The Oldest Restaurant in Every U.S. State
Americans love to eat and drink, so it’s no wonder that restaurant and tavern culture is thriving in the United States. Restaurants and taverns are more than just places to enjoy cuisine and be merry; they are deeply interwoven with American history, and many historians have determined that the political and social landscape of today would not exist without these places. America’s birth story is peppered with tales of revolutionaries gathering, plotting, and refueling at dining and drinking establishments that its citizens still enjoy today. This new infographic from the How To Cook research team reveals the oldest restaurant in each state that you can still dine in today.
What Is the Oldest Restaurant in the U.S.?
The oldest restaurant in the United States is the ’76 House in Tappan, New York, which was built in 1668. This establishment had a profound effect on the Revolutionary War; it was a prominent meeting place for patriots, and it acted as a “prison” for the revolution’s most infamous spy, British Maj. John Andre. Across early America, taverns served as gathering places where revolutions were plotted, news was exchanged, commerce flowed, and townspeople celebrated or grieved. Patrons of this tavern referred to it as “the listening post of the Revolution.”
How Many Restaurants Are in the U.S.?
According to the National Restaurant Association, there are more than one million restaurants across the United States. It has been projected that the restaurant industry’s sales will reach $899 billion in 2020, although this projection was made prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. An analysis of Google Trends data by ChefsPencil.com shows that the most popular ethnic cuisine types are Mexican and Chinese.
What Are the 5 Oldest Restaurants or Taverns in the U.S.?
- The ’76 House (352 years old): This Tappan, New York, tavern was built in 1668 and served as a meeting place for patriots during the Revolutionary War. Today, it is famous for its delectable brunch, which offers delights such as Nutella-stuffed French toast and cowboy steak and eggs.
- White Horse Tavern (347 years old): This Newport, Rhode Island, restaurant was established by William Mayes Sr. in 1673. Tories and British troops were sheltered there during the British occupation of Newport during the American Revolution. It remains a beloved drinking and dining location to this day.
- The Red Fox Inn and Tavern (292 years old): This Middleburg, Virginia, tavern was established in 1728 and is steeped in Revolutionary and Civil War history. Luminaries such as John F. Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, and Tom Cruise have enjoyed this timeless venue.
- The Griswold Inn (244 years old): Established in 1776, this Essex, Connecticut, tavern has been under the stewardship of only six families in its long lifetime. The rooms are furnished with nautical antiques and rare firearms, including the largest privately held collection of artwork by Antonio Jacobsen, a prolific maritime painter. It also served as a filming location for the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows.
- Gadsby’s Tavern (235 years old): Alexandria, Virginia, is home to Gadsby’s Tavern, which was established in 1785. George Washington is said to have frequented the tavern, along with John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.
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