The Oldest Restaurant in Maine is a Treasured Dining Car in Biddeford
An Oldie But a Goodie
Recently shared on r/coolguides on Reddit was an infographic on the oldest restaurants in each state from howtocook.recipes.
The oldest on the list is The ‘76 House in Tappan, New York, built in 1668. According to the graphic, this was a meeting place for patriots during the Revolutionary War.
Here in Maine, the honor of oldest restaurant goes to Palace Diner in Biddeford. The Palace Diner is unique in that it is a training dining car made into a full-blown diner. It was built in 1927 by the Pollard Company and is one of the two cars made by the Pollard Company that still exists today according to the Palace Diner website.
It was originally owned and operated by a locomotive engineer turned restauranteur by the name of Louis Lachance from 1927 until 1962 according to Downeast.
The train car/diner found new life back in 2014 with new owners, Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell but even after a lifetime has passed since The Palace Diner originally opened, little has changed. In fact, according to Atlas Obscura, you can still see the words “Ladies Invited” painted on the car since there was a time long ago when dining cars were typically viewed as being for the men.
What to Expect
The Palace Diner may not be a high-class 5-star restaurant that you might find in downtown Portland, but it’s rare to find Palace Diner empty or even low on guests. With limited space and delicious diner favorites, it’s definitely worth the wait. Breakfast and lunch options are available all day, and all day is 8am until 2pm. Palace Diner includes just the kind of dishes you want at a diner; eggs, potatoes, flapjacks, a Lumberjack breakfast, corned beef hash, cheeseburger and fries, and more. No frills. Just tasty food.
And while dining within The Palace Diner is a must experience, if you’re short on time they now offer online ordering for grab and go.
Next time you’re in Biddeford be sure to check out Palace Diner located at 18 Franklin Street and open 7 days a week from 8am until 2pm.