> Restaurant: Pekin Noodle Parlor
> Location: Butte
Don’t expect cutting-edge Chinese fusion cuisine here, or regional specialties from the kitchen of Hunan or Beijing. The menu is strictly old-school, with an ample selection of chop suey and chow mein variations, noodle dishes, stir-frys, and sweet-and-sour preparations, and there are eight multi-course fixed-price dinners ($9.95 to $11.95). What makes this place a must is its history. As far as anyone knows, it’s the oldest continuously operating Chinese restaurant in America. Founded in 1909 and established at its current location in 1911, it’s a remnant of a once-thriving Chinatown in Butte and a genuine taste of local history.
> Restaurant: Harold’s Koffee House
> Location: Omaha
Harold’s dates its origins back to post-World War II days, and has been in its current location since 1968. Come here in the morning for plate-sized buttermilk pancakes or a ranchers plate consisting of a 5-ounce sirloin steak or pork chop with hash browns, two eggs any style, and a choice of toast, biscuit, or (plate-sized?) pancake. Lunch is sandwiches and burgers plus some “family favorites” like country-fried steak and sliced tenderloin.
> Restaurant: Bazaar Meat
> Location: Las Vegas
Las Vegas has no shortage of spectacular restaurants run by culinary celebrities, but this extravagant, sometimes almost surrealistic ultra-steakhouse from famed Spanish chef and international humanitarian José Andrés is perhaps the most spectacular of all. Philippe Starck’s interior alternates earth tones, cool white, and hot red, and a glass and tile centerpiece displays huge slabs of beef and pork. There are contemporary tapas here (cotton candy foie gras, gazpacho shots) and some seafood (including three Vegasy caviar flights), but meat is the point — from bison carpaccio and great Spanish ham to a host of steaks (including A5 Kobe ribeye for $50 an ounce) and, by pre-order, a whole roast suckling pig ($540). You’ll know you’re in Vegas.
29. New Hampshire
> Restaurant: Polly’s Pancake Parlor
> Location: Sugar Hill
Wilfred and Polly Taylor made maple syrup and opened a tearoom in 1938 to serve pancakes that would showcase it and their other maple products. Today, Polly’s serves plain, buckwheat, cornmeal, gingerbread, whole wheat, and oatmeal buttermilk pancakes and waffles, all made from scratch. Breakfast meats come from a New Hampshire smokehouse. Breads for sandwiches (and even the English muffins) are homemade, as are the pies.
30. New Jersey
> Restaurant: The Lido
> Location: Hackensack
This 63-year-old family-owned Italian-American restaurant has a retro feel (complete with a jukebox playing classic rock from the ’60s and ’70s) and the menu plays along. Thin-crust pizza, veal parmigiana, spaghetti with meatballs, and a “world famous” sliced steak sandwich evoke the Garden State back in the day.