Special Report

The One Can’t Miss Restaurant In Every State

Source: ralphandjenny / Flickr

1. Alabama
> Restaurant: Highlands Bar & Grill
> Location: Birmingham

Highlands chef-owner Frank Stitt was a pioneer of contemporary Southern cuisine, and has been serving excellent food based on regional ingredients and traditions since 1982. Stone-ground baked grits with Benton’s country ham and pompano with jumbo lump crabmeat are among the offerings. The restaurant is temporarily closed.

2. Alaska
> Restaurant: Tracy’s King Crab Shack
> Location: Juneau

It’s nothing but crab at Tracy’s, mostly Alaska’s famed king crab, but sometimes also local Dungeness. Crab bisque, crab cakes, and just plain giant crab legs and claws — that’s the menu (plus rice, coleslaw, and assorted wines and Alaskan craft beers).

3. Arizona
> Restaurant: El Charro Café
> Location: Tucson

America’s oldest Mexican restaurant under continuous operation by the same family, El Charro, founded in 1922, claims to have been the birthplace of the chimichanga — the deep-fried burrito common in the Southwest. The restaurant is so emblematic of Tucson that the galley on the U.S.S. Tucson submarine has been named El Charro Down Under. (There are three additional locations in the Tucson area, including one at the airport, but the iconic original is best.)

Source: Courtesy of Sheila Ware / Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales and Pies / Facebook

4. Arkansas
> Restaurant: Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales and Pies
> Location: Lake Village

Tamales, made with cornmeal instead of masa, have been a Mississippi Delta tradition for at least a century, introduced to the region by Mexican farmworkers. Rhoda’s, just across the Mississippi River from Mississippi itself, is famous for its version, filled with beef and chicken fat. The sweet potato and pecan pies are equally notable, and together with the tamales constitute a quintessential Arkansas food experience. It is temporarily open for takeout only.

Source: David Livingston / Getty Images

5. California
> Restaurant: Musso & Frank Grill
> Location: Los Angeles

The Golden State is full of can’t-miss restaurants — Chez Panisse in Berkeley, the French Laundry in Napa Valley, Spago in Beverly Hills, and more — but a visit to this 101-year-old Hollywood institution, which everyone calls Musso’s, is essential for anyone who loves history and tradition. The all-American menu with its French and Italian accents offers an immense choice of dishes, all of them cooked correctly, and it has played host to every Hollywood celebrity from Charlie Chaplin and Humphrey Bogart to George Clooney and Brad Pitt — the latter of whom also supped here, in character, in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The restaurant is currently open for takeout and delivery only.