Destinations, Restaurants

Visit the Union Oyster House the Oldest Restaurant in America

October 28, 2013 by

Union Oyster House

The Union Oyster House is America’s oldest continuing restaurant. This Boston fixture is located on the Freedom Trail in a building that dates back to pre-revolutionary days.

It started serving food in 1826 and boasts that Daniel Webster was a regular customer. Patrons still turn out to enjoy the food today, along with a touch of history with the original stalls and oyster bars in their original positions.

Union Oyster House Second Floor

J.F.K. frequented the Union Oyster House second floor.

Historical Union Oyster House Trivia

The building housing the Union Oyster House has stood for more than 250 years. Isaiah Thomas published his newspaper “The Massachusetts Spy” on the upper floor of the building in 1771.

It accommodated a variety of businesses over the years and in 1826 it became the Atwood and Bacon Oyster House. The new owners installed the semi-circular Oyster Bar still standing today.

The Union Oyster House is also the first place a toothpick was used in the United States; a small bit of trivia that reveals PR tactics of a bygone era. A man by the name of Charles Forster first imported the toothpick from South America and hired Harvard boys to eat at the Union Oyster House and ask for toothpicks to promote his business.

The Kennedy family patronized the Union Oyster house for years, and J.F.K. often feasted in the privacy of the upstairs dining room. Today you can eat at his favorite booth which has since been dedicated as “The Kennedy Booth.”

Union Oyster House

Union Oyster House Menu

The oldest part of the restaurant is the first floor. History buffs will enjoy the walls lined with nostalgia. Rooms on the upper level are darker and have low ceilings. Whether you plan to visit the Union Oyster House for lunch or dinner, be sure to make reservations a few days in advance or be prepared for a long wait.

The lunch menu offers appetizers like Union Grilled Oysters, shrimp cocktail and fried calamari along with mussels served up in a variety of ways and pots of steamers for one. Lunches include stews, chowders, oysters on the half shell with other items including a bountiful seafood platter, Seafood Newburg, sandwiches, salads and more.

The dinner menu is more extensive and for those who don’t know where to start, the Hot Oyster House Sampler delivers a real treat. Dinner entrĂ©es include a selection of Olde New England Favorites, a lobster pot or a number of other lobster dinners.

If you’re visiting Boston, the Union Oyster House is a must-visit. It is a little pricey but it offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Photo credits: unionoysterhouse, ayustety, cherrylet

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