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Old 08-12-2019, 01:43 PM
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Businesses in your area that have been there "forever".


This is kind of an antidote to my "You can never go home" thread from a couple of days ago. Are there any businesses in you area that have have been open for decades, mostly unchanged, to the point where they feel like a time capsule back to the era when they opened? Places that have been there so long they've basically become local institutions?

There are a few I can think of in the area where I grew up -- I'm going to count businesses in both Davidson and Mooresville, NC, since we lived about halfway between the two towns:
  • The Soda Shop, Davidson, NC. Opened in 1951 as the M&M Soda Shop (Nothing to do with the candy; those were the first initials of the original owners). The place still looks pretty much like it did in the 1950s. The only real change apart from the name is that their menu has been somewhat modernized -- I highly doubt they served wine back in the 1950s, or wraps, or salmon burgers, but Davidson is a somewhat wealthy college town and they've got to cater to their current clientele to stay relevant. They do keep the old classics on the menu -- patty melts, and BLTs, and of course a wide array of milkshakes. And true their name they still have an old timey soda fountain and even serve phosphates.
  • Turner Hardware, Mooresville, NC. Opened in 1899 -- in business for a whopping 120 years! Classic late 19th/early 20th century hardware store. If you need some random fastener, or a new power cord for some appliance, they've got it.
  • What-A-Burger, Mooresville, NC. NOT to be confused with the similarly named Texas chain! This is part of a small NC based chain of drive-ins dating from the early 1960s. There are at least two still operating. I'm not sure if they still have car hops; the last time I was there they had signs saying to order inside. But that was admittedly over a decade ago. Some of the Tripadvisor reviews mention car hops, so maybe they have them at certain times. It's apparently the town's longest operating restaurant (That countdown covers the whole county and numbers 1 and 2 on that list are in a different town). IIRC the burgers were pretty good but nothing really to write home about, but it remains popular with the locals.

And in the area where I live now -- I can't think of any in Folsom itself, I can think of several in Sacramento:
  • The Tower Theater: Opened in 1938, still an operating movie theater. Now they show mainly indie and classic movies. And as a bit of trivia it was the namesake for Tower Records -- the record store's founder started out selling records in his dad's drug store, Tower Drugs, which was in the same building. The former drug store location now houses the Tower Cafe.
  • Pancake Circus: The building has been a restaurant since the early 1960s, and has been Pancake Circus since 1970. The building is classic 1960s diner architecture with an upswept roof and a big neon sign, albeit a bit more understated than some mid century "Googie" coffee shops. Stepping inside it obviously hasn't changed a bit at least since becoming Pancake Circus. It's a time capsule of a coffee shop from that era, with red vinyl booths and a long counter lined with stools. And waitresses who call you "hon" and constantly come by to refill your coffee. And of course huge stacks of pancakes, although they do serve lunch as well. But you obviously go there for the pancakes -- they serve breakfast all day.
  • Jim-Denny's Diner: Opened in 1934 and has been in it's current location since the 1940s IIRC. I haven't actually been there yet so I can't comment that much, but check out the vintage neon sign in the photos.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:52 PM
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Pancake Circus: The building has been a restaurant since the early 1960s, and has been Pancake Circus since 1970. The building is classic 1960s diner architecture with an upswept roof and a big neon sign, albeit a bit more understated than some mid century "Googie" coffee shops. Stepping inside it obviously hasn't changed a bit at least since becoming Pancake Circus. It's a time capsule of a coffee shop from that era, with red vinyl booths and a long counter lined with stools. And waitresses who call you "hon" and constantly come by to refill your coffee. And of course huge stacks of pancakes, although they do serve lunch as well. But you obviously go there for the pancakes -- they serve breakfast all day.
I missed the edit window, but I forgot to add that it's quite obvious that many of the patrons and Pancake Circus are regulars, based on their rapport with the waitstaff.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:52 PM
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This place (64 years and counting)
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:59 PM
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I lived a couple blocks from a movie theater. I just checked and it looked like it opened in 1941. They usually played family friendly (Disney type) movies. Last month I went by and it doesn't look any different than it did in the 70s.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:01 PM
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The Duck and Decanter.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:14 PM
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There's quite a few up and down the road from where I am, including where I work. Some have changed a little, some more than a little, none to the point that someone who hadn't been there in 20 or 30 years wouldn't recognize the place.
For those in my area (Milwaukee, airport area), I'm thinking of Nite Owl, Packing House, Final Approach, Amelia's, Pulaski Inn, Serb Hall (maybe, I've only been there once or twice). That's all I got off the top of my head within a few miles of where I'm sitting, but I'm sure there's plenty of others.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:35 PM
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The movie theater in my town has been operating continuously as a movie theater since 1916.
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:57 PM
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There's a tavern in my city that's been there since the 1940's. There's a unform shop that has always been open since I can remember, and I'm almost sixty-five. When I was in junior high there was, and still is, a Dairy Queen at the same location. I'll have to think of some others.
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:14 PM
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Another one I thought of, Wolski's Tavern. It's been around for over a hundred years. Even people that don't live anywhere near here (or in other states altogether) have run across "I closed Wolski's" bumper stickers.
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:23 PM
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I suspect that once the Brits start posting in this thread they'll probably tell us about how their favorite pub has been there since the 1700s or some such thing.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:46 PM
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Just up the road about a mile or so is a funeral home owned by one of the founding families of the town (founded in 1853.) At least around here, funeral homes tend to embrace not changing much over the years, so it's a stuffy, serious castle from another time.

