The first Little Tavern opened March 24, 1927, in Louisville, Kentucky, by Harry F. Duncan. The first Washington location was opened in October 1928 and the first in Baltimore opened its doors in June 1930. By 1937, there were 33 shops open. At the height of the chain, there were almost 50 locations. Duncan sold the chain in 1981. The last restaurant closed on April 29, 2008.
The slogan of the chain was "Buy 'em by the bag", and its signs promised "Cold drinks * Good Coffee". The stores were quite small and could accommodate only a few seated customers, while most business was take-out.
From 1928 to 1931, Little Taverns had block construction and their castle design closely resembled White Castles and White Towers of the same era. Baltimore No. 3, was the first Little Tavern to employ the "Tudor cottage" design that would become so closely associated with the chain for years to come.
- White Coffee Pot another Baltimore-based restaurant
- Little Tavern Shops website
- Ghosts of Baltimore website
- Historical preservation of Little Tavern in Silver Spring, Maryland
- The adaptive reuse of Little Taverns