- Every restaurant has a story, especially when said restaurant is older than the United States of America.
- For example, The ’76 House in Tappan, New York, was the site of key moments during the Revolutionary War.
- The Buckhorn Exchange in Denver, Colorado, has a unique style with taxidermied animals covering most of the dining room’s walls.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
While the US is nowhere near as old as many other countries in the world, there’s still plenty of history to be found, especially when it comes to food.
From inns and taverns that have been around since the Revolutionary War to restaurants that were prominent watering holes in the days of the Wild West, every state has a unique story regarding its oldest restaurant.
As restaurants nationwide are required to shift their business practices as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important now than ever before to support these veritable American landmarks.
Keep reading for the oldest restaurant – or nearly the oldest – in every state.
ALABAMA: Payne’s Sandwich Shop and Soda Fountain, Scottsboro
This old-fashioned restaurant dates all the way back to 1869. Whether you sit in a booth or right at the soda fountain, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time at Payne’s Sandwich Shop and Soda Fountain.
Classic menu items include chicken melts and ice cream sundaes.
ALASKA: The Historic Skagway Inn, Skagway
Olivia’s Bistro at the Historic Skagway Inn in southeast Alaska dates back to 1897. The charming inn specializes in local seafood with dishes like smoked salmon puff pastry and Alaskan halibut cheeks.
ARIZONA: The Palace Restaurant and Saloon, Prescott
This frontier saloon has served locals and tourists alike since the 1870s.
The Palace Restaurant and Saloon serves lunch, dinner, and drinks in an authentic rustic fashion. History buffs also love the Western-themed dinner theatre.
ARKANSAS: Oark General Store, Oark
The Oark General Store has been the perfect roadside stop since it first opened in 1890. Today, the store still sells gasoline and groceries, but it is also famous for its daily breakfast and delicious pies.
CALIFORNIA: Tadich Grill, San Francisco
Tadich Grill serves classic San Francisco cuisine, including seafood cioppino and Hangtown Fry, an oyster and bacon frittata.
The restaurant first opened in 1849, and it’s been in the same family since the late 1920s.
COLORADO: The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver
First opened in 1893, the Buckhorn Exchange is one of the oldest steakhouses in the US. Guests may come for the delicious menu, but they stay for the unique décor, which includes a large collection of taxidermied animals.
CONNECTICUT: The Griswold Inn, Essex
In addition to providing lodging, the Griswold Inn also offers a charming restaurant and taproom.
The inn has been operating since 1776 in the small Connecticut town of Essex. Popular menu items include clam chowder and sauteed salmon.
DELAWARE: Kelly’s Logan House, Wilmington
Aside from being the oldest restaurant in Delaware, Kelly’s Logan House has also been the go-to spot for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Wilmington for 150 years.
The Irish bar and restaurant specializes in comforting pub food, including everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to pork nachos.
FLORIDA: Columbia Restaurant, Tampa
Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida was founded by Cuban immigrants in 1905. Their original menu specialties included Cuban coffee and sandwiches, and the menu evolved from there.
Today, customers love the devil crab croquettes and other samplings from the restaurant’s tapas menu.
GEORGIA: The Plaza Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Thomasville
The Plaza Restaurant & Oyster Bar has been serving families for over 100 years in southwestern Georgia.
The restaurant has maintained a Greek influence in its menu from its many Greek owners over the years, as well as a variety of seafood dishes.
HAWAII: Manago Hotel Restaurant, Captain Cook
The restaurant at the Manago Hotel in Captain Cook dates back to 1917, years before Hawaii officially became a state.
Since its founding, the restaurant has served family-style pork chops, making it the perfect dinner spot for both locals and tourists.
IDAHO: The Snake Pit, Kingston
Located in a rustic wooden building, the Snake Pit has seen its fair share of change over the course of its nearly 140-year history.
