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What is the oldest restaurant in NYC?

I am interested in dining in a few restaurants that have a sense of history.
What are some old ( not old style but have been around for a long time) restaurants?

Any neighborhood-- any type of food

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  1. Keen's has been around for 150 years or so and is great, especially the room by the fire.

    1. fraunces tavern - GW said a farewell to his officer's corps there

      3 Replies
      1. re: swarttav

        yup. 1762 was its inception date.

        1. re: dkstar1

          How's the food?

          As for history: Apparently, among other things, the building also housed the New York capitol's departments of War, Foreign Affairs, and Treasury!


          The site makes no mention of the structure itself being a recreation, which I had thought it was too.

          "It was built in 1719 as an elegant residence for the merchant Stephan Delancey and his family."

          However, wikipedia says, quoting the American Institute of Architects, that the building's 1907 restoration was more of a fanciful reconstruction using whatever was left.


        2. re: swarttav

          Has the Fraunces Tavern reopened??

          Fraunces Tavern
          54 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10004

          1. re: georgeb

            not even close. Pete's opened in 1864, nearly 100 years after Fraunce's.

          2. In the financial district, try Fraunces Tavern (1762 traditional 'american', steak)or Delmonico's (1837 steak).

            If you want less traditional old style steakhouse, try Cafe des Artistes (1917 french bistro) on the upper west side.

            Cedar Tavern on University Place in the village (University Place) and White Horse Tavern in the west village are great old bars..

            3 Replies
            1. re: emmers

              The original Cedar was about 2 blocks south. Jackson Pollock peed in the fireplace at the old one.


              1. re: emmers

                FWIW, the Delmonico's located on Beaver/South William Street is unrelated to the original 19th century Delmonico's, although it is pretty old, dating, I believe, from 1899, closing in 1917, then reopening with new ownership in 1929, since resold several times.

                1. re: emmers

                  The Cedar Tavern has been closed since 2006; the Cafe des Artistes folded last year (although there are rumours that the latter is about to reopen under new ownership.)

                  EDIT: Delmonico's started on William St. in 1827, then moved -perforce- to lower B'way; then to 5th @ 14th [that's the one I remember]; then to 5th @ 26th (across from MSG); then finally back to Beaver, where it finally gave up the ghost in the 1980s!

                2. Not quite 150 years, but Keens is one of the oldest. Opened in 1885 and retains its incomparable old NY ambiance.

                  Actually, acc. to a listing in Zagat, the oldest are Pete's Tavern (1864), Landmark Tavern (1868), and Old Homestead (1868).

                  Katz's - 1887
                  Barbetta just celebrated their 100th Anniversary - 1906

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: RGR

                    Hi RGR...actually, Zagat lists Fraunce's as the oldest (1762). Delmonico's is also older (1827).

                    1. re: dkstar1

                      Hi dkstar1, I didn't have my 2007 Zagat handy, so I relied on the list in the 2006 edition, which didn't include Fraunces Tavern. But when deciding about its longevity, Wilfred's comment below is instructive. As for Delmonico's, it is not in its original location, nor has it been open continuously like Keens or Barbetta.

                      1. re: RGR

                        indeed. Thanks for the clarification both to you and Wilfred

                  2. Depends on whether, by oldest, you mean longest contuining operating restaurant. The point being that although a Fraunces Tavern was indeed open on that spot in Washington's day, the present restaurant is a re-creation and not in the original building (which burnt down, I think). To me, it doesn't feel real old - more like a museum (and upstairs, that's what it is). The Bridge Cafe should be mentioned, although that building too went through a period when it was not an inn.

                    Keens is a good choice (because Peter Luger is on the Outer Boros board). Didn't Landmark close again after it re-opened?

                    1. Isn't the current Delmonico's a completely different beast than the original Delmonico's circa 1827?

                      1. Fanelli's has been open since 1878 tho it's only been Fanelli's since 1922. I can't imagine it was ever much more than a pub. They have liquor licenses on the wall in the back room from the 1890's if I remember the year right. One of my favorite burgers in the city too.

                        1. not positive, but i don't think Keen's has been continously open or in it's current location (although I believe the original location was adjacent)

                          for old bars it's got to be McSorely's (1853 I think)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jth

                            McSorley's opened in 1854, and was owned by father and son of that name well into the twentieth century. Since it has been open continuously (and right through Prohibition!) in the same location, I would give it the prize as the oldest bar. Pete's Tavern, whatever it may say on the sign outside, is newer. Some award it to The Bridge Cafe, but although it opened before McSorley's, it went through a period as a house of "ill repute", which does not really count as being a public tavern - so I say it's discontinuous.

                            But it's an interesting debate. Just to get some chow in here, McSorley's has a short menu, including cheese and raw onions (a nod to its history). I have never eaten at The Bridge Cafe, but it now has a fairly fancy menu.

                            1. re: Wilfrid

                              Yes, but it's the mustard that makes the onions and crackers worthwhile. Also a great gag on anyone who hasn't been there before :-)

                              thanks for the info, used to be a regular at McSorley's but have only managed to stop in once or twice a year since back then

                          2. Delmonico's started as a wine shop with a few cakes, way downtown, and then gradually added to its menu as it moved steadily uptown from location to location.

                            I am unaware of any connection between the current Delmonico and the long-gone descendants of the original, other than the name.

                            1. The Ear all the way over on Spring St. near the Hudson is in a building that has been there since sometime around 1800 and has been operated as a bar since at least 1835 (it became The Ear in the late '70's). It's a pretty nice cozy place now, with decent food, but still looks like the ancient waterfront working class bar it once was.

                              1. Fraunces Tavern is a place you go to once, for the experience. The food isn't awful, but it's not great either, and not worth the price.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: KRS

                                  When I worked downtown, I had regular breakfast meetings at Fraunces. Good Eggs Benedict, as I recall, and a relatively calm and unhurried atmosphere. That might be a good way to visit the place and avoid the general menu, which is mediocre.

                                2. Fraunces Tavern was where G.W ultimately went at the end of his "march" from Yorktown, VA. to NYC. I can't speak for the food, but it is old.

                                  1. As far as food and history, go to Keen's. Some of the best steaks in town. Great food all around. Check out pipes once owned by Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, and Ripley (with the distinctive Ripley's signature). Ask the bartender upstairs to show you the program found under Lincoln's chair at the Ford theater, complete with bloodstain.

                                    For great drinking and ambiance, the Ear is well worth a visit. Pull up a pint and enjoy!

                                    1. Barbetta on W 46th claims to be the oldest restaurant which has been continuously owned by the same family. I would also add the Oak Bar, Algonquin, Sardi's, 21 Club, Russian Tea Room, Carlyle among some which seem to have been there forever.

                                      21 Club
                                      21 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019

                                      321 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036

                                      Russian Tea Room
                                      150 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019