Another block down there's an animal hospital that's been here for at least 35 years, in a building that's at least 75 years old.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 08-12-2019 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:58 PM
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The Lobero Theater opened in Santa Barbara in 1873 although it was rebuilt in its current building in 1924. Itís the oldest continuously operating music venue in California.
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:10 PM
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Blakely-Mitchell, a clothier in Bristol, VA, has been there since 1933.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:21 AM
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C.O. Bigelow has been on 6th Ave of Greenwich Village, NYC since 1838: https://www.bigelowchemists.com/our-history
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:33 AM
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Du-pars in Studio City. Now it's a Sephora. https://www.dailynews.com/2017/12/13...fter-70-years/
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:51 AM
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Pretty much everything else has changed in Nashville -- especially in the West End/Vanderbilt area -- but Emma's Flowers and Rotier's Restaurant have been on neighboring lots since Rotier's opened in 1945. (Other Nashville institutions, like Prince's Hot Chicken and the Grand Ole Opry, have moved around a bit.)
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:12 AM
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Are pubs cheating? Because there's a few pubs in my town which have been trading since the 17th century. The Hatchett Inn (1606) claims to be the oldest, though it's not uncontested.

Cafe Revival has been a coffee shop since the early 18th century (exact date disputed)

If we can count theatres as businesses, then we also have the oldest continually-operating theatre in the English speaking world, the Bristol Old Vic (1766).
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:36 AM
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Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center in Wheaton. If you're a musician in the DC metro area, especially on the DC/Maryland side, you know Chuck's. Paul Reed Smith worked there in the 70s. Danny Gatton was a frequent customer. Stevie Wonder visits the store annually.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:17 AM
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Beekerís General Store in Pemberville, Ohio has been around for about 140 years. The type of items has probably changed over the years. Going from everyday groceries and necessities to penny candy and handmade/ local made items. I remember going there as a kid and Miss Beeker would be working behind the counter. She was probably in her 80s or 90s. She seemed to just fit right in with the store.

https://m.beekersgeneralstore.com/Our-History.html

Tony Packoís (in Toledo, Ohio) is a restaurant that has been open since the 1930s. If you ever watched M.A.S.H., you may have heard Klinger (played by Jamie Farr) mention Packoís on the show a few times. Jamie Farr is from Toledo.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:53 AM
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The Yakkity-Yak Diner in Apollo is an old stereotypical diner that has been around forever. I see that they've rebranded as The Yak.

I was last in there maybe 20 years ago with my kids. The food was good, but everyone smoked. Seriously, the cooks always had cigs dangling, and the waitresses would all smoke at the register, setting their cigarettes down in an ashtray each time they serviced their customers. It was awful.

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"Yak Diner is a 1956 O'Mahony Diner. It was originally the Gateway Diner in Monroeville, Pa. from 1956 until about 1976. It was used for other purposes until being moved to North Apollo in 1992. The Yak is reportedly one of the last diners built by the original O'Mahony Company, in Elizabeth N.J."
ETA: worst Yelp reviews I've ever seen!

Last edited by kayaker; 08-13-2019 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:48 AM
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Nearest pub to my home has been going since 1897. https://athleticarms.com/

Hasn't changed much.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:03 AM
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My family store, Rothman's Department Store, has been in business for a century. Probably not much longer, though -- once my brother retires, he'll probably sell it.

