Classics Revisited: The Vienna Inn

The restaurant world is notoriously fickle, but these15 places—all a half century old or more—have withstood the test of time.
Chili dogs are $1.50 at the Vienna Inn.
Chili dogs are $1.50 at the Vienna Inn.

This dive has been around since 1960 and, from the looks of things, hasn’t been updated much since. Stuffing sneaks out of cracks in the black vinyl covering the booths, and a dirty film covers the checkerboard linoleum floor. Servers will bring you a beer, but you’ll have to stand up and pour your own soft drink into a plastic cup.

So what’s the appeal? Great food, for one. The place has had more than a half century to perfect its chili recipe, and the rich, meaty stew doesn’t disappoint. Order it atop a hot dog with liquid cheese—a dish for which the place is deservedly famous. Blanketed in shredded cheddar and onions, a bowl of the bean-laden vegetarian version makes for a hearty lunch. We also like the old-school tuna melt served on a toasted English muffin, a tarp of Swiss sheltering the celery-studded salad.

Nostalgic eats aside, there’s just something about the Vienna Inn—that elusive quality shared by all the best grubby pubs. An added charm of this one: It doubles as a family-friendly diner where, before prime drinking hours, kids munch on grilled cheese and skinny fries while happily doodling up their placemats.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (until 6 on Sunday).

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