Though the word "restaurant" doesn't appear in US texts until 1824, the nation has a rich history of serving incredible food at long-standing establishments. Those wishing to experience the culinary roots of America can grab a bite at the oldest restaurants in the country.
Sitting in the same halls that pioneers, soldiers, and settlers did to enjoy a hearty meal can be a thrilling experience for any history nut. If this sounds like your kinda thing, we’ve compiled a culinary roadmap of the most historical restaurants in all 50 states. The stories of how these eateries endured throughout the years is bound to bring inspiration and hunger in equal amounts. Happy dining!
California - Pacific Dining Car
For four generations, the Pacific Dining Car in Downtown Los Angeles has been serving up savory steaks out of what began as a railway train car.
Original owners Fred and Grace modified a train car to house their restaurant on a rented lot at 7th and Westlake but lost the spot to skyrocketing rent in 1923. Luckily, their establishment had wheels. They moved the restaurant car to 6th and Witmer, where it still stands to this day.
The PDC takes well-earned pride in its prime, personally selected cuts of beef that are expertly aged on the premises. With this tempting menu of steak, fries, and homemade pies, the PDC grew decade by decade, adding extensions to meet with demand while also keeping its original flair.
Colorado - Buckhorn Exchange
You can get an authentic taste of historical fare at the Buckhorn Exchange. The eatery is still serving up the quail, buffalo prime rib, salmon, elk, baby-back ribs, game hen, and classic beef steaks that have made them famous since 1893.
This establishment worked to fill the hungry bellies of silver miners, cowboys, Native American chiefs, railroad workers, and gamblers alike. It makes sense when you realize this place was founded by Henry H. "Shorty Scout" Zietz, a man who rode with Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull for years.
Located in Denver, Colorado, the Buckhorn will immerse you in a historic atmosphere from the moment you arrive. The décor is filled with hunting trophies, genuine historical artifacts, and a wealth of memories from its storied clientele.
Connecticut - The Griswold Inn
The Griswold Inn is just as old as the USA itself. It began operating in 1776 and has kept its doors open ever since.
Over its 240-year history, the Griswold has been a comfortable place to kick back for those traveling by land, sea, or river. The inn features a historic dining room where one can sample a lovingly curated menu of seafood, steaks, and poultry that keeps the tradition of original American cuisine alive in fresh and exciting ways.
The establishment also offers a traditional, hearty Sunday Hunt breakfast that is served in the spirit of British soldiers who lodged there during the War of 1812.
Delaware - Jessop’s Tavern And Colonial Restaurant
The building that became Jessop’s Tavern was created in 1674 and served as the residence to Abraham Jessop, a barrel maker. In the intervening centuries, the establishment has known many names, including the Captain’s Log Restaurant and the Green Frog Tavern.
Today, the tavern strives to provide an authentic array of foods that honors the Swedish, Dutch, and Belgian cultures that strongly influenced the region. Alongside the English and American favorites on offer are Dutch cheeses, in-house baked goods, hand-picked seafood selections, and rich Belgian beers.