The most definitive book ever published profiling America's oldest restaurants - history and historic anecdotes, chef-owner-customer interviews, full-color photographs of the dining rooms and kitchens, historic images, and signature recipes from some of the best restaurants in America. The book is an intimate portrait of inns, taverns, public houses, taverns, saloons and restaurants serving up great food and warm hospitality for 100, 200, and (beleive it or not) 300 years!


They are the country’s century-old restaurants, scattered from coast-to-coast and border-to-border, most of which have been continuously serving patrons for over ten decades, and there are over a hundred of them. The oldest was opened in 1673, the youngest we will profile started up in 1911.

 They have played a big part in shaping US culinary culture for the past ten decades, and in many ways define what we call American hospitality.

 They have served ordinary folks, as well as many of the most famous citizens of each decade: Civil War generals Grant and Lee; Presidents from Washington to Taft; or famed writers like Hemmingway, Samuel Clemens, Louisa May Alcott, Jack London, and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and Western figures like Buffalo Bill, Lewis & Clark, Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane, Doc Holiday. 

 They are in America’s smallest towns and biggest cities. They stand alone on the streets, or hide inside tiny inns, rustic taverns, or weather-beaten saloons. They’re on sleepy backroads and bustling boulevards. Some are homespun plain and simple while some rival the palace opulence of kings and queens. In many ways, they have literally helped build America.

 You can eat inside, outside, under a chandelier, or under the stars, overlooking a rushing river or the bustling heart of a huge city, or even a desert sunset. Your table covering can be formica or white linen, your drinking glasses made of crystal or mason jars, your dinnerware can be fine china or pie-tin plates, your chairs perfectly matched antiques or mismatched hand-me-downs.

 We’ll visit some of the more picturesque, historic, famous, and largest dining rooms but we won’t forget some of the “little guys” in far flung places like Nashtoah, Wisconsin – Queechee, Vermont – Goldsboro, North Carolina –Luling, Texas – and Marshall, Michigan.

 We’ll talk to the owners, the chefs and cooks, the waiters and busboys, the old customers who return year after year, and the folks who have just walked in the door for the first time, all the while we’ll be looking for the secrets to their longevity, the magic that has kept people coming into their dining rooms for ten decades or more.

 Bring a knife, a fork, a spoon, and a napkin, because we’re on the way to visit some of America’s best, most unique, and oldest dining rooms ~ and we’ve reserved a table for you.