Union Oyster House

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Union Oyster House
Union Oyster House Boston MA.jpg
Union Oyster House
Union Oyster House is located in Boston
Union Oyster House
Union Oyster House is located in Massachusetts
Union Oyster House
Union Oyster House is located in the US
Union Oyster House
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°21′41″N 71°3′25″W / 42.36139°N 71.05694°W / 42.36139; -71.05694Coordinates: 42°21′41″N 71°3′25″W / 42.36139°N 71.05694°W / 42.36139; -71.05694
Built pre-1714
Architectural style Georgian, other
Part of Blackstone Block Historic District (#73000315)
NRHP reference # 03000645[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 27, 2003
Designated NHL May 27, 2003
Designated CP May 26, 1973

Union Oyster House, open to diners since 1826, is amongst the oldest operating restaurants in the United States of America, and the oldest that has been continuously operating since being opened. It is located at 41–43 Union Street, Boston, Massachusetts. The building was listed as a National Historic Landmark on May 27, 2003.


The building itself was built prior to 1714, most likely in 1704. Before it became a restaurant, Hopestill Capen's dress goods business occupied the property. In 1771 printer Isaiah Thomas published his newspaper, The Massachusetts Spy, from the second floor. The restaurant originally opened as the Atwood & Bacon Oyster House on August 3, 1826.[2]

The Union Oyster House has a number of famous people in history as diners, including the Kennedy clan and Daniel Webster. Webster was known for regularly consuming at least six plates of oysters.[3] Perhaps most surprising, in 1796 Louis Philippe, king of France from 1830 to 1848, lived in exile on the second floor. He earned his living by teaching French to young women. Labor economist and president of Haverford College John Royston Coleman worked here incognito as a "salad-and-sandwich man" for a time in the 1970s and documented the experience in his book The Blue Collar Journal.[4]

The food is traditional New England fare, including seafoods such as oysters, clams, and lobsters, as well as poultry, baked beans, steak and chops. The toothpick was said to have been popularized in America starting at the Oyster House.

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See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Yee, Vivian, "At Union Oyster House, a Feast of History", Boston Globe, August 3, 2011
  3. ^ Kerr, Jean; Smith, Spencer (2006). Mystic Seafood. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot. p. 14. ISBN 978-0762741373. 
  4. ^ https://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0A16F93F58137B93C6A9178FD85F408785F9

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