In some cities, a restaurant that’s a century old would be a rarity. However, history oozes from every brick and cobblestone in Boston, so we’re blessed with numerous old restaurants and taverns. For a dining experience that’ll transport you to the past, visit these 12 Boston institutions:
1. Union Oyster House
Boston's oldest restaurant, which was established in 1826, also claims to be the oldest in continuous operation in the whole country. Famous customers included Daniel Webster, who partook of brandy and oysters, and members of the Kennedy family, including JFK. Bizarrely, Union Oyster House was also the first eatery in North America to offer toothpicks - a novel import from South America! This restaurant, popular for its clam chowder and oysters, is located at 41-43 Union Street in Boston.
2. Durgin Park
Durgin Park's motto is: "Established before you were born." That's a pretty safe bet, since it was founded in 1827! This eatery is known for serving traditional dishes, such as Boston baked beans and Indian pudding. Durgin Park is located at 340 N Market Street in Boston.
3. Jacob Wirth
Jacob Wirth opened its doors in its current location in 1878. It was the brainchild of German immigrant, Jacob Wirth. He was the first distributor of Anheuser Busch beer and helped to establish Narragansett Beer, cementing this establishment's reputation as an excellent beer hall. The menu features German fare, like sausages and pretzels. It's currently on the market, but still open at 31 Stuart Street in Boston.
4. Warren Tavern
Originally established as a pub back in 1780, you can still enjoy a drink at the watering hole that Paul Revere and George Washington supposedly frequented. Tuck into some hearty pub fare like shepherd's pie, French onion soup, or lobster mac 'n' cheese at this one-of-a-kind tavern. It's located at 2 Pleasant Street in Charlestown.
5. Bell In Hand Tavern
The Bell in Hand was founded by a retired town crier in 1795. Apparently, Daniel Webster got around, as he liked to imbibe here too! Food options focus on lobster, along with burgers and sandwiches. The Bell in Hand Tavern is located at 45-55 Union Street in Boston.
6. Parker's Restaurant
The Omni Parker House Hotel and the attached Parker's Restaurant opened in 1856. And, thank goodness, because otherwise the world would have missed out on Parker House rolls and
Boston cream pie
! The hotel is said to be haunted, and you can find it at 60 School Street in Boston.
7. Doyle's Café
Come dine at the place where Sam Adams was first served! There's a great selection of beer on tap here. Doyle's was established in 1882 and this Irish pub serves typical comfort foods, like burgers, sandwiches, and fish and chips. Expect dark wood, tin ceilings, and plenty of retro touches. Doyle's Café is located at 3484 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain.
8. Green Dragon Tavern
You simply must visit the tavern that was the "Headquarters of the Revolution." The American Revolution theme even encompasses sections of the menu - "by land or by sea" sounds so much more interesting than "surf or turf." The tavern was founded in 1654, and it was here that Paul Revere famously eavesdropped on the plans to invade Lexington and Concord. The Green Dragon is located at 11 Marshall Street in Boston.
"French" is usually synonymous with "fantastic restaurant," and that's certainly the case at Marliave. French immigrant Henry Marliave brought recipes from his home country to Boston, where he opened this eatery in 1885. One of the most popular dishes at Marliave is Sunday Gravy, a dish featuring lamb, pork, beef, and gnocchi. Try it for yourself at 10 Bosworth Street in Boston.
Amrheins, located in Southie, has been around since 1890. The restaurant is decorated with some pretty neat pieces of history, including the country's oldest hand-carved bar and Boston's first draft beer pump! Amrheins is located at 80 W Broadway in Boston.
11. J.J. Foley's Cafe
The original location of Foley's - in the South End - dates back to 1909. The freshly-ground, handmade burgers at this Irish pub are always a hit. Who
isn't tempted to try a Hellfire Burger? J.J. Foley's is located at 117 E. Berkeley Street in Boston.
12. James Hook & Co.
For lobster dishes, it's hard to beat James Hook. This family-run establishment started out supplying lobsters to restaurants in 1925 and has never looked back. Check it out at 15 Northern Avenue in Boston.
How many of these historical spots have you been to? Are there other incredibly old (and tasty) eateries in Boston that we missed? Let us know in the comments!