9 best Chicago's oldest restaurants you should eat at: enjoy the classic experience

9 best Chicago's oldest restaurants you should eat at: enjoy the classic experience

Chicago, also known as the Windy City, is a bustling metropolis that thrives from its extensive culinary tradition and rich history. Indulge in the classic experience offered by some of Chicago's oldest restaurants as you traverse its vibrant streets, exploring its landmarks and cultural offerings. These culinary gems have endured the test of time, keeping their traditions, flavours, and distinct charm.

Chicago's oldest restaurants
A view of a street in Chicago. Photo: pexels.com, @chait-goli
Source: UGC

Chicago provides a variety of excellent food options. While there are many new and trendy spots to visit, there are also many classic Chicago establishments with rich histories. These long-time neighbourhood legends serve a slice of the city's history, from the first-ever department store restaurant to a German pub that opened in the 1800s.

Best Chicago's oldest restaurants

Chicago is well-known for its rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant food scene. The city's oldest restaurants are a must-visit for those looking to experience a classic dining experience and savour a taste of the past. These nine culinary entities continue to interest both locals and visitors.

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1. The Berghoff restaurant (Est. 1898)

Chicago's oldest restaurants
The famous Berghoff restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Raymond Boyd
Source: Getty Images

What is the oldest diner in Chicago? The Berghoff Restaurant is a historic landmark with over a century of history. It was established in 1898 and has survived two World Wars, making it a true Chicago institution.

The Berghoff, renowned for its German-American cuisine and house-brewed beer, serves staples such as schnitzel, sauerbraten, and the legendary creamed spinach. The timeless décor and wooden bar contribute to the vintage feel, making this restaurant a must-visit for anybody interested in Chicago's history.

2. The Walnut Room (Est. 1905)

The Walnut Room, located within the historic Macy's on State Street, is a Chicago treasure that opened in 1905. This eating institution embodies elegance and refinement and is Chicago's oldest restaurant within a department store.

Enjoy classic meals like their famed chicken pot pie and Mrs Hering's chicken salad in a timeless setting. Visiting The Walnut Room over the holiday season adds the pleasure of dining under the majesty of their unique Christmas tree.

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3. Pompei (Est. 1909)

Chicago's oldest restaurants
A look at the exterior and interior of Pompei. Photo: @rachelchristina528hz (modified by author)
Source: Instagram

Pompei is one of the oldest Italian restaurants in Chicago. This famous Italian bakery opened in 1909 with exquisite fresh bread and cheese pizza. Pompei has moved twice in the Little Italy neighbourhood's Taylor Street area and now has three other branches.

Luigi Davino, who named the restaurant 'Pompei' because of its proximity to the Our Lady of Pompeii Church, ensured that the entire family was involved in the pizza-making activities. Today, the fourth-generation Davinos are actively involved in running the restaurant and continue to provide excellent Italian dishes in the classic style.

4. The Green Door Tavern (Est. 1921)

Chicago's oldest restaurants
The Green Door Tavern in Chicago. Photo: @mybrewtube, @bigroymoney55 (modified by author)
Source: Instagram

What restaurants were founded in Chicago? The Green Door Tavern offers more than just delicious food; it also provides a look back at Chicago's Prohibition era. This historic location dates back to 1921 and was used as a speakeasy throughout the 1920s.

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The beautiful setting, complete with vintage furniture and artefacts, takes you back to the shadowy days of Jazz Age Chicago. The menu combines classic and contemporary foods to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience that pays homage to the city's rich history.

5. Lou Mitchell's (Est. 1923)

Lou Mitchell's is one of the most famous Chicago restaurants. Since 1923, it has been a beloved breakfast stop for locals and Route 66 travellers. The cafe is also well-known worldwide for being a favourite of former Presidents Reagan, Carter, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

This family-run cafe takes pride in its welcoming services, which include free little boxes of Milk Duds sweets and doughnut holes. The house speciality is fluffy giant omelettes made with farm-fresh eggs and a variety of toppings, fried and served in a skillet, accompanied by hash browns and toast.

6. Orange Garden Restaurant (Est. 1926)

chicago old town restaurants
Orange Garden restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in Chicago. Photo:@sign_of_the_time, @mwb0153 (modified by author)
Source: Instagram

The Orange Garden Restaurant is Chicago's oldest Chinese restaurant, opening in 1926. It is well-known for its generous portions, classic Cantonese cuisine, and vintage décor.

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The restaurant's cuisine is based on traditions that date back decades before the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Favourites include as many egg rolls as you want, Nanking pork, Peking duck, and Mongolian beef. Orange Garden is not only Chicago's oldest Chinese restaurant but also features the city's oldest operational neon sign.

7. Italian Village (Est. 1927)

Step into Italian Village, Chicago's oldest Italian restaurant, founded in 1927, and you'll be transported to the heart of Italy. This restaurant is an architectural masterpiece in and of itself, with three themed dining rooms that evoke the essence of Milan, Sicily, and Tuscany.

Traditional Italian foods such as osso buco, lasagna, and tiramisu are cooked with culinary expertise passed down through generations.

8. Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern (Est. 1932)

What is the oldest restaurant still standing? Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern, known for its delicious ribs, has served gastronomic pleasures since 1932. The historic interior, which features exposed brick walls, radiates a warm and friendly vibe.

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Bite into their succulent ribs and allow the flavours to transport you back to when this lovely restaurant opened its doors. A lunch at Twin Anchors is a trip back in time for natives and visitors to Chicago's culinary legacy.

9. Gene & Georgetti (Est. 1941)

Chicago's oldest restaurants
Gene & Georgetti is one of the most famous and oldest steakhouse in Chicago. Photo: @gene_georgetti (modified by author)
Source: Instagram

Gene & Georgetti is one of Chicago's old-town restaurants. The eatery opened in 1941 and is one of Chicago's most famous steakhouses. With its dark wood décor and old-school charm, the eatery evokes a sense of nostalgia. Thanks to its expertly grilled steaks and Italian classics, it's a favourite hangout for locals, visitors, and celebrities.

Chicago's oldest restaurants offer more than just delicious meals; they also serve as portals to the city's rich history and culinary heritage. From renowned German-American dishes to classic steaks and mouth-watering seafood, these culinary institutions have maintained their timeless allure for generations.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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