Nestled in a corner of Market Square sits a Pittsburgh tradition – a legend, if you will – that has served seafood and beer to generations of Pittsburghers. The Original Oyster House Pittsburgh, the oldest restaurant in Pittsburgh, first opened its doors in 1870 and it’s been a popular spot ever since.
The Original Oyster House made its grand entrance into Market Square in Pittsburgh 146 years ago. Guests could buy oysters for a mere penny each and wash those oysters down with a ten cent glass of beer.
During its storied history, the Original Oyster House has only had four owners. Louis Americus, however, has earned special recognition for his stint as the restaurant's owner between 1916 and 1970. He began the tradition of selling such large fish sandwiches, one of the restaurant's most popular menu items, that special buns have to be made to hold the fillet of fish.
Americus' wife also played a prominent role in the restaurant's history, contributing the recipe that is still used to make the coating that tops the oysters and the fish.
All of those black and white photographs from Miss America Pageants that adorn the walls? Courtesy of Mr. Americus who religiously attended the Atlantic City beauty contest each year, returning with the photographs that still hang on the wall today.
Prohibition outlawed alcohol from 1920 to 1933. But, that didn't derail the success of The Original Oyster House. Instead of beer, the popular restaurant sold pop and buttermilk, both of which remain on the menu today.
The end of prohibition simply meant adding alcohol back to the bar menu. Little else changed at the Original Oyster House.
The Original Oyster House didn't just draw locals for its delicious food. It also garnered the attention of Hollywood. The restaurant, in fact, earned a starring role in 25 films.
Look closely when you watch Bruce Willis' Striking Distance and Danny Aiello's Cemetery Club and you're sure to recognize the Original Oyster House. But, arguably, the most popular film to be shot at the Original Oyster House was The Night of the Living Dead.
Celebrities also make the Original Oyster House a stop on their itinerary when in Pittsburgh. Bruce Springsteen, President Jimmy Carter, and Dan Marino are among the famous figures who have visited the restaurant – and an autographed photo of each still hangs on the wall.
A quick glance at the menu will leave you in quite a predicament as to what to order. The expansive menu includes seafood platters, sandwiches, salmon burgers, oysters, and soups and salads. Not in the mood for seafood? Order the chicken tenders, chicken wings, or fried breaded chicken breast.
The menu also features such delicious sides as onion rings, cole slaw, breaded oysters, provolone sticks, and homemade potato chips.
The Original Oyster House Pittsburgh, at 20 Market Square, welcomes guests Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The oldest restaurant in Pittsburgh evokes memories of the city’s rich history but it also guarantees a delicious meal. Top off your meal with a
trip to this tiny shop that sells donuts to die for.