Food & Nutrition

The 15 Oldest Restaurant Chains in the Country

Many of today’s best-known chain restaurants have been around since the early 1900s! Can you name all 15 of them?

A&W (1919)

A&WSusan Montgomery/Shutterstock

That’s right—the root beer kings founded the first-ever chain restaurant in America. By the 1970s, A&W even had more locations open than McDonald’s. Today, they aren’t known for their food as much as they are for their root beer… but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Pick up some A&W to make our Root Beer Float Cake.

White Castle (1921)

White CastleKen Wolter/Shutterstock

White Castle got its start by selling five-cent sliders, a cheaper take on hamburgers. The business model worked, and White Castle is still around over 90 years later. In 2014, Time named the Original Slider the “most influential burger of all time”! 

Dairy Queen (1940)

Dairy Queenkevin brine/Shutterstock

They’ve had more than 75 years’ experience flipping your Blizzard upside down! Dairy Queen was one of the first restaurant franchises ever founded, but strangely enough, the first location wasn’t in a big metropolis like most of the other chains. Instead, the first soft-serve cone came out of Joliet, Illinois. Put in your order—all our Dairy Queen copycat recipes are delish.

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