Around here, there are a few restaurants -- The Turf Tavern, Redwood Diner -- that have been around since before I got here in 1970. Englebardt's Wine and Liquor has been here since 1946, helped by being the closest liquor store to Union College.*

I live right behind a shopping mall and the only stores still there from when I moved in in 1979 is the bank and an optician (who changed location).

Down by my home town, Preston's has been in business since 1880, selling boating items and souvenirs (originally a ship's chandlery). Claudio's Restaurant is even older -- 1870 -- and is a National Historical Landmark. They've opened a couple of other restaurants in the same complex, but the original is still going.

The Greenport Theater is still operating, though it was closed for a time. They turned it into multiple screens: What once was the balcony is now a separate theater and they kept many of the original art deco fixtures.

*They got arrested for selling to a minor recently.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:18 AM
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Are pubs cheating? Because there's a few pubs in my town which have been trading since the 17th century.
Pubs are acceptable. Not only are they acceptable, but you proved my prediction correct:

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
I suspect that once the Brits start posting in this thread they'll probably tell us about how their favorite pub has been there since the 1700s or some such thing.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:11 PM
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Too many of these are closing.

Becker's newsstand, in my home town, was there since the 1930s. But newsstands have had their business taken from them in recent years. The store where I bought candy, countless comic books, and many paperbacks closed at the end of last year.

In Boston, the Durgin-Park restaurant, which had been in Quincy Marketplace since 1827, closed last January.

Jacob Wirth's, founded in 1868, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and put up for sale

The Locke-Ober restaurant , founded in 1875, closed in 2012.

The only old restaurant left in Boston is the Union Oyster House (1826)
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:40 PM
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Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center in Wheaton. If you're a musician in the DC metro area, especially on the DC/Maryland side, you know Chuck's. Paul Reed Smith worked there in the 70s. Danny Gatton was a frequent customer. Stevie Wonder visits the store annually.
They didn't move to their present location in Wheaton until the late sixties, though. I thought they moved from H Street in DC after the 1968 riots.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:49 PM
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This place just went out of business after 111 YEARS! (not a typo, read the article linked)

Just down the street from the now closed cigar shop is The Egyptian Theatre

Also, about a mile away is the Boise Train Depot
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:08 PM
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In Montreal Schwartz's Deli has been there for 91 years and Moishe's Steakhouse for 81.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:54 PM
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The only old restaurant left in Boston is the Union Oyster House (1826)
Originally, my gr-gr-great-grandfather's general store. Upstairs the colonists published the Massachusetts Spy (before 1776, of course).
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:09 PM
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And in the area where I live now -- I can't think of any in Folsom itself, I can think of several in Sacramento:
Shit. You're the second other Folsomite I know of on the SDMB.

There are two I can think of that have been there "forever" as far as I'm concerned: the Hacienda del Rio restaurant and Snooks Candies, both near Sutter St. Upon checking, the Hacienda opened in 1979 and Snooks in 1963.

The Folsom Hotel says it's been around since 1885. But I hardly ever went in there, so it's not quite a local institution to my mind. The Hacienda and Snooks I remember going to from a very early age, and many dozens of times each.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:40 PM
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Well,
Antoines could count. Hardly unchanged, but still in the family.
Since 1840. They claim to be the second oldest restaurant in the U.S.

https://antoines.com

There are a couple of other places in the Quarter that date from the 1800s, but some of them have moved buildings a few times. One of the problems when the buildings are 300 years old and weren't built to last!

Last edited by rbroome; 08-13-2019 at 07:41 PM. Reason: updated ages
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:57 PM
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One of the restaurants we frequent is a place called The Tavernette. It's located in the little village of Medway, Ohio, and has been in continuous operation since 1939. Good food, good drinks, and an excellent atmosphere, I might add.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:12 PM
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Shit. You're the second other Folsomite I know of on the SDMB.

There are two I can think of that have been there "forever" as far as I'm concerned: the Hacienda del Rio restaurant and Snooks Candies, both near Sutter St. Upon checking, the Hacienda opened in 1979 and Snooks in 1963.

