The origin of ye olde Union Oyster House
Historians believe that the Union Oyster House building was built in 1704. Prior to being a restaurant, the building was Hopestill Capen’s dress goods store. After that, in 1771, Isiah Thomas published his newspaper The Massachusetts Spy – the oldest newspaper in the United States – in the building. And in 1826, the structure became the Atwood & Bacon Oyster House.
The owners of the Atwood & Bacon House created the signature semi-circular oyster bar that is still present today. That bar is where longtime customer Daniel Webster would sit to drink his usual brandy and water and eat a half a dozen oysters on a daily basis. By 1916, the Atwood & Bacon Oyster House was commonly known as the Union Oyster House.
Other famous patrons of the restaurant include the Kennedy family. Indeed, the restaurant dedicated JFK’s favorite booth – located in the upstairs dining room – as “The Kennedy Booth” in his honor.
Fun fact: The toothpick was popularized in America thanks to the Union Oyster House.
The Union Oyster House today
The Union Oyster House serves traditional New England food – oysters, lobsters, clams, baked beans, steak, and chicken – just as it did years ago. Stop by for raw oysters at the famous semi-circular bar or sit at “The Kennedy Booth” and revel in the restaurant’s rich history.