41. South Dakota
> Restaurant: The Pheasant Restaurant & Lounge
> Location: Brookings
What started as a gas station café on the edge of town, this 70-year-old classic in Brookings, a small city north of Sioux Falls, has grown into a serious restaurant with local flavor. Dishes not to miss include the South Dakota specialty called chislic (cubes of deep-fried lamb served with blue cheese dressing and crackers), pheasant salad with lettuce wraps, pan-fried wild-caught walleye, and local bison filet with a raspberry and herb sauce inspired by a Native American recipe.
> Restaurant: Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
> Location: Mason
“Hot” fried chicken has been one of the biggest food trends of the decade. While it may have been around as early as the 1930s and is usually said to have been popularized by Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville, Gus’s and its almost 30 locations around the U.S. have done a lot to introduce it to a wider audience. This location, in a small town northeast of Memphis, is where it all started, and still serves up some of the best spicy fried chicken around.
> Restaurant: Kreuz Market
> Location: Lockhart
The Texas Hill Country, between Austin and San Antonio, is barbecue paradise, and Kreuz — which is no longer a market, just a big, thriving restaurant — bills itself as “the birthplace of Texas BBQ.” Though pork variations are available, Kreuz serves mostly beef, the focus of ‘cue in the Lone Star State — brisket, ribs, clod (chuck roast), prime rib, and sausages.
> Restaurant: Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm
> Location: Boulder
Located in the remote hamlet of Boulder (population 225) in southern Utah, Hell’s Backbone combines an organic farm with an environmentally responsible restaurant, serving what it terms “fanciful Four Corners cuisine” (a reference to the area where the corners of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet). Pumpkin and apple soup, Hopi-style lamb-stuffed peppers, and chocolate chile cream pot are typical dishes. The restaurant closes annually from late fall until spring, and because of the pandemic, it has not yet set a reopening date for 2021.
> Restaurant: Wayside Restaurant, Bakery & Creamery
> Location: Montpelier
“Yankee cooking at its best since 1918,” brags this traditional American restaurant, bakeshop, and ice cream parlor. Fried clam strips, ham steak, and (for the adventurous) pickled honeycomb beef tripe, are typical entrées. Desserts include homemade pies, Grapenut custard pudding, and of course Wayside ice cream.