Since the restaurant opened in 1880, it has gone through several different names and owners, although it is still a hub for travelers visiting the Coeur d’Alene National Forest.
ILLINOIS: The Village Tavern, Long Grove
The Village Tavern in Long Grove, Illinois, has been a local favorite since 1847. Visitors can still count on the restaurant for comfort food with items like baked French onion soup and a hot corned beef sandwich.
INDIANA: The Log Inn, Haubstadt
The Log Inn prides itself on the fact that President Abraham Lincoln once visited the restaurant in 1844. Aside from a helpful dose of history, the restaurant is also known for its delicious menu of American comfort foods, including homemade pies.
IOWA: Breitbach’s Country Dining, Balltown
Breitbach’s Country Dining means business when it comes to family dining. The restaurant has been in the same family for six generations.
The Breitbachs also take their food very seriously. Their deep-fried pork tenderloin has earned a spot on the Iowa Pork Association’s Pork Tenderloin Trail, although their curbside menu doesn’t currently have the item.
KANSAS: Hays House 1857, Council Grove
Hays House was founded by explorer Daniel Boone’s great-grandson, Seth Hays, in 1857. From then on, the establishment was a popular restaurant as well as a trading post for the local area.
Customers today will still get a historic feel when they walk through the doors. Some of their classic menu items include skillet fried chicken and cranberry-strawberry pie.
KENTUCKY: The Old Talbott Tavern, Bardstown
The Old Talbott Tavern has offered food and shelter to travelers since the late 1700s (it was built in 1779). It was particularly popular among people traveling west by stagecoach – even pioneer and explorer Daniel Boone stopped at the tavern during his travels.
Plus, the tavern is also reportedly haunted, giving ghost hunters a thrill (and a place to refuel).
LOUISIANA: Antoine’s Restaurant, New Orleans
Antoine’s Restaurant opened in 1840, and it has evolved into one of New Orleans’ hottest brunch spots.
In addition to specials like eggs Benedict and a crab meat omelette, the historic restaurant provides a luxurious atmosphere perfect for anyone looking to explore the Big Easy.
MAINE: The Palace Diner, Biddeford
The Palace Diner in Biddeford, Maine, may be small, although it is entirely worth the cramped quarters. The restaurant, housed in an old train dining car, has been operating since 1927.
Today, visitors flock to the unique restaurant for classic diner breakfast specialties in a vintage atmosphere.
MARYLAND: Old South Mountain Inn, Boonsboro
The Old South Mountain Inn, founded as early as 1732, is the perfect place to eat after visiting the historic sites of the Antietam Battlefield and Washington Monument State Park.
Plus, you can’t visit Maryland without enjoying classic seafood dishes like crab cakes and lobster bisque.
MASSACHUSETTS: Warren Tavern, Charlestown
Massachusetts is filled with early American history, and the Warren Tavern in Charlestown is no exception. The restaurant has been in operation since 1780, and the historic presence remains strong.
Even the menu has a historic flair, including a burger called the “Sons of Liberty Burger.”
MICHIGAN: The White Horse Inn, Metamora
The White Horse Inn began serving customers in 1850, and the establishment has been providing cozy getaways during even the coldest Michigan winters ever since.
Classic menu items include pot roast and fish fry.
MINNESOTA: Hubbel House, Mantorville
The Hubbel House has been serving customers since 1854, five years before Minnesota was officially granted statehood.
History still plays an important role in the restaurant’s operation, since some of their dining rooms are named after famous historical figures. In addition to enjoying a variety of meat-focused comfort dishes, customers can also explore historical documents and artifacts while at the restaurant.
MISSISSIPPI: Weidmann’s, Meridian
Weidmann’s restaurant in Meridian, Mississippi, was founded by an immigrant from Switzerland in 1870. Since then, the restaurant has been a staple in the local community.
Staying true to its history, the restaurant still sets every table with a jar of peanut butter and crackers, a tradition they’ve been practicing since the butter shortages of World War II.
