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If you worship food, or just enjoy being in spiritual places, consider heading to church for your next Sunday brunch (or other meal). These restaurants operate in spectacular desanctified churches—think stunning stained-glass and architecture—and serve up everything divine, from a simple sandwich to an acclaimed pizza to a gourmet repast. Nourish your spirit and your body at the same time.

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5 Church | Photo by Carole Terwilliger Meyers

5Church: Charleston, SC
Built in 1916 as the Church of the Redeemer and believed to be non-denominational, 5Church was a “Mariners’ Church” that provided support services and lodging to sailors. It was desanctified in the 1950s and became a restaurant in 2015. The New American cuisine served here includes signature dishes such as the 5Church lamb burger, a prime dry-aged “60 second” New York strip steak, shrimp & Anson Mills grits with tasso gravy, and heirloom tomato salad with local burrata and basil pistou.


Grace | Photo courtesy of Grace

Grace: Portland, ME
Built as a Methodist church in 1856, the building was desanctified around 2003 and opened as Grace in 2009. New American cuisine is the specialty, with an emphasis on French technique, and the menu changes regularly. Dishes include Frogmore Stew (Maine lobster, blowfish tails, mussels, andouille sausage, crawfish, purple potatoes and more), grilled Black Angus hanger steak with truffled pommes frittes and foie gras ketchup and a Holier Than Thou cocktail.

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John’s Pizzeria of Times Square | Photo courtesy of John’s Pizzeria

John’s Pizzeria of Times Square: New York, NY
Built in 1888 as the Gospel Tabernacle Church, this building was desanctified shortly thereafter in 1897. It opened as John’s Pizzeria a hundred years later in 1997. The restaurant is famous for its made-to-order pizzas cooked in one of their four coal-fired brick ovens, but also serves an array of Italian dishes.

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Marsha Brown’s Creole Kitchen | Photo courtesy of Marsha Brown’s

Marsha Brown Creole Kitchen: New Hope, PA
Built in 1882 as a Methodist church, this structure was desanctified in 2003. Marsha Brown opened that same year. Its specialty is refined Creole cuisine and a premier raw seafood bar. Signature dishes include Eggplant Ophelia—Marsha’s mother’s favorite shrimp and crabmeat casserole topped with grilled eggplant, and Heavenly Crab Cakes Golden served with a mustard remoulade.

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Murray’s Tivoli | Photo by Murray’s Tivoli

Murray’s: Tivoli, NY
Built in in this charming Upstate New York village in 1892 as a Methodist church, this building was transformed into a restaurant in 2015. The specialty at Murray’s is classic comfort dishes for breakfast and lunch, with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. Current customer favorites include carrot bread, kale and eggs and black quinoa and roasted vegetables.

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Our Daily Bread | Photo by Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Our Daily Bread Restaurant: Veneta, OR
Converted from a church into a bakery in 1997, then into Our Daily Bread in 2006, this former Pentecostal Church was moved piece by piece to this spot around 1945. It is unknown when it was originally built. The house specialty chicken borscht soup is thick and delicious and served with a big freshly baked roll, sandwiches are positively huge (the turkey Featherbenders Grill is a don’t-miss) and leave some room for a piece of fresh marionberry pie.

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Salt Springs Brewery | Photo courtesy of Saline Springs Brewery

Salt Springs Brewery: Saline, MI
Built in 1889 as a Methodist-Episcopal church, it is believed the church was desanctified in 1990 when the congregation moved to the city of Saline. Salt Springs Brewery restored the property in 2015 and moved in. It offers upscale American food with a focus on fresh and flavorful, the restaurant uses no processed foods. Signature appetizers include hand-cut truffle fries with house-made garlic aioli, and beer cheese made with their own craft beer and served on toasted rye bread.

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The Church Brew Works | Photo courtesy of Church Brew Works

The Church Brew Works: Pittsburgh, PA
The cornerstone for St. John the Baptist Church—an Irish and Scottish Catholic church—was laid on June 1, 1902. The church was put under an act of suppression by the Bishop of Pittsburgh in 1993, and this restaurant opened in 1996. The specialty at Church Brew Works is Eclectic American dishes such as non-traditional pierogies (stuffed with rattlesnake and cactus, python and purple potato, alligator and plantain—to name a few mixtures), and seven onion soup (laced with the brewery’s gold-medal-winning Pious Monk Dunkel and topped with housemade croutons and melted provolone).


Vessel | Photo courtesy of Vessel

Vessel NOLA: New Orleans, LA
Built in 1914 as a Lutheran church, this building was desanctified in 1977. Its first stint as a restaurant was several decades as Christian’s, and then in 2016 it opened as Vessel NOLA. Signature dishes on the New American menu include Smoked Fish Dip, Wild Boar Ragu and Brown Butter Fries.


McMenamin’s Chapel Pub | Photo courtesy of McMenamin’s

McMenamins Chapel Pub: Portland, OR
Not exactly a church, this PDX icon was originally built as a mortuary in 1932. It was then used for weddings and in 2006 became a pub. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The very Pacific Northwest-style pub grub at McMenamins incorporates fresh seasonal ingredients from local and regional growers and producers. Everything is made on site, and signature dishes include the hamburgers, the legendary Cajun tater tots, Scooby Snacks (mini corndogs) and a hummus plate they introduced to the area more than 25 years ago. Most people order a McMenamins handcrafted ale with their order.

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Carole Terwilliger Meyers
Carole is a Berkeley-based travel writer who most especially enjoys cultural and culinary travel. She contributes to an assortment of publications and is the author of 18 books. Carole oversees two websites, and, and she blogs at
Carole Terwilliger Meyers
- 2 days ago

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