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The Oldest Restaurants in America, Ranked

Hayden Katz History /

With new restaurants opening up left and right, it's sometimes nice to enjoy quality food at a local tavern that has been around for years. Here's a list of old grub hubs still going strong in America.

30. The Bluebird – Utah (96 Years Old)

The Bluebird restaurant in Logan, Utah, has been serving up classic milkshakes and sandwiches since 1914. But, that's not all, there are other delicious treats offered for their customers to enjoy.

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Such as coffee, a thick cut of prime rib, and many types of ice cream flavors. From the food to the history, visiting The Bluebird is sure to be an appetizing adventure. The best part of it all, is that the restaurant has many floors, one of them being a banquet hall, named the Florentine Room.

29. Carolina Coffee Shop – North Carolina (98 Years Old)

The Carolina Coffee Shop was the first restaurant to serve up a stack of pancakes in 1922. They then expanded the menu to include a similar yet equally yummy dish, french toast. Since then, many locals and tourists visiting Chapel Hill, North Caroline stop by to enjoy breakfast. UNC students also enjoy meals at the coffee shop.

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Of course, along with the morning sweets comes a piping hot cup of coffee. Diner goers have been enjoying this diner for many years. It's been around for so long that it even lived through many crucial historic moments, such as the Great Depression and World War II.

28. Perkin Noodle Parlor – Montana (109 Years Old)

It may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that the first-ever Chinese food establishment was opened in Butte, Montana. Mostly because other cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles are arguably more recognized for their larger Chinese communities.

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The Perkin Noodle Parlor opened in 1911, after coal mining jobs spiked in the late 1800's- early 1900's. This is why the restaurant is still standing in a less busy area. But that didn't stop the eatery from gaining success. It even helped enlarge the Chinese community in Butte.

27. Cattlemen’s Steakhouse – Oklahoma (109 Years Old)

Steak is a classic delicious meal that has been enjoyed by Americans for many years. Arguably one of the nation's most delicious slices of meat can be found today in Oklahoma, at Cattlemen's Steakhouse. Although, it wasn't as well-liked when it first opened up at least 109 years ago.

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The restaurant started as a tiny cafe, and it turned into a steakhouse when a new owner took over. Gene Wade and the original founder played a game of dice to decide the fate of the eatery. Ultimately, Wade won after rolling a six, and he made Cattelemens's what it is today.

26. The Bright Star – Alabama (112 Years Old)

Travelers headed towards the south should consider making a stop at Birmingham, Alabama, to eat delicious Greek food at The Bright Star. Be warned though, since this old-time restaurant's menu included various types of dishes. Visitors can enjoy a meal of their infamous seafood gumbo and other tasty treats.

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The extended menu might be a reason why The Bright Star was named one of the cities top 3 restaurants to eat at. That's an amazing accomplishment considering that when it was first opened over 110 years ago, only 25 customers could fit inside. While today 330 guests are allowed.

25. North End Tavern & Brewery – West Virginia (121 Years Old)

Residents of Parkersburg, West Virginia, typically head over to North End Tavern & Brewery, where they have an array of options from burgers to sandwiches. During dinner, customers can also enjoy watching a sports game or chug back a cold glass of beer.

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The microbrewery was first added to the local eatery in 1997. That's almost a hundred years after it was established, in 1899. Although, even before the alcoholic beverage was an option, this restaurant was popularly enjoyed by the small-town residents.

24. Olivia’s Bistro At The Historic Skagway Inn – Alaska (123 Years Old)

We have the Alsakan gold rush to thank for this restaurant. In the late 1800s, thousands of Americans flew to the northern state trying to obtain gold. Due to the increased amount of residents, more eateries were established. Therefore Olivia's Bistro at the Historic Skagway Inn was created.

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Since their official opening in 1897, Alaskans have headed over to the Bistro for a scrumptious meal. A few of their popular cuisines include their halibut cakes and the king crab legs. This restaurant is worth visiting, both for the food and the history.

