Fan favorites include the brown butter banana bread and the Palace potatoes.
Old South Mountain Inn, Boonsboro
Gordon Ramsay isn’t the only one who makes a mean beef Wellington—Maryland’s most historic restaurant has been serving perfect pastry-wrapped steaks for over 275 years. The stone Civil War mansion sits atop Turner’s Gap, so your dinner comes with a side of stunning panoramic views.
Feeling inspired? Here’s a recipe for beef Wellington even beginners can nail.
Union Oyster House, Boston
Operating since 1826 in downtown Boston, Union Oyster House made a name for itself serving up fresh oysters and clam chowder.
Sleder’s Tavern, Traverse City
Slide into one of the original mahogany booths in Sleder’s and order a heaping plate of Moose Chips, crispy taters doused in cheese and chili. (They’re almost as good as these 80 mouthwatering recipes for serious spud lovers!) On your way out, it’s tradition to kiss Randolph, who is the restaurant’s stuffed moose mascot, on the nose for good luck.
Hubbell House, Mantorville
If it’s good enough for two former U.S. presidents (Eisenhower and Grant), then Hubbell House is definitely good enough for us. Started four years before Minnesota even became a state in 1854, the National Historic Site has become a fine dining favorite among many. They’re rumored to have some of the best steaks in the state!
Weidmann’s Restaurant, Meridian
Starting your meal with bread and butter is so overrated. At Weidmann’s, you’ll be given a crock of peanut butter and assorted crackers. It’s a tradition that began in the 1940s (even though Weidmann’s has been around since 1870) during World War II when butter was scarce. Swapping it out for its nutty cousin was something that, well, stuck—pun intended.
J. Huston Tavern, Arrow Rock
Eat inside the rustic dining room of what used to be the Huston family home, located at the Arrow Rock State Historic Site, or take your meal to go for the perfect picnic. Set up a spot along the streets of the former bustling river town and sink your teeth into what’s been voted Missouri’s best fried chicken.
Pekin Noodle Parlor, Butte
When you think Montana, you probably don’t think Chinese food. But it turns out the longest operating restaurant in the state is just that. It wasn’t always serving up pork chow mein and egg foo young, though—Pekin Noodle Parlor used to be an opium den and brothel (yikes!).
Glur’s Tavern, Columbus
Take a page out of wild Buffalo Bill’s book and saddle up to the bar at this Nebraska joint, best known for its beer and burgers since 1876. Glur’s, which is the oldest bar west of the Missouri River, may be off the beaten path but it’s well worth the drive for the food and the history. If you don’t want to make the trek, here are 10 ways to jazz up your burgers at home.
Casale’s Halfway Club, Reno
Literally smack dab between Reno and Sparks (hence the name), Casale’s Halfway Club has been dishing up traditional Italian food for over 70 years, courtesy of founder “Mama” Inez. Slurp up some spaghetti atop a red and white checkered tablecloth, then whip up one of these delizioso desserts when you get home to finish it off.
The Hancock Inn, Hancock
On Sunday nights, New Hampshire’s oldest restaurant—the Fox Tavern at the Hancock Inn—serves a classic Innkeeper’s Supper with elegant versions of your favorite family meals like a New England boil or roast pork. Book a room upstairs and come back for breakfast complete with made-from-scratch johnny cakes drowning in local maple syrup.
The Cranbury Inn, Cranbury
Come for dinner to taste the signature Cranbury Inn crab cakes or stop by for Sunday’s Champagne Brunch, served buffet-style with all-you-can-drink bubbly. And since you can never have too much brunch, here’s how to host your own stress-free breakfast party.
El Farol, Santa Fe
If good things come in small packages, then El Farol is right where you want to be. Serving up tiny tapas dishes exploding with big flavors, the Santa Fe hot spot is equally as vibrant as its paella. From flamenco dancers to live guitar music to signature sangrias, it’s a unique experience that’s over 180 years in the making.
Fraunces Tavern, New York City
Stroll through NYC’s Financial District and you just might stumble upon Fraunces Tavern, a local watering hole since 1719. It now features eight different dining spaces, but you’ll want to choose the Tallmadge Room, where you can order the notorious chicken pot pie, which happens to be the same dish that George Washington enjoyed when he would visit the tavern.
Carolina Coffee Shop, Chapel Hill
“Meet. Eat. Drink.” That’s the slogan of North Carolina’s oldest restaurant, tucked away on Franklin Street. It may be open seven days a week but you have to go for the brunch, bursting with Southern comfort food. Indulge in a brie and bacon sandwich, biscuits and gravy, or the shop’s famous cornflake French toast.
Peacock Alley, Bismarck
This North Dakota grill and bar takes the term “oldie-but-goodie” to a new level. Because while it may be the longest operating restaurant in the state, it’s still killing it when it comes to its food, especially the steak—last year it was awarded “Best Steakhouse in North Dakota.” The secret? A secret spice blend, the finest beef, and a 21-day aging process. We’ll take it.
The Golden Lamb, Lebanon
Despite the name, lamb isn’t the only thing this restaurant has been mastering since it started in 1803. Just ask yourself, “What would Charles Dickens or Annie Oakley do?” Both have visited the Ohio eatery (along with 12 presidents)… and we don’t know for sure what they ordered, but the famous sauerkraut balls—a spicy blend of pork, beef, and kraut—are a good bet.
Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, Oklahoma City
Forget french fries—at this 107 year-old steakhouse, it’s all about lamb fries. The breaded sheep testicles are an Oklahoma tradition, and a great warm-up for the main course: a hunk of juicy meat that’s so big, the menu says it’s “two steaks in one.”
Wish the steaks you cook could taste that good? Follow these expert tips the next time you’re grilling.
Flaming Spanish coffee is definitely the move to make at Huber’s in Portland. Yes, your drink will be on fire but yes, it’s like heaven in a cup. If that’s a little too adventurous for you, head to mahogany-lined dining room set underneath sparkling stained glass for their famous turkey dinner. Whatever you don’t eat, take home to use in these tasty turkey leftover recipes.
McGillin’s Olde Ale House, Philadelphia
Cold beer and good food, that’s what they’ve been pushing out of McGillin’s Olde Ale House for over 150 years. The 30 taps have been flowing since 1860 and offer everything from classic domestics to local microbrews. They even have the only stout that’s brewed exclusively in Ireland. Know what that would go well with? One of these 45 yummy Irish dishes.
White Horse Tavern, Newport
Talk about a throwback! The White Horse Tavern first opened its doors all the way back in 1673, when colonists and British soldiers alike used to frequent its bar. Don’t miss the entrees featuring clams and lobster fresh from nearby Narragansett Bay or the artisan cheeses and honey from local farmers.
Villa Tronco, Columbia
Mamma mia! The food at this Italian institution—known as the place that first brought pizza to South Carolina—is what cheesy, carb-filled dreams are made of. Come in on one of their Broadway and Opera Nights, a longstanding tradition where local musicians belt out show tunes while you dine.
Legends Steakhouse, Deadwood
The steaks and chops here are the stuff of, well, legends. Seriously—big names in western history like Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock have all been patrons of this South Dakota steakhouse. Go big or go home with the steak Oscar, a seven-ounce filet topped with a pile of jumbo crabmeat and drizzled in buttery Hollandaise sauce.
Varallo’s Restaurant, Nashville
Chili is the name of the game at Varallo’s, a tiny mom-and-pop shop where Tennesseeans have been slurping spaghetti for over 100 years. Try whipping up your own batch of beefy goodness, or stop in for their famous chili three ways served with hot tamales atop a bed of noodles. Bonus: They cut the spaghetti up ahead of time so you won’t make a mess!
Scholz Garten, Austin
Post up at a picnic table on the patio with a pint (say that five times fast!) at this backyard bier garten that’s been keeping Austin well-hydrated since 1866. They offer traditional German fare all year round (like these 45 Oktoberfest-worthy dishes), including a massive doughy soft pretzel with mustard, beer cheese, and garlic butter for dipping.
The Bluebird Restaurant, Logan
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. And by blue, we mean the Bluebird Restaurant in downtown Logan, where the marble soda fountain still reigns supreme. First-timers should try the ironport, a regional soft drink similar to cream soda. If you just can’t get enough of the loaded ice cream sundaes, make one of our all-time favorite frozen treats.
Ye Olde Tavern, Manchester Center
Classical music, slanted floors, and antique decor are just some of what makes this 200-year-old tavern an authentic Colonial-era dining experience. By candlelight, you’ll be served crispy cranberry fritters dipped in maple butter to start followed by a pot roast braised in the tavern’s own Taproom Ale.
The Red Fox Inn & Tavern, Middleburg
Virginia is for lovers (and eaters) at the romantic Red Fox Inn in the Blue Ridge mountains, where even Jackie Kennedy used to enjoy a hot meal during the fall foxhunting season. With a fire roaring in the hearth, take a seat in the fieldstone tavern for a plate of their signature crab cakes served atop goat cheese grits.
Horseshoe Cafe, Bellingham
Known around town as “The Shoe,” this hole-in-the-wall bar started out as a bait and tackle shop for hunters and fishers back in 1886. It’s now a hot spot for all-day breakfast, which the chefs whip up using the freshest local ingredients. You’ll want to ask for their signature chicken-fried chicken smothered in homemade pork sausage gravy.
North End Tavern, Parkersburg
It’s not just the oldest continuously operated tavern in the wild and wonderful state—North End is also now the oldest brewery. Pair a cold pint of Roedy’s Red, their flagship amber ale, with one of the restaurant’s famous oversized burgers, topped the way you want it (we recommend asking for one of these tasty toppings!).
Red Circle Inn, Nashotah
Always fresh, never frozen—that’s what you can expect out of every dish served at this Wisconsin inn, once owned by Frederick Pabst of PBR beer (we thought that red circle looked familiar…). Order some of the lake-to-table seafood like the fresh whitefish fillet or the alder planked salmon. Fish fans will also love these 40 delicious dinner dishes starring everything from tilapia to cod.
Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse & Spirits, Hartville
There may only be 62 people living in Hartville, Wyoming’s oldest incorporated town, but people drive from all over the Cowboy State for a thick juicy steak at Main Street’s historic bar. What makes the beef so special here? It’s made with only the highest quality USDA Prime meat that goes through a secret aging process. You can grill up your own ribeye following these pro chef tips.