It’s possible to eat very