The Folsom Hotel says it's been around since 1885. But I hardly ever went in there, so it's not quite a local institution to my mind. The Hacienda and Snooks I remember going to from a very early age, and many dozens of times each.
Since I only moved here in 2005 I honestly had no idea either the Hacienda or Snooks had been around that long. Believe it or not I haven't actually been to the Hacienda -- some coworkers once told me that the food wasn't all that great and the only reason people go there is for the ambiance. I have taken visitors to Snooks. I'm not sure if the Folsom Hotel would meet my criteria of being mostly unchanged since opening, since it's now just a bar rather than a functioning hotel (I assume based on the name that it used to be an actual hotel).

Now that I think about it, maybe the Sutter Club sports bar on Sutter Street would count. I've never been in there either as it's a bit too dive-y for my taste*, but it seems like I've seen pictures of it in historical photos dating from the 1960s. I've always thought of that place as more of a dive than a local institution. Same goes for Folsom Lake Bowl. It does seem like it's been there a long time, I have no idea how long, but feels more like a dive than an institution. Went bowling there for a workplace team building event once and at the time they were still using 1980s era score keeping computers. I guess that does meet my criteria for not changing. Ok, they have upgraded their equipment since then.

How long has Mary's Gold Miner Cafe been there? A little nondescript restaurant in an older strip mall, I never would have thought of going there if a former coworker hadn't raved about their breakfasts. When I did try going there for breakfast the place was packed and we had to wait for a table. I guess being that popular may make them a local institution in their own right.

*Ironically, while I really like diners and drive-ins, I'm not a fan of dives.

Last edited by WildaBeast; 08-13-2019 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:26 PM
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Although speaking of hotels, there are two hotels up in Grass Valley and Nevada City that have been operating since the Gold Rush era, the Holbrooke in Grass Valley and the National Hotel in Nevada City. Both happen to be closed for renovation/restoration at the moment, but it appears that the owners of both properties intend to reopen them as actual hotels.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:32 PM
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Believe it or not I haven't actually been to the Hacienda -- some coworkers once told me that the food wasn't all that great and the only reason people go there is for the ambiance.
Very likely true. I don't live in Folsom anymore, though I visit my parents there regularly. It's been probably 15+ years since I've been to the Hacienda. I'm sure it's one of those not-particularly-authentic but serviceable restaurants that you might take a large group of people to with the goal of not really offending anyone. But in any case, they've occupied the top floor of that big tan building since forever. And 15-year-old me still thought they were decent.

The better Mexican restaurant was the Sonora Inn. But they got shut down by the health inspector quite a while back.

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How long has Mary's Gold Miner Cafe been there?
Not sure, honestly. The first time I'd been there was actually in the last year. Never been a big breakfast person.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:56 AM
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Out in the megaburbs here there's really nothing business-wise around that predates the mid-70s anymore.

E.g., there used to be a long time family farm with a large produce stand on a major highway. Mrs. FtG worked for a bit across the road from it so she knew them some. But about 20 years ago it was sold and now there's a Walmart complex there.

Even the "old town" near us doesn't have any old businesses. Because of the poor location off the main roads you just get clueless people spending their savings opening up a shop that isn't going to last long. The "old timey" restaurant there is only 6 years old. I'm surpised it's lasted that long.

There had been a really ancient gas station on a corner near us but it was closed when we moved here long ago. Still it was interesting to drive past it. The old bubble top pumps, a rusted out canopy, a tiny cinder block garage, the owner's house next to it. At some point the pumps went away. Then last year it was replaced by a chain gas/mart thing. A lot of pumps. No bubble tops to be seen.
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:27 PM
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There's a gardening shop about a half mile away, that predates our entire subdivision. It's on a largeish plot of land, and completely surrounded by densely built houses, townhouses and condos. They've managed to keep viable, which is fantastic - I live in fear of the day the family decides to cash in on the real estate values.

There was a nearby golf course that finally bit the bullet and sold off to developers. Not a whole lot of green space around here any more.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:03 PM
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Almost got married at the Washington Crossing Inn, which was originally built in 1817 and been a restaurant/inn since early 1900's. My finace at the time (now my wife ;-)) fell in love with the colonial feel.

McGillians Olde Ale House "opened the year Lincoln was elected".

Not sure if it counts cause it's been rebuilt a couple times, but City Tavern's been around since before that pesky dust-up with the Brits

Also may not count, but The Union League is a "private membership club" around since Lincoln's time as well
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:53 PM
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C.O. Bigelow has been on 6th Ave of Greenwich Village, NYC since 1838: https://www.bigelowchemists.com/our-history
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Although speaking of hotels, there are two hotels up in Grass Valley and Nevada City that have been operating since the Gold Rush era, the Holbrooke in Grass Valley...
Apparently Mark Twain really got around. He was a customer at C.O. Bigelow and the Hotel Holbrooke claims he was a guest there.

