America is filled with history, but let's talk about what's important— food. Here's a short list of some of the first and oldest restaurants in America you need to go to before you die.
1. Louis' Lunch
Louis' Lunch in New Haven, CT is considered the first hamburger joint in America. It all started one day in 1900 when a guy needed lunch on the go, so Louis put steak trimmings on toast, and the rest is history. I hope you don't like ketchup because no condiments allowed.
They have a sign that says "this is not Burger King, you don't get it your way. You take it my way, or you don't get the damn thing," because they want the simplicity of the cheeseburger to be appreciated.
Lombardi's was founded in 1905 and is the first pizzeria in America, located in Manhattan's Little Italy. You know the first pizzeria has to live up to its name, and Lombardi's does it well with coal-fired pizza and fresh ingredients.
3. Red's Eats
Red's Eats in Wiscasset, ME is considered the "World's Best Lobster Shack" and has been around for 78 years; can confirm it's the best. It's a small red caboose, but their lobster rolls are far from small, so prepare yourselves for overflowing lobster on a buttery roll.
Matt's Bar in Minneapolis, MN is the home of the original "Jucy Lucy" (they ditched the 'i'), from 1954. I'm not kidding when I tell you I ordered a second one because they're that good. The Jucy Lucy was discovered when a customer asked for two patties with a slice of cheese in the middle. Former President Barack Obama ate here too, so pack your bags ASAP and be ready for an explosion of warm cheese in every bite.
Rao's in NYC is recognized as one of the oldest family-owned and operated restaurants in its original location since 1896. All tables are reserved for celebrities, so unless you're Tom Cruise you'll never eat inside the original Rao's. Sorry, but you just didn't make the cut— same here. Lucky for us mortals, we can eat inside a replica room in Vegas and still enjoy the simple Italian Cuisine.
Maneki in Seattle, WA was established in 1904 as the first sushi bar, tatami rooms, and karaoke bar. They serve traditional family-style Japanese food and have a "grandma's house" atmosphere.
Union Oyster House holds the prestigious title of being America's oldest restaurant, residing in Boston, MA on the Freedom Trail. Fun fact: the toothpick was first used in the US at this restaurant for promoting business and now look where we are. Order some oysters and clam chowder here for the all Americana feel.
'Merica wanted this to be convenient for you, so next door to the oldest restaurant is proudly the first tavern. The Bell In Hand Tavern had its first pour in 1795. Enjoy an excellent meal and cold beer and then visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace because it's right next to it.
Columbia Restaurant opened in 1905 in Ybor City Historic District in Tampa, FL. It is the world's largest Spanish restaurant and Florida's oldest restaurant—wow. I'm sure you won't mind indulging in century-old family recipes at this gem like paella and roasted pork.
10. Primanti Bros.
Last, but not least is Primanti Bros., which originated in Pittsburgh, PA. It all started as a cart in the Burgh's Strip District, making sandwiches for hungry truck drivers in the 1930s. Primanti Bros. is famous for putting fries and homemade coleslaw on their sandwiches, and yes, it's as big as your face. Eat here if you love sandwiches as much as Joey Tribbiani.
Hit the road and eat at all these special places that shaped America's cuisine into what it is today. Now you have a beginner's guide on how to travel across the US. It revolves around food and a few country roads, so start livin' large with great food and history.