Original Locations of Famous Restaurants You Can Still Go To

Source: Courtesy of Maria E. via Yelp

Some chain restaurants seem like they’ve always been around, and always will be. But just like all restaurants, even the biggest chains started out with one single location – and in some cases you can still visit them today. (These are America’s 30 oldest restaurant chains.)

Some chains are so associated with a specific place that the location of its founding is obvious – Margaritaville in Key West and In-N-Out in Southern California, for example. But many chains are designed in a way that either is intentionally misleading about their origins (Outback Steakhouse was founded in Florida, not Australia, for example), leans into the local community (like Applebee’s putting photos of local high school sports teams on the walls), or actively avoids any time of place-based association. (Here, though, are some regional restaurant chains we wish were nationwide.)

When the original location of a now-ubiquitous restaurant chain still exists, it can be fun to visit. While some of the survivors have been updated and remodeled to align with current designs, others have been left pretty much as is, or remodeled to look like they did when they first opened.

To compile a list of original chain restaurant locations that are still open, 24/7 Tempo reviewed chain restaurant lists and histories on USA Today, Eat This Not That, Mental Floss, Taste of Home, Reader’s Digest, and Delish, and verified information when possible on the chains’ own websites. 

In most cases, the locations on this list still serve their original purpose, though menus have evolved over the years and facilities have been remodeled and upgraded. Two of the addresses here now function not as operating restaurants but as museums – one official, one unofficial – themed around the restaurant chain whose original location they occupy. In another case, the original location was demolished but rebuilt as a larger replica of the original.

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