Why Are So Many Restaurants Claiming to Be Michigan’s Oldest?
When it comes to being the oldest, newest, best, or most of something it stands to reason that there would only be one of those things. You can't have two things that claim to be the oldest in a certain location, right?
Well, here in Michigan we have not two but multiple food-service establishments that have now claimed to be the oldest in the state.
Browsing through the Facebook group Abandoned, Old and Interesting Things in Michigan will lead you to discover new places or brand new things about this state we call home. As an example, someone named Mike H. recently shared photos of his trip to what he called the oldest restaurant in Michigan, Sleder's Family Tavern.
Sure enough, a visit to their Facebook page reveals that Sleder's Family Tavern, located in Traverse City, claims to be,
Michigan's Oldest, Continuously Operating Restaurant! A Traverse City Tradition Since 1882.
But, hold on just one second. Wasn't there a previous claim of Michigan's oldest restaurant residing in SW Michigan?
The first result after a quick Google search of, "Michigan's oldest restaurant" is from michigan.org which points to the Old Tavern Inn in Niles as being,
recognized by the State of Michigan as being the oldest business in Michigan still operating in its original building.
Old Tavern Inn was founded in 1835, according to michigan.org. But, their lack of social media presence and working website leads one to wonder if they're still in business. Perhaps that's why Sleder's Family Tavern can "beat" them with their claim of being the oldest in Michigan.
However, operating or not, Old Tavern Inn still isn't the oldest in Michigan.
According to Onlyinyourstate.com, New Hudson Inn would actually be the oldest.
New Hudson Inn's website claims they were established in 1831 which would, obviously, beat Old Tavern Inn's date of 1835.
Similarly, White Horse Inn is said to have been established in 1850 which would make it older than Sleder's Family Tavern. #fullofconfusion
Regardless of whether it's the oldest continuously operating restaurant, the oldest bar, or just the oldest in general...it's clear Michigan has a lot of history in the food-service world. Even if it is a bit confusing.
And even if it's not "the oldest", I bet most of these places have incredible stories and even some trinkets from the past that would be intriguing to those who love vintage things. Speaking of which, have you seen this new store in Kalamazoo?