MISSOURI: J Huston Tavern, Arrow Rock
If you’re looking for a classic meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and, of course, a biscuit, look no further than the J Huston Tavern.
Founded in 1834, the tavern began as a family home that eventually started offering food and lodging for travelers in the area. The restaurant is still known for its warm hospitality to this day.
The restaurant is currently closed for reconstruction after a fire and is set to reopen in 2021.
MONTANA: Pekin Noodle Parlor, Butte
The Pekin Noodle Parlor was founded by immigrants in 1911 and prides itself on being one of the first – as well as continuously operated – Chinese-American restaurants in the US.
Customers can choose from a wide variety of Chinese dishes as well as classic American sandwiches at this hybrid restaurant that’s still family-owned.
NEBRASKA: Glur’s Tavern, Columbus
Glur’s Tavern has remained true to its historic roots that date all the way back to 1876. Today, the restaurant is a family favorite that’s known for its burgers, but in its early days, the tavern was known to be frequented by the old Western hero, Buffalo Bill.
NEVADA: The Martin Hotel, Winnemucca
The Martin Hotel in Winnemucca, Nevada, is a unique eatery that specializes in Basque dishes and has been open since 1898.
Today, the restaurant serves up dishes like pork loin simmered with garlic and pimentos and Basque sweet bread.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Hancock Inn, Hancock
The Hancock Inn is a bed and breakfast with classic New England charm. The historic inn has been open since 1789.
The inn’s restaurant, The Fox Tavern, serves classic dishes with a gourmet twist, like slow-cooked grits with mussels.
NEW JERSEY: The Black Horse Tavern and Pub, Mendham
The Black Horse Tavern and Pub in Mendham, New Jersey, prides itself in having been in business for over 270 years. Originally a stage coach house in the mid-1700s, the restaurant now specializes in farm-to-table American cuisine.
NEW MEXICO: El Farol, Santa Fe
This historic restaurant and bar in Santa Fe, New Mexico, dates back to 1835.
Today, El Farol specializes in tapas, steaks, and paella. Customers can even enjoy entertainment from musicians and Flamenco dancers.
NEW YORK: The ’76 House, Tappan
The ’76 House holds a special place in American history, since the restaurant bore witness to crucial moments of the Revolutionary War.
According to the restaurant’s website, the ’76 House acted as a prison for Major John Andre, a spy who worked alongside the famous traitor Benedict Arnold, until he was executed.
Today, customers enjoy the restaurant’s historic feel alongside classic dishes, art, and live music.
NORTH CAROLINA: Carolina Coffee Shop, Chapel Hill
Located in the charming college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Carolina Coffee Shop has been a local institution for almost 100 years.
While it’s labeled a coffee shop, the establishment also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even has a thriving bar scene.
NORTH DAKOTA: Peacock Alley, Bismarck
Peacock Alley is a classic American-style bar and grill dating back to 1933. Located in Bismarck, North Dakota, the restaurant opened in the historic Paterson Hotel just as Prohibition ended in the US.
Peacock Alley is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
OHIO: The Golden Lamb, Lebanon
The establishment first opened in 1803, and has been in the same family since 1926. Its on-site restaurant is known for its signature turkey dinner as well as its hickory roasted prime rib.
OKLAHOMA: Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, Oklahoma City
When it first opened in 1910, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse was most popular among ranchers, cowboys, and cattle haulers.
Over 100 years later, customers still enjoy hearty meals from the classic restaurant that has served famous clientele, from President George H.W. Bush to Reba McEntire.
OREGON: Hubers Cafe, Portland
Hubers Cafe first opened in Portland in 1879, although the restaurant has been serving customers at its current location since 1910.
In its early days, the historic restaurant was known for its tradition of serving free turkey sandwiches and coleslaw to patrons who bought drinks.
Today, you’ll have to pay for your turkey sandwich, but the classic dish is still a restaurant specialty.
