Union Oyster House Boston
The Union Oyster House prides itself as being the oldest restaurant in both Boston and the United States. Photo: Steve Isaacson/Flickr Creative Commons

The Union Oyster House, a historic Boston restaurant near Faneuil Hall, will stay closed on Friday after a fire Thursday night.

 

Diners were forced to evacuate the popular tourist destination, which says it is the oldest restaurant in both Boston and America, after a small fire filled the building with smoke.

 

The Boston Fire Department responded to the restaurant at about 8:30 p.m., department spokesman Steve MacDonald said. The blaze began outside, above the restaurant entrance, but did slightly spread to inside as well.

 

“The bigger problem was that it generated a lot of smoke,” MacDonald said. “The fire was fairly small and we got it out quickly, but the amount of smoke it generated forced us to have the restaurant evacuated.”

 

It took a few hours for the smoke to disperse, MacDonald said, because firefighters were taking precautions to preserve the landmark building, which was established in 1826.

 

“Because it’s an old historic building, they didn’t want to break windows,” he said. “Firefighters set up several fans to eject the smoke out.”

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. The department chief has called for an electrical inspector to come, MacDonald said, since the flames seemed to start around lights.

Union Oyster House will remain closed on Friday, Aug. 4, for clean up and restoration, the restaurant said on Twitter.

The fire began on the first floor and smoke reached the second floor, as well, where more diners are seated. There were no injuries, MacDonald said.

Union Oyster House boasts the “oldest restaurant in continuous service in the U.S — the doors have always been open to diners since 1826,” according to its website. It’s won awards such as Forbes’ “10 Classic Great Restaurants in the World, an Achievement of Excellence Award from the American Culinary Federation and more.

It’s not yet known when the establishment will reopen.