Rick Browne traveled 46,000 miles over three years to visit America’s oldest restaurants. He has included 100 of them in his new book A Century of Restaurants: Stories and Recipes from 100 of America’s Most Historic and Successful Restaurants. (You may know Browne from TV’s Barbeque America.)
Did anybody from St. Louis make the list? Sadly, no. Crown Candy Kitchen turns 100 this year and it’s apparent that the author and his editors assembled the lineup of one hundred eateries before 2013 began.
There is one Missouri restaurant included. It’s the Savoy Grill in Kansas City. (Hey, the book is published by Andrews McMeel whose HQ in KC is just a few blocks from the Savoy!)
It is admirable that Rick Browne included funky joints in out-of-the-way places along with classy establishments in large cities. M & M Cigar Store in Butte, Montana and Hudson’s Hamburgers in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho are included along with Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn and Columbia in Ybor City (Tampa-St. Pete metro), Florida.
I have dined at two of the featured restaurants, Antoine’s in New Orleans and The Bright Star in Bessemer, Alabama. In fact, my wife and I threw a 50th anniversary party for my parents at The Bright Star.
The book is leans a bit to the northeast in its choices, mainly because that is the oldest part of the U.S. The state of New York has 12 restaurants, Massachusetts has 8 and Pennsylvania has 6.
When thumbing through A Century of Restaurants, I thought of the country song recorded by Hank Snow, Asleep at the Wheel and Johnny Cash called I’ve Been Everywhere (click title to hear it). Rick Browne has been everywhere, even to Winnemucca, Nevada (made semi-famous by the song) to spotlight The Martin Hotel.
A Century of Restaurants has gorgeous photos—Mr. Browne takes great pics to go with his words—along with recipes that look amazing. If you love food and travel, get this book! List price is 40.00. Amazon has it for 24.00, with a Kindle version for 7.99. Available 10/15/13.