Classic Dining Map of America

Here you’ll find over 200 classic restaurants in cities from all 50 states.  It is perhaps the most comprehensive nationwide guide to traditional high-end and historic dining yet compiled.  Generally, the selections can be described as “upscale,” such as steakhouses, white tablecloth seafood restaurants, high-end ethnic restaurants and, of course, continental style fine dining.  Not included are diners, coffee shops, or roadside restaurants that have been well documented by others.

Yet, this list is by no means complete or exhaustive and I apologize if I left out your favorite restaurant.  To add your recommendations, please comment below, providing enough information for me to verify that the establishment meets my classic dining criteria.

Be sure to consult the restaurant’s website before venturing forth, because unfortunately some of these restaurants may have closed.  As for the food and service, I can’t vouch for either as restaurants do change.  Keep in mind that online reviews often focus on food and service while giving short shrift to the historic setting.  To me, authenticity, character, and atmosphere are just as important – perhaps more so in a world of chain restaurants and trendy but short-lived upstarts.

Classic restaurants with their smells, flavors, sounds and ambiance connect us to our past – sometimes several generations back – in ways that newer establishments simply can’t.  That’s the magic of classic dining.

Go forth and enjoy!

8 Responses to Classic Dining Map of America

  1. Durant’s in Phoenix AZ is about as Classic as one can get.

  2. Pingback: From the bookshelf: Classic Dining – Herb Lester Staging

  3. I love going to new restaurants and trying new foods. I am so excited to be able to travel and see new restaurants all across the country. It is always so fun and exciting to try new things.

    Eliza Lawrence |

  4. Pingback: From the bookshelf: Classic Dining – Herb Lester Dev

  5. Peter,

    Got your book for Christmas and have been enjoying it.

    If you’re ever in the Hudson Valley, definitely check out the Ship Lantern Inn on Route 9W in Milton, N.Y. (While you’re at it, also check out the Walkway over the Hudson, a few miles north, which is fantastic.) The neon sign out on 9W advertises their “Cuisine Continental Since 1925,” and the interior will take you back to the 1940s. They are known for their caesar salad and bananas foster, both of which are prepared tableside. A true classic.

  6. Hi Peter,

    Just got your book today…really fun!

    I hope you’ll check out The Pub in Pennsauken, NJ, outside Philadelphia. ( We’ve eaten there for special occasions since I was a child. It used to be much more formal…jackets required…but the menu is largely the same as it was then and the huge building hasn’t changed at all. Definitely a time warp worth checking out.

    Also, I was surprised to see Michie Tavern in the listing in back. I’ve been there and it was anything but “classic” dining…more like what you’d get in Frontierland at Disneyland or the Hoop de Doo Revue…fried chicken and some generic vegetables served on pewter. I have to think that Virginia has better offerings more in-line with the other restaurants in your book. I know that any list is subjective, but I think you’ve elevated them a bit.

    Look forward to trying out many of the surviving restaurants as I travel!

    Many thanks,

  7. paulschapman says:

    Hi Peter,

    Just got your book today – excellent job! Just wanted to give you a couple more restaurants in the Chicago area for your next edition:

    – Sabatino’s ( – this place fits the bill for what defines a classic restaurant. Tuxedo’d maitre’d’s, classic menu, tableside preparation by Enzo or Angelo (Steak Diane, Bananas Foster), piano bar, etc. Classic dining on the northwest side of Chicago.

    – The Charcoal Oven ( – this is an old school joint in Skokie, IL (just northwest of Chicago). The restored neon sign alone draws you in, and the place has been there for ages. Classic menu.

    Love the book!


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