Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Remember the recent slogan our city adopted for a minute, “Boston Never Gets Old?” Punny. but true. Our roots run deep. And our streets were made for horses and carriages. But our city remains vibrant. This country’s founding fathers, revolutionaries and famous figures in history ate and drank at at restaurants that are still operating in Boston. Take a look below at 9 Of Boston’s oldest restaurants that are surviving and thriving. And frankly, that’s wicked impressive.

Last month, Time Out Boston shared a list of some of our city’s oldest restaurants. I did some digging on my own and also consulted historyofmassachusetts.org. Most of these restaurants you’ve likely heard of because of their legendary status. But a few of these are in the same buildings where the historic restaurants originated once lived. Some of the names have been changed, but the premises remain intact. All of these spots are certainly worth a visit.

Imagine eating in a place where George Washington dined, or John F. Kennedy is said to have proposed to Jackie. Here, you will find living history. We all now how tough the restaurant business is, so knowing these particular spots have held on for over a century is remarkable. If you haven’t visited any of these restaurants, make a point to do so. You can feel the history in the rooms, you can read about how it these legendary spots started. Check out 9 of Boston’s oldest restaurants that are surviving and thriving.

 

  • 1. Union Oyster House

    41 Union Street, Boston, Massachusetts

    Said to be the oldest continuously running restaurant in the United States, the Union Oyster House was first established in 1826. The building actually dates back to 1714. Hawes Atwood was the first to make this spot a restaurant, and first named it Atwood Oyster House. He changed the name to Atwood and Bacon in the late 1800s. You’ll find the Union Oyster House close to Faneuil Hall and the TD Garden.

     

     

  • 2. The Warren Tavern

    2 Pleasant St. Charlestown 

    The Warren Tavern’s claim to fame is being the oldest tavern in Massachusetts, Established as a tavern in 1780. It’s likely had quite a few famous visitors in it’s heyday. President George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere are a few names that have been mentioned to have been guests at this Charlestown watering hole. Today, the Warren Tavern is famous for it’s food. You’ll find a little big of everything on the menu from traditional New England fare to Bang Bang Cauliflower. 

    Hey Charlestown…let’s have a day!!Happy 4th of July!! 🇺🇸 We Open at 11 AM. Today and everyday we salute the brave...

    Posted by Warren Tavern on Tuesday, July 4, 2023

     

  • 3. Parker's Restaurant

    60 School St. Boston 

    Another first for the Boston books, the Omni Parker House is the oldest of “Boston’s elegant inns and the longest continuously operating hotel in the United States,” according to their website. Parker’s restaurant was established in 1855 by Harvey D. Parker. Parker House Rolls and Boston Cream Pie were invented here. Famous figures from baseball to theater, politics and the arts frequented this inn. It’s rumored that JFK proposed to Jackie in the dining room here, in the 1960s. 

     

  • 4. J.J. Foley's Cafe

    117 East Berkeley St. Boston 

    J.J. Foley’s Cafe first opened in the South End in 1909. It’s been family owned and operated since they first opened their doors on Berkeley Street. It was a popular spot for Boston Herald employees when they were based in the South End. Today, it’s still a popular place to grab a burger and catch a game.

    Thank God it’s finally Friday, start your weekend at JJ Foley’s Cafe, Cheers 🍻🍻

    Posted by JJ Foleys Cafe on Friday, August 26, 2022
  • 5. Yvonne's

    2 Winter Place, Boston 

    A restaurant named Yvonne’s wasn’t around in 1875, but there was a restaurant in this location and this building dating back this far. This is the former home of the famed T Locke-Ober restaurant. Before it’s closed as Locke-Ober restaurant it was said to the the 4th oldest restaurant in Boston. The name Yvonne’s came to be because back in the day, this restaurant had a reputation as a “gentlemen’s club.” Legend has it this place was frequented by “working girls” in it’s heyday.  In the dining room there is a portrait of a supposed “lady of the night,” titled “Yvonne.”

     

  • 6. Amrheins

    80 West Broadway, South Boston 

    Amrheins is said to be the oldest restaurant and bar in Southie. It opened in 1890. Walk in the door and there you will see the he oldest hand carved bar in America and the first draft beer pump in Boston, according to their website. You should definitely visit this historic place, as it’s been rumored to have been sold for quite a while now, and word is it may be turned into condos. 

    It's our favorite time of year! The corn beef is hot, the Guinness is cold, and the company is always great! Make sure...

    Posted by Amrheins on Saturday, March 18, 2023
  • 7. James Hook and Company

    440 Atlantic Ave, Boston

    Since 1925 James Hook and Co. has been selling the freshest seafood.  It started as a wholesale business on the Fort Point Channel and evolved into the restaurant it is today, right at the entrance to the Seaport. Apparently Boston Bruins’ Charlie McAvoy is a fan.

  • 8. Regina Pizzeria

    11 1/2 Thacher Street, Boston

    Regina Pizzeria opened in 1926 and was founded by Luigi D’Auria. This unassuming North End hot spot is Boston’s oldest continuously operating pizzeria. It stayed in the D’Auria family until 1956, when Luigi’s grandson died. It was sold to the Polcari family who still own and operate it today. 

  • 9. OAK Long Bar and Kitchen

    138 St. James Ave. Boston 

    The OAK Long Bar and Kitchen is an elegant restaurant and bar inside the Fairmont Copley Hotel. It’s seem numerous renovations and name changes over the years, but has been a restaurant in this space in this hotel since they opened in 1912. This beautiful Back Bay restaurant originally opened as the Copley Cafe. Then in 1934, it became the Merry- Go- Round Bar. It even had a miniature merry-go-round! In 1978 it was called The Plaza Bar and Dining Room. It wasn’t known as the Oak Room until 1996. It underwent major renovations to celebrate it’s centennial, and is the glamorous OAK Long Bar and Kitchen you see today. I love this spot.

     

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