Embarking on a cross-country culinary adventure is a tantalizing prospect for any food enthusiast. The United States, a melting pot of diverse cultures and cuisines, offers a smorgasbord of delectable dishes waiting to be discovered. In this gastronomic journey, we will explore Every State’s Must-Eat Restaurant, highlighting the iconic establishments that have become synonymous with local flavors and culinary excellence.
Alabama – Dreamland Bar-B-Que (Tuscaloosa):
Kicking off our culinary tour in the heart of the South, Alabama’s Dreamland Bar-B-Que in Tuscaloosa is a barbecue lover’s paradise. Established in 1958, this legendary joint is renowned for its mouthwatering ribs, smoky pulled pork, and tangy barbecue sauce. The rustic atmosphere and finger-licking goodness make it a must-visit for anyone craving authentic Southern barbecue.
Alaska – Snow City Cafe (Anchorage):
Heading north to the Last Frontier, Snow City Cafe in Anchorage is a breakfast haven with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. From reindeer sausage omelets to Alaskan salmon benedicts, this cozy eatery captures the essence of Alaskan cuisine. The laid-back vibe and commitment to freshness make it a top pick for locals and visitors alike.
Arizona – Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix):
In the desert oasis of Phoenix, Pizzeria Bianco stands out as a pizza lover’s paradise. Chef Chris Bianco’s artisanal approach to pizza-making has earned him acclaim nationwide. The wood-fired pizzas, featuring high-quality ingredients and a perfectly crispy crust, have made this unassuming pizzeria a culinary gem in the Southwest.
Arkansas – Doe’s Eat Place (Little Rock):
A hidden gem in Little Rock, Doe’s Eat Place is an Arkansas institution known for its no-frills atmosphere and mouthwatering steaks. This historic establishment has been serving up hearty portions of perfectly cooked beef since 1988. The combination of Southern hospitality and exceptional steak makes Doe’s a must-try for carnivores.
California – In-N-Out Burger (Various Locations):
No culinary journey through California would be complete without a stop at In-N-Out Burger. This iconic fast-food chain, with its simple yet delectable menu, has a cult following. The fresh ingredients, secret menu items, and commitment to quality make In-N-Out a West Coast legend.
Colorado – Buckhorn Exchange (Denver):
For a taste of the Old West, Buckhorn Exchange in Denver is the place to be. Established in 1893, this historic steakhouse is adorned with taxidermy and Western memorabilia. Known for its exotic game meat selections, including elk, bison, and rattlesnake, Buckhorn Exchange offers a unique dining experience that transports guests back in time.
Connecticut – Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (New Haven):
In the pizza-loving state of Connecticut, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven is a slice of heaven. Known for its coal-fired brick oven and thin-crust pies, this pizzeria has been a local favorite since 1925. The White Clam Pizza, topped with fresh clams, garlic, and olive oil, is a must-try for those seeking a truly authentic Connecticut pizza experience.
Delaware – Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats (Rehoboth Beach):
Delaware’s culinary scene gets a crafty twist at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach. This brewpub, founded by craft beer pioneer Sam Calagione, not only serves up innovative beers but also boasts a menu featuring beer-infused dishes. The marriage of craft beer and culinary creativity makes this spot a standout in the First State.
Florida – Joe’s Stone Crab (Miami Beach):
No visit to Florida is complete without indulging in the state’s famous stone crab claws, and Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach is the place to do it. Established in 1913, Joe’s has become an institution known for its succulent crab claws and classic Floridian seafood dishes. The timeless elegance and seafood excellence make Joe’s a must-visit in the Sunshine State.
Georgia – The Varsity (Atlanta):
A trip to Georgia wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Varsity in Atlanta, an iconic drive-in that has been serving up classic American fare since 1928. Known for its chili dogs, onion rings, and frosted orange shakes, The Varsity is a nostalgic taste of the past and a testament to Georgia’s rich culinary history.
Hawaii – Alan Wong’s (Honolulu):
In the tropical paradise of Hawaii, Alan Wong’s in Honolulu stands out as a culinary gem. Chef Alan Wong is a pioneer of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine, blending local flavors with global influences. The innovative menu, featuring dishes like macadamia nut-crusted mahi-mahi, showcases the diversity of Hawaii’s culinary landscape.
Idaho – The Basque Market (Boise):
Idaho’s Basque heritage comes to life at The Basque Market in Boise. This vibrant market and cafe celebrate the flavors of the Basque Country with dishes like chorizo-stuffed dates and paella. The communal atmosphere and authentic flavors make it a must-visit for those seeking a taste of Idaho’s unique cultural tapestry.
Illinois – Alinea (Chicago):
For a culinary experience that transcends traditional dining, Alinea in Chicago is a Michelin-starred destination that pushes the boundaries of gastronomy. Chef Grant Achatz’s avant-garde approach to molecular gastronomy and immersive dining experiences has earned Alinea international acclaim. It’s a must-visit for those seeking a culinary adventure in the heart of the Midwest.
Indiana – St. Elmo Steak House (Indianapolis):
In the heart of Indianapolis, St. Elmo Steak House has been a steak lover’s haven since 1902. Known for its famous shrimp cocktail and dry-aged steaks, this historic establishment exudes timeless elegance and culinary excellence. St. Elmo’s commitment to quality and tradition makes it a must-eat destination in Indiana.
Iowa – Hamburg Inn No. 2 (Iowa City):
A true Iowa institution, Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa City is famous for its breakfast and the “Coffee Bean Caucus.” This diner-style eatery has been a gathering place for politicians and locals alike since 1948. The pie shakes, featuring actual pieces of pie blended into a milkshake, are a quirky and delicious highlight of the menu.
Kansas – Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que (Kansas City):
In the barbecue capital of the world, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que stands out as a smoke-filled haven for meat lovers. Formerly known as Oklahoma Joe’s, this iconic barbecue joint consistently ranks among the best in the nation. The burnt ends and Z-Man sandwich are must-try dishes that showcase Kansas City’s barbecue prowess.
Kentucky – The Brown Hotel (Louisville):
In the heart of bourbon country, The Brown Hotel in Louisville is famous for its Hot Brown sandwich. This open-faced turkey sandwich, smothered in Mornay sauce and topped with bacon, has been a local delicacy since the 1920s. The historic charm of The Brown Hotel and the indulgent Hot Brown make it a quintessential Kentucky dining experience.
Louisiana – Commander’s Palace (New Orleans):