Last edited by WildaBeast; 08-14-2019 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:38 PM
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[*]Pancake Circus ...But you obviously go there for the pancakes -- they serve breakfast all day.
No, you go there for all the creepy CLOWNS! And the pancakes are pretty good.

My nomination is 98 years old and from my home town. Far as I know, it's been in the same place all that time. The Sugar Bowl. It's Air Conditioned!

Around the corner is a quirky burger place called the Choo-Choo that's been serving up food by train since 1951. Amazingly, they've kept on chugging despite being a couple blocks away from Ray Kroc and his new burger place. At the time, Mr. Kroc thought the Choo-Choo would put him out of business because he didn't have anywhere for customers to sit down.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:54 PM
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The two that come to mind in my neck of the woods are The Cats Roadhouse in Los Gatos--originally built in the late 1800s--and Casa De Fruta, which has been around since at least the 1940s.

Last edited by blondebear; 08-14-2019 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:17 PM
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I've been to a teahouse in Kyoto that's been open since the 15th century. It's, er, not exactly in my area though (sorry).
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:49 PM
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Red Knapps Dairy Bar, Rochester, MI. I drive by it every day I go to work. I only have seen it since the 80s, but it presumably hasn't changed since it opened in the 60s, and I like to think it has continuously played the exact same set of music.
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:22 PM
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Pellici's, a cafe in Bethnal Green. There are lots of businesses that have been around for longer - this cafe opened in 1900 - but this one is unusual in that the same family still run it. They've never turned it into a chain, they just run a very small, crowded cafe and the food is fantastic. The service is even better, nonna in the kitchen cooking the food, grandkids serving, and genuine locals are still the major clientele. I took my ex's Dad when he was feeling a bit down about the world, and they chatted to him loads about where he was from and gave him a free bread pudding as we left. There was nothing obvious about him to say he was sad, they were just lovely, lovely people.

They still close every August like old Italian restaurants used to in the UK (and some in Italy still do).

The decor is gorgeous, mostly from the 1940s.

https://www.esquire.com/uk/food-drin...044/e-pellici/ - Everything here is true. There is no way to overstate how wonderful this place is. It makes you feel better about the world.

https://epellicci.co.uk/
  #44  
Old 08-14-2019, 09:51 PM
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Isn't there some hotel in Japan that's been in operation continuously for something like a thousand years?
  #45  
Old 08-14-2019, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
No, you go there for all the creepy CLOWNS! And the pancakes are pretty good.
Ok, also the clowns.

Based on your location I thought you were going to nominate the Tadich Grill in San Francisco, which claims to be California's oldest restaurant, founded in 1849 at the start of the Gold Rush. Although it looks like they've "only" been in their current location since 1967.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:18 AM
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I work for a plumbing supply house that’s had only two owners since 1929.
  #47  
Old 08-15-2019, 11:41 PM
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Mickie's Dairy Bar (a greasy spoon across the street from the University of Wisconsin) has been serving huge griddlecakes, five-pound scramblers, and malts for breakfast since 1946.

They still have an old 50s menu on the wall.
  #48  
Old 08-16-2019, 12:55 AM
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Waikiki has changed greatly from our student days in the early 1990s, but Roughage Natural Foods is still in the same dinky little shop it's always been in on Kuhio Avenue. I've never been inside, but I know it's very popular.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:42 AM
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I suspect that once the Brits start posting in this thread they'll probably tell us about how their favorite pub has been there since the 1700s or some such thing.
Yeah, but it's 6 miles away, much too far to drive.
  #50  
Old 08-16-2019, 04:27 AM
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Locally, we have Shanghai Chop Suey, from 1949. It's your typical Chinese-Canadian place, such as you might find anywhere on the Prairies. Sweet-and-sour chicken balls, chicken fried rice, beef-and-broccoli, and so on. And of course, chop suey.

Though other places in town have done Chinese cuisine well and better in the years since (Mimi's comes to mind), the Shanghai does well, business-wise. It's the tradition that keeps it going, I guess; though it is tasty when you want Canadian-Chinese cuisine.
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