The Oldest Restaurants by State
Here’s something I’ve never really thought about, but it’s pretty neat. ThrillList.com has done a bunch of research and tracked down the oldest continuously operating restaurants for each state, and Washington D.C. Here’s what they found for the three states in our area: Illinois, Missouri and Iowa.
Not surprisingly, the oldest restaurant in Illinois is in the Chicago area. The Village Tavern is in Long Grove, north of Chicago. Not only is it Illinois’ oldest restaurant, it is also the state’s oldest tavern. The Village Tavern was established in 1847 and has been in continuous operation since 1849. In addition to serving food and drinks, The Village Tavern is also a venue for live entertainment six nights a week.
The J. Huston Tavern at Arrow Rock State Historic Site is Missouri’s oldest restaurant. The tavern was built in 1834 as the Huston family home, but soon began offering food and lodging to settlers traveling west. The J. Huston Tavern is Missouri’s oldest restaurant, and also the oldest continuously serving restaurant west of the Mississippi. Rural Missouri recommends their fried chicken, which they named the best in the state in 2011.
In Iowa, Breitbach’s Country Dining in Baltown has been in operation since 1852. The current owner of the restaurant is the great-great-grandson of the original owner. The Breitbach family purchased the establishment in 1862. Unfortunately the original structure was lost in a fire in 2007, and the rebuilt restaurant also suffered from a fire a year later. The restaurant reopened after the second fire in August 2009. Breitbach’s specializes in made-from-scratch, home style foods.
If you’re like me, you might be wondering just how anyone could ever figure out what the oldest restaurants are for each state in the country, ThrillList explained that they contacted “restaurant associations, historical societies, tourism boards, and business licensing departments nationwide” to compile their impressive list. If you have a minute, click the button below to read their full report.