PENNSYLVANIA: The Stockyard Inn, Lancaster
The Stockyard Inn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, claims to be one of the oldest continuously operating steakhouses in US after opening in 1750.
Before his term as president of the United States, James Buchanan was one of the original owners of the property.
Today, the Stockyard Inn remains dedicated to serving high-quality meat that they cut and trim in their very own butcher shop.
RHODE ISLAND: The White Horse Tavern, Newport
The White Horse Tavern is not only the oldest restaurant in Rhode Island, it is also one of the oldest in the entire country.
Dating all the way back to 1673, the historic restaurant, housed in a red barn, is filled with history. The restaurant also stays true to its roots, maintaining a menu that focuses on local products like honey, cheese, and seafood.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Henry’s On The Market, Charleston
According to its website, Henry’s On The Market “was the only place to be in Charleston” from 1930 to 1960. While the restaurant has gone through various transformations over the years, it is now a popular spot for live music and features a rooftop bar and dance lounge.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Legends Steakhouse, Deadwood
Located in the Franklin Hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota, Legends Steakhouse lives up to its name. The hotel and restaurant, which date back to 1903, have hosted President Theodore Roosevelt and other important historical figures.
Today, the restaurant serves top-notch steaks with rustic charm.
TENNESSEE: Varallo’s, Nashville
Vallaro’s is one of the few remaining “chili parlors” in the US, serving lunch customers with only the best local chili.
The old-school, 120-year-old restaurant is still going strong with its three varieties of chili: classic, spaghetti, and tamale.
However, the restaurant is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
TEXAS: The Stagecoach Inn, Salado
When it opened up shop in 1852, the Stagecoach Inn was, as its name suggests, a popular stop for traveling stagecoaches.
Today, the historic inn has honored its history with its classic, cozy southwestern design throughout. The restaurant is known for its traditional four-course menu, which includes specialties such as Southern-style fried catfish and chicken fried steak.
UTAH: Hi-Mountain Drug, Kamas
This classic convenience store and restaurant combination is perfect for those looking for a typical American meal.
From bacon cheeseburgers to fried pickles, Hi-Mountain Drug in Kamas, Utah – which opened as a confectionary in the early 1900s – is a local go-to for comfort food in a old-school setting.
VERMONT: Ye Olde Tavern, Manchester
As its name suggests, Ye Olde Tavern in Manchester, Vermont, has a lengthy history, dating back to 1790.
The historic restaurant is perfect for a cozy meal any time of year, and specializes in New England cuisine like lobster bisque and traditional pot roast.
VIRGINIA: The Red Fox Tavern, Middleburg
Located in a charming stone building in Middleburg, Virginia, The Red Fox Tavern dates back to 1728.
Today, the restaurant welcomes both locals and travelers who enjoy comforting dishes like braised beef short ribs and caramelized sea scallops.
The Red Fox Tavern is closed until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic.
WASHINGTON: Horseshoe Cafe, Bellingham
Since 1886, the Horseshoe Cafe in Bellingham, Washington, was been a local favorite. From breakfast waffles to juicy burgers, this restaurant has been an expert in comfort food for over 130 years.
WEST VIRGINIA: North End Tavern & Brewery, Parkersburg
In addition to serving delicious pub food, this restaurant also serves beer from its very own brewery.
The North End Tavern & Brewery has been in business since 1899, and its classic menu and atmosphere makes customers feel as if they’ve traveled back in time.
WISCONSIN: Red Circle Inn & Bistro, Nashotah
Located in a stately home that opened in 1848, The Red Circle Inn & Bistro is a cozy escape in Nashotah, Wisconsin.
WYOMING: Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse & Spirits, Hartville
The name of this restaurant reveals plenty about its extensive history in Wyoming. Since it first opened in 1862, Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse & Spirits has been a local favorite.
Today, locals and travelers still enjoy the rustic bar and classic menu.
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