23. The Buckhorn Exchange – Colorado (127 Years Old)

The Buckhorn Exchange can be found in Denver, Colorado. It was first opened to the public by Henry H. Zietz in 1893. The restaurant not only became one of America's first steakhouses, but it was also Colorado's first eatery to acquire a liquor license.

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If someone were to visit the restaurant, they would probably see many local families eating dinner. But back in the day, minors, silver barons, Native American chiefs, cattlemen, gamblers, and railroad builders were amongst frequent customers. Buckhorn Exchange was known as a great place to go to in the Old West.

22. The Palace Restaurant and Saloon – Arizona (133 Years Old)

When The Palace Restaurant and Saloon first opened its doors in 1877, hundreds of cowboys and outlaws dined at the popular spot. Unfortunately, a fire wrecked the business in 1900 after only around 23 years after it opened. However, faithful patrons were not ready to say goodbye just yet.

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After customers worked together for a year, the establishment was up and running again. The integrity and atmosphere of this Old West eatery still persists to this day. Visitors who are lucky to enjoy eating here can still see the infamous Brunswick bar that was rescued from the blaze.

21. Scholz Garten – Texas (154 Years Old)

Texas is arguably best known for its lifestyle and extensive history in America. One small part of that legacy is thanks to Scholz Garten, located in the city of Austin. The restaurant was established in 1866 after the Civil War ended. And now it's become one of the oldest eateries in the state.

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Scholzgarten via Instagram

In the beginning, Scholtz Garden catered towards German customers since the owner, August Scholtz, was a German immigrant himself. As the admiration for the restaurant grew, diners from all over came to try out the food. Now, its customers mainly consist of college students.

20. McGillin’s Olde Ale House – Pennsylvania (160 Years Old)

The Mcgillin's Olde Ale House was opened in 1860, the same year Abraham Lincoln was elected into office for the president. The Pennsylvania eatery was founded by Catherine and William McGillin. They never intended for the place to be named after them, they originally called it Bell in Hand Tavern.

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The name was changed in 1910 after frequent customers kept calling it "McGillin's," and it's been that way ever since. Today, it's still as successful as it was back then. Anyone would probably recognize that the restaurant is old based on the atmosphere. They even still have a liquor license hanging on the wall from 1871.

19. Hays House – Kansas (163 Years Old)

This old-time restaurant is more than just a place to grab lunch. Hays House opened its doors in 1857 by Seth Hays, whose intention was to use the space as a trading post and restaurant. Throughout the years, it's been used as a courthouse, a theater, a church, and a mail distribution center.

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None of that would have been possible if it wasn't for the loyal customers. Because, in 1886, the eatery located on the Santa Fe Trail went up in flames. Thankfully, locals ran over to help and cease the fire from spreading. Without their help, who knows if Hays House would still be up and running today.

18. Old Ebbitt Grill – Washington DC (164 Years Old)

The Old Ebbitt Grill may be an old restaurant that's been open for nearly 164 years, but the location of this eatery changed various times over the years. When it was founded in the 19th century, it was a saloon, while today it's more of a place to dine. It can be found a block away from the White House since relocating there in 1983.

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The Old Ebbitt Grill holds the title as the oldest restaurant in America's capital, Washington, DC. Many presidents and well-known politicians have gone there for a quick bite. It has been said that Teddy Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland were frequent customers.

17. Tadich Grill – California (171 Years Old)

During the gold rush era, thousands of individuals flocked over to California trying to make money. Especially since, businesses were doing well at the time. The locals of San Francisco decided to make use of the situation and create a restaurant. That's how Tadich Grill came to be.

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It was open to the public in 1849 as a tiny coffee stand. It became what it is today after an employee, John Tadich, bought the stand in 1887. He turned it into a place for people to come in and enjoy a meal. The Tadich Grill insists they were the first place in the US to use mesquite charcoal to grill seafood.

16. The Village Tavern – Illinois (173 Years Old)

The oldest restaurant in the state of Illinois was opened in 1847, just one year after Abraham Lincoln acquired a seat in the House of Representatives. The Chicago-based eatery also has the title of being the oldest bar in the state. There are a few reasons its success has persisted for many years.

