Dec 10, 2023 - Food and Drink

7 oldest restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area

The JFK "proposal booth" at Martin's Tavern

The JFK "proposal booth" at Martin's Tavern. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Some of the D.C. area's oldest restaurants are still thriving.

Why it matters: New hotspots get a lot of attention, but we love these tried-and-true D.C. classics.

🦪 Old Ebbitt Grill (1856): Ebbitt's historical claim is a little tenuous given it's changed locations and owners many times, but there's a distinct throwback feel at the White House-adjacent spot — strong drinks, cold oysters, and dark wood aplenty.

ğŸŽ£ Old Angler's Inn (1860): The oldest continuously operating tavern is a Potomac destination by the fireplace in winter or summer patio.

🕯️ Iron Gate (1923): Originally stables during the Civil War, the atmospheric hospitality space fed Washingtonians for over 80 years before it closed in 2010 and reopened three years later as a wood-fired Greek restaurant.

🇮🇹 A. Litteri (1932): Originally founded at a different location in the 20s, the owners wouldn't recognize the surrounding "Union Market District" today (we barely do). But the Italian marketplace and sandwich counter stays old-school in the best way.

  • Hat tip to the slightly newer (1953) but also delicious Italian deli Mangialardo's on Capitol Hill.

🍻 Martin's Tavern (1933): The city's oldest family-run restaurant just celebrated 90 years in Georgetown under owner Billy Martin. It's a D.C. moment sitting in the JFK proposal booth for daily brunch or drinks.

🍳 Florida Avenue Grill (1944): The city's oldest soul food restaurant near U Street has changed hands over its 79 years, but the diner's breakfast platters and fried chicken feel the same. New are extended morning hours and delivery.

🐟 Crisfield's (1945): The no-frills Silver Spring seafood destination is a long-running favorite for crab cakes and croaker.

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