Visiting America’s Oldest Restaurant: Union Oyster House

Union Oyster House, Boston

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With such a mammoth concentration of global brainpower, Boston is the one place where it’s socially acceptable to work or study 17 hours a day. Oddly enough it’s also the one city where it’s not taboo to take a duck tour, date students 12 years your junior, and to elongate your “a’s” in a harsh, deafening tone while dropping your “r’s” (just like the saying “Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd”). Fortunately, it’s also a city that savors its historic roots and constantly celebrates its iconoclastic spirit.

In keep with such tradition, Boston is home to the country’s oldest restaurant. To hell with the all the ‘New Kids on the Block’, the great, great, great grand daddy of American restaurants, Union Oyster House, is still king of America’s food empire. The country’s first restaurant circa 1826, Union Oyster House is novelty, nostalgia, and superb seafood all wrapped up into one. The ever-expanding National Historic Landmark became an integral part of the Freedom Trail nearly two centuries ago, and hasn’t looked back since.

Nowadays, patrons shuck ‘til they drop on New England’s most famous oysters or feast on more contemporary lobster dishes, like the divine “lobster ravioli” in lobster cream with sherry and fresh herbs or the mouth watering “lazy man’s lobster” baked with breadcrumbs and sherry wine. The classic fried “ye olde seafood platter” remains a best seller nearly 200 years strong, with mountains of fresh clams, oysters, shrimp, fish, calamari, and scallops deep fried and sprinkled with salt and lemon. Dining in each of Union’s seven distinct rooms is its own experience, revealing an expansion or addition of a particular decade, and the patrons whose spirits still remain. Most notably, the Kennedy Booth draws visitors from far and away to photograph J.F.K’s Sunday sanctuary, where John once delighted in his seafood favorites on a weekly basis.

On any given day, Union Oyster House patrons are an eclectic mix of bright-eyed, bushy tailed first-timers and stanch regulars, coming for their hearty seafoodie fix! The legend is located a two-minute walk from the Marriott Boston Long Wharf.

41 Union St, Boston, (617) 227-2750,

–Paul Rubio of

[Photo Credit: Flickr/avhell]