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First would probably be because of the extensive menu that gives customers an array of choices, from French onion soup to corned beef. With their meal, people could listen to live music performed by local artists. With all that it offers, this restaurant is definitely being added to our must-visit list.

15. Antoine’s Restaurant – Louisiana (180 Years Old)

When Antoine Alciatore was just 18 years old, he founded Antoine's Restaurant, located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Typically in modern times, restaurant owners start their business when they are in their 20's or even 30's. But then again, this eatery was opened in 1840, so it makes more sense.

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In 1868, the French-Creole restaurant relocated to Louis Street. Tourists should know there's a strict dress code since it holds a high-status reputation. Franklin Roosevelt, Bing Crosby, Brad Pitt, and even Pope John Paul II have all dined there. Safe to say, Antoine, created one of New Orleans's most infamous eateries.

14. El Farol – New Mexico (185 Years Ago)

Today El Farol is a well-visited restaurant by many residents of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's a joint known for serving up delicious Mexican food, some of their popular dishes amongst loyal customers include steak and paella. Travelers passing by should consider stopping by.

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Not only do visitors get to enjoy their food, but they also get to listen to live music and experience a sense of history. Back when El Farol was opened in 1835, saloons were favored by the community. So, the eatery was admired amongst many cowboys traveling through town.

13. J. Huston Tavern – Missouri (186 Years Old)

In the 1800s, settlers used the Santa Fe Trail to cross through the nation. During their trip to the West, travelers typically stopped at Arrow Rock, Missouri, for a break and food. The J. Huston Tavern was frequently visited by many hungry customers.

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The restaurant isn't just the oldest one in the state of Missouri, it's also the oldest eatery west of the Mississippi River. One reason it may have been so successful all these years is because of its fried chicken. Which can be enjoyed in any one of the three dining rooms or the taproom.

12. Union Oyster House – Massachusetts (194 Years Old)

In 1826, Massachusetts-born John Quincy Adams was in office as president, that same year, the Massachusetts based restaurant was opened. Through the years, many aspects of it have changed including the name. It went from being named the Atwood and Bacon Oyster House to Union Oyster House.

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Since opening its doors nearly 200 years ago, the restaurant has hosted various famous customers. Former Secretary of State, Daniel Webster dined there for many years, along with the Kennedy brothers. There is even a booth dedicated to John F. Kennedy, since it was his favorite spot to eat.

11. The Log Inn – Indiana (195 Years Old)

This next restaurant is so old that even President Abraham Lincoln was once a customer. He dined at The Log Inn in 1844, after the eatery had made a name for itself since first opening in 1825. Before it became well-known, the business was just a rest stop for those traveling across Evansville to Vincennes.

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But over the years, as more cities were being built in rural areas, the restaurant flourished. The Log Inn went from being a place for tired passersby to relax, into a place where many people, including famous politicians, grab a bite to eat. A popular dish on the Louisiana restaurant menu is their fried chicken.

10. The Golden Lamb – Ohio (217 Years Old)

Back when the Golden Lamb was opened in 1803, it only cost the owner, Jonas Seaman, $4 dollars to receive a license. Those few bucks were probably well worth it, because today, both the hotel and the restaurant stand strong as the oldest ones in Ohio.

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Throughout the years of the business being open, a total of 12 different US Presidents have visited the restaurant. They possibly ordered one of their popular dishes, which include a hickory-roasted prime rib, a sauerkraut ball, and even a full turkey dinner.

9. Ye Olde Tavern – Vermont (230 Years Old)

Ye Olde Tavern has been running its business for over two centuries, so of course, as time progressed, the restaurant had to renovate to keep up with modernity. It was first named the Stagecoach Inn back when it opened in 1790. But, nearly more than 100 years later, in 1970, they renamed it.

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Regardless of the changes, customers and out-of-town visitors easily recognize the restaurant was founded during colonial times, based on the atmosphere. The menu includes various Vermont delicacies, such as pot roast, maple butter, lobster bisque, cranberry fritters, and lobster mac and cheese.

8. The Hancock Inn – New Hampshire (231 Years Old)

In 1787, Noa Wheeler was traveling through Hancock, New Hampshire and, he had an idea to start his own restaurant business. The area was already filled with many saloons, and locals hanging out, meaning it wouldn't be difficult to attract customers. Two years after his trip, Wheeler moved to Hancock and started his eatery.

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The Hancock Inn was officially open to serve in 1789, that same year George Washington started running for President. Over the decades, the establishments have had thousands of visitors stay for a good night's sleep and, of course, delicious food.

7. The Old Talbott Tavern – Kentucky (241 Years Old)

When The Old Talbott Tavern opened in 1779, it was meant to be a stagecoach stop. So, not only is it a yummy place to eat, but it's a place for travelers to spend the night. The building looks similar to England’s Warwickshire Inn, but it's not since this hotel is located in Bardstown, Kentucky.

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Even though the tavern has been rumored to be haunted by ghosts, hundreds of thrill-seekers have stayed at the inn. And so have many well-known patrons, such as Abraham Lincoln, King Louis Philippe I of France, President Andrew Jackson, and famous American outlaw Jesse James. We're wondering if any of them haunt the place.

6. The Griswold Inn – Connecticut (244 Years Ago)

The year 1776 was a big one for two reasons. The first reason was for when America declared independence from Great Britain. And the second being The Griswold Inn was founded. Tourists should consider paying a visit to experience a ton of history.

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Shipyard workers whose job was to construct ships to duel with the British were loyal customers at Griswold. The tired men admired the place for its cuisine and the fact that it was an inn where they could rest. Moreover, customers could enjoy a drink since it was the first bar in Connecticut.

5. Cranbury Inn – New Jersey (260 Years Old)

The Cranbury Inn has been open for more than 250 years, meaning the restaurant went through various historical events. Its been suspected to be one of the stations that were used in the Underground Railroad. Aside from its history, the eatery is known for its delicious seafood.

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The New Jersey restaurant actually started off as two separate saloons. Eventually, since they were next door to one another, the taverns connected and that's how the Cranbury Inn came to be. Soon after it began being used as a dining hall, a dance hall, and even a barn.

4. The Old South Mountain Inn – Maryland (288 Years Old)

This restaurant and George Washington have the same birth year, they both came into existence back in 1732. The Old South Mountain Inn is located in Boonsboro, Maryland. The colonial eatery was enjoyed by many when it was first established, and it's still visited by hundreds of customers today.

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Throughout the years, the inn went through many eventful situations. In 1859, John Brown seized the eatery while he was organizing his anti-slavery revolt. Also, while the Civil War Battle of Antietam was happening, the restaurant was fortified by the Confederate.

3. The Red Fox Inn & Tavern – Virginia (292 Years Ago)

The restaurants that have been successfully running for hundreds of years have a good menu and superb service. Why else would customers continue going? This is probably why The Red Fox Inn and Tavern, located in Middleberg, Virginia, has been open since 1728.

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This inn isn't just a place for tourists to sleep and eat, it also holds an immense amount of history. When it was opened, the colony of Virginia was still 50 years away from being an established state in America. Throughout time Red Fox Inn was visited by George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and Tom Cruise.

2. White Horse Tavern – Rhode Island (347 Years Old)

Since the White Horse Tavern was established in 1673, hundreds of famous customers have walked through their doors. British soldiers, pirates, missionaries, sailors, the General Assembly, and even the Founding Fathers often went to this restaurant to grab a bite to eat.

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It's has been said that the tavern's beef Wellington is a dish worth trying. If someone happens to be visiting Newport, Rhode Island, they should make sure to head on over to this eatery from colonial times. Unless they happen to be scared because it's been rumored to be haunted.

1. The ’76 House – New York (352 Years Old)

The 76' House was successfully open for business even before the US gained independence in 1776. The New York restaurant's opening date has never really been confirmed. Some insist it was established back in 1668, in the city of Tappan. The customers were mainly from the Dutch community, as well as, English settlers.

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Its clear this eatery has lived through various American milestones. Such as the Revolutionary War, in which the restaurant gained more popularity from many patriots. Both George Washington and Benedict Arnold allegedly ate here. That's a lot of history for one place!