If you’re hungry for a slice of American history then maybe you should start visiting some of the oldest restaurants in USA. There’s something quite captivating about enjoying a mix of food and tradition in the historic atmosphere of an old restaurant. From drinking boozy, coffee cocktails in Portland to eating oysters in San Francisco, it’s refreshing to spend an evening out in an eatery which reflects years of American dining, including surviving the years during prohibition, and here’s where you should go.
1. Tadich Grill, San Francisco
Initially opened as a coffee stand in 1949, at the height of the Gold Rush in California, it has been a fully-operating restaurant since 1887 serving up seafood for more than 160 years. It claims to be the first in the US to grill seafood over a mesquite charcoal, inspired by it’s Croatian owner. At present there is no reservation system so if you want to try any of their oysters, Bay shrimp or any other delicious catch of broiled, sautéed, or grilled seafood, get there early!
2. McGillin’s Olde Ale House, Philadelphia
McGillin’s Olde Ale House first opened its doors the year Lincoln became president making these beer taps flowing since 1860. Like many of the oldest restaurants in the world, it has lived through countless historical events including Strawbridge’s, the Civil War and Prohibition. Nowadays, it serves up classic American food of Buffalo wings, cheese steak and tex mex, and hosts many music and sporting events.
3. Fraunces Tavern, New York City
Originally the home of New York’s mayor, Stephanus Van Cortlandt in 1686, it was renovated by Samuel Fraunces who transformed it into a restaurant and tavern in 1762. Remembered for hosting a congratulatory dinner for George Washington and his troops after they rid the British army out of New York in 1783, it currently has a museum in their honor where you can explore America’s revolutionary past. Today’s menu is lavishly varied and can be eaten within the walls of their historic rooms, or sample some of their 200 whiskeys or 130 craft beers and ciders.
4. Hubers Cafe, Portland
Here you can dine inside the Historic Oregon Pioneer Building which has been cooking up traditional turkey food since 1879 when customers would get a free turkey sandwich with coleslaw when they bought a drink. Now modernized, it continues to follow in tradition mixed in with modern American cuisine but try their signature drink of Spanish Coffee which is done with some pyrotechnics at your table.
5. Antione’s Restaurant, New Orleans
A French Quarter of New Orleans walking tour has to include a visit to Antione’s Restaurant which is still run by the fifth generation of from the relatives of its first owner, Antoine Alciatore, more than 176 years ago so also makes it the oldest family-run restaurant in America. Serving up world-renowned French-Creole cuisine and claiming to be the first for inventing Oysters Rockefeller, Eggs Sardou and Pommes de Terre Souffles.
It would seem that every city in USA has at least one eatery that is still serving up timeless classics alongside modern cuisine so next time you're visiting somewhere new, hunt down their oldest eating establishment for a taste of history.