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America’s Oldest Restaurant

By Linda Tancs

Along Boston’s Freedom Trail you’ll find America’s oldest restaurant, Union Oyster House. Housed in a building dating back to pre-Revolutionary days (1716), its stalls and oyster bars remain in their original positions since the opening in 1826. The brick structure was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003 and is a rare surviving example of the city’s Georgian architecture. A favorite of statesmen, artists, travelers, inventors, athletes and theatre figures, it’s notable as the home of Isaiah Thomas (publisher of The Massachusetts Spy from 1771 to 1775) and the place where Louis Philippe, later King of France, taught French to prominent Bostonians. The toothpick (invented by a Maine family in the timber industry) also made its debut there. Not only is the Massachusetts eatery America’s oldest restaurant, but it’s also one of the world’s oldest establishments (the oldest being Botín in Madrid, founded in 1725).

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