From the origin of the American hot dog in Coney Island to the invention of the Bloody Mary at Manhattan’s 21 Club, New York is a breeding ground for the American food scene. Dating back to before the Revolutionary War, restaurants in New York City bare the influence of those who graced their interior. As waves of immigration brought new cuisines to the city, new types of restaurants, such as pizzerias and kosher Jewish delis, diversified the food options in the city. Today, a number of eateries remain that have earned the superlative, “the oldest.” Whether one visits Fraunces Tavern to eat at the oldest bar in Manhattan or Economy Candy to snack on candy from the city’s oldest candy store, there is a historic eatery for everyone to enjoy. Here are the oldest eateries in New York by category!
The oldest restaurant and bar in Manhattan is Fraunces Tavern (1762)
Fraunces Tavern, dating back to 1762, is widely considered to be the oldest restaurant in the city. There is some debate as to the actual age of the building itself. While the brick house in the Financial District that would become home to the restaurant dates back to sometime between 1719 and 1722, it has been rebuilt and renovated countless times, causing many to wonder whether it can claim to be as old and authentic as it does.
Nonetheless, what is known is that before Samuel Fraunces opened it for tavern service as the “Sign of Queen Charlotte,” the building was used as a dance school and trading firm. Even General John Lamb sending a cannonball through the tavern’s wall during a scuffle with the British in 1775 did not deter the popular establishment’s business. The year after, the British captured the restaurant and forced the staff to feed their soldiers. When they were finally driven out on November 25t, 1783, General George Clinton held an honorary banquet there for George Washington, whose tooth is now on display in the upstairs museum. Today, its incredible story is documented in the museum that stands just above the restaurant. Next to the numerous landmarks of American history that occurred inside, the fact that the restaurant also serves a great brunch and specializes in fine beer and whiskey is just a bonus. Fraunce’s Tavern is located at 54 Pearl St., New York, New York.