The restaurant business in the United States is known to be extremely competitive. Approximately 60% of restaurants wont make it past the first year, and 80% don’t make it past five years. Howere, despite the odds, some restaurants manage to prevail and even thrive. This is a list of 15 of the oldest restaurants in the United States.

Keens Steakhouse (New York City)

Keens steakhouse in New York City was established in 1885, it was known for allowing its customers to check their churchwarden pipes, which were too thin and fragile to be shoved thoughtlessly into a pocket or handbag during a meal. 

Source: Pinterest

Sadly, this time has long since passed, but you can still see hundreds of these pipes on display throughout the restaurant. Combine the ambiance with delicious menu options such as steak and lobster, and this place would be pretty hard to pass up. 

The Golden Lamb (Lebanon, Ohio)

The Golden lamb was quickly established in 1803, shortly after the village of Lebanon’s establishment in Ohio. The founder of the restaurant, Jonas Seaman hung a sign with a golden lamb on the door to accommodate the many individuals that couldn’t read at the time. 


The sign would eventually be adopted by the establishment as its permanent name. Since its opening the Golden Lamb has been host to 12 United States presidents, politicians like Mitt Romney and Henry Clay, as well as literary geniuses like Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Alex Haley, James Whitcomb Riley, Louis Bromfield and Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). 

Claudio’s (Greenport, New York)

Claudio’s is a national historic landmark that is located in Greenport in the north fork of Long Island in New York state. Much like other restaurants it managed to survive the prohibition era, it served only food in an official capacity during those horrible dry years, and had a speakeasy upstairs.

Source: Claudio’s

Today, you can drink seasonally in this restaurant and dine on the many seafood options from its menu. 

The Old Clam House (San Francisco)

The Old Clam House has been operating out of the same San Francisco location since 1861. Originally the name was Oakdale Bar and Clam House, it survived such catastrophes as the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. 

Source: X/TheOldClamHouse

It is most likely the food that brings people back time and time again. Unfortunately it had to temporarily shut down on June 1, 2021 because of the pandemic.

Pete’s Tavern (New York City)

On its website, Pete’s Tavern describes itself as “the tavern O. Henry made famous,” because it is in fact the location where he wrote “The Gift of the Magi,” a moving story about two people who give each other presents neither can use. 

Source: Flickr/John Wisniewski

The restaurant boasts “O. Henry chicken wings” in his namesake and allows you, the intrepid diner, to “build your own burger.”

McGillin’s Olde Ale House (Philadelphia)

McGillin’s Olde Ale House’s wants you to be aware of two very important things: “We opened the year Lincoln was elected” and “We survived prohibition.” These are two facts about the establishment that truly define just how much this place has been through.

Source: Tripadvisor

The menu is chalked full of items like “fun food for grazers” (translation: fries, wings, and nachos) to sandwiches, burgers and “Mile High Meatloaf.”

Old Ebbitt Grill (Washington, D.C.)

Old Ebbitt Grill has been serving the folks of Washington D.C. since 1856, and even though it doesn’t occupy its original location, it isn’t likely that you will care much about that once you have tasted their food. 

Source: Tripadvisor

If you are ever in the area, hit the Old Ebbitt Grill and do yourself a favor by ordering a Reuben sandwich and a peanut butter pie. 

Gluek’s Restaurant and Bar (Minneapolis)

This self proclaimed “oldest bar in Minneapolis” is known as Gluek’s Restaurant and Bar and it dates back to 1857. 

Source: Tripadvisor

The building that it occupies suffered a tragic fire in 1989, it was completely restored a year later, and the restaurant was back to business as usual. The restaurant offers cheddar curds, fried pickles, and Bavarian pretzels that are a perfect pair for their cornucopia beer. It is a delight you don’t want to miss out on. 

McSorley’s Old Ale House (New York City)

This one is a very special case, McSorley’s Old Ale House was founded in 1854, and shockingly it doesn’t actually serve food, unless you count saltines as a meal. The star of the show here is the ale, more specifically McSorley’s Ale, which is the only thing they actually serve. 

Source: 6sqft

So why are they on a list of historical restaurants? Because of all the infamous customers they served, such as William “Boss” Tweed, but also because of the notorious lawsuit in 1970 that finally forced the establishment to allow women in. It’s definitely a noteworthy landmark. 

Tadich Grill (San Francisco)

Tadich Grill is the oldest continuously-run restaurant in all of California, the restaurant was founded in 1849 in San Francisco. 

Source: tadichgrillsf

Its website states that it has “large portions and fresh ingredients,” with an array of mixed salads, seafood, steak, and much more. 

Breitbach’s Country Dining (Balltown, Iowa)

Balltown, Iowa is so small it doesn’t even have a post office, what it does have is the famous Breitbach Country Dining restaurant, which just so happens to be the oldest food and drinking establishment in the entire state of Iowa. 

Source: surprisingtravelfinds

Founded in 1852, the establishment serves a variety of all-American comfort foods, and an all you can eat buffet. 

Antoine’s (New Orleans)

You would be hard pressed to find a bad meal in New Orleans, but some places simply stand out above the crowd. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Antione’s is one of those places, located in the famous French Quarter, it has been serving customers since the 1840s.

J. Huston Tavern (Arrow Rock, Missouri

J. Huston Tavern invites its customers to travel back in time. Built in 1834 by Joseph Huston, Sr., It was originally meant to be a family home, but immigrants traveling west quickly changed that when they became the lodges first customers. 

Source: hustontavern

It’s the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi, and the smoked pork , and friend beef brisket keeps customers coming back for seconds. 

Arnold’s Bar and Grill (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Arnold’s Bar and Grill consist of two buildings, one was originally a barber shop and the other was a feed store.   

Source: Maggy McDonel

Per the restaurant’s website, during the prohibition years, Hugo Arnold, a descendent of the founder Simon Arnold was said to have made gin in the bathtub. Of course now you are free to drink and eat as much as your heart desires.