Monday, August 11, 2014

Seven New England Restaurants Beyond 100 Years Old

Wayside Inn, Sudbury MA
Given that about 60 percent of restaurants fail in their first year of business, it's amazing to come across New England dining spots in business for more than 100 years. Their longevity is almost always due to keeping the food quality intact, focusing on great customer service and keeping intact unique architecturally historical elements. It also doesn't hurt to have historical icons or celebrity as customers along the way, as well as possessing some unique anecdotal stories that just add to the legend!

With that in mind, here are seven noteworthy New England restaurants that go beyond 100-years-old...

Griswold Inn (1776), Essex Conn. The Griswold Inn stands as one of the the oldest continuously running  taverns in the United States, having served notables from George Washington and Albert Einstein to actress Katharine Hepburn. Originally offering lodging and food and spirits that catered to shipbuilders, the Griswold today retains its rustic, creaky charm in an exceptionally well-maintained setting. With three different dining options offering excellent traditional American fare and 33 charming guest rooms, the spirit of traditional New England resonates so proudly here.

Morin's Hometown Barn and Grill (1911), Attleboro, Mass. Once a dining cable car, Morin's has turned into a bustling 250 seat restaurant featuring breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as weekly buffets. This Attleboro restaurant remains rock solid as a downtown business with some recent national attention: Guy Fieri featured Morin's French meat pie and fisherman's stew on his Diners, Drive-ins and Dives television show on the Food Network.  Two of the Morin's sons continue to run the business with clear pride of ownership and a knack for turning out some amazing comfort foods served in heaping portions. Read our Morin's dining review here

Union Oyster House (1826), Boston, Mass. Located on the famous Freedom Trail, the Union Oyster House stands as the oldest restaurants in Boston and the oldest restaurant with continuous service in the United States. In this building dating back to the 1600s, Daniel Webster once"drank his tall tumbler of brandy and water with each half-dozen oysters." The Kennedy family has also been known to frequent the Union Oyster House.  And how about this for a rather fascinating, or perhaps dull anecdote, depending on how you look at it: the first toothpick was used here.

Today, the Union Oyster House remains incredibly popular -- a tourist attraction and local favorite. It's amazing, too, that there have been only three known owners since its 1826 inception!

Woodman's (1914), Essex, Mass. Known as the birthplace of the fried clam, Woodman's perhaps represents the classic New England clam shack better than any in the region. The unpretentious atmosphere and delicious fried clams and other fresh seafood dishes truly brings one into the heart of New England's seafood scene. Read our Woodman's dining review here as part of our New England's Best Seafood Restaurants and Clam Shacks article.

Lafayette House (1784), Foxboro, Mass. Gen. Lafayette, Gen. Washington and Benjamin Franklin frequented this sprawling yet cozy restaurant with fireplaces and the oldest stand up bar in the country. The traditional American cuisine and authentic colonial atmosphere -- originally a tavern and inn -- make for an experience one wishes was more common amongst the local restaurant scene. Read our Lafayette House dining review here as part of our Best Colonial Style and Traditional New England Restaurants in Massachusetts article.

Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Mass. Known as Howe's Tavern from 1716 to 1861, this historic landmark is best known as the setting for a group of fictitious characters congregating at the tavern in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's renowned 1862 book of poems, "Tales of a Wayside Inn." Howe's Tavern eventually changed its name to Longfellow's Wayside Inn -- a legendary dining and lodging establishment listed on on the National Register of Historic Places. The traditional New England fare here is tremendous! Read our Wayside Inn dining review here

Ye Olde Tavern (1760), West Brookfield, Mass. Beautifully situated off the idyllic West Brookfield Town Common, the Ye Olde Tavern today is more of a local watering hole that specializes in brick oven pizza -- it is now known as Pleasant Street Pub and Pizza at Ye Olde Tavern. The handsome colonial building, however, remains intact with a former clientele that included George Washington (boy, he liked to eat out a lot!), President John Adams  and Daniel Shays, the well-known leader of Shays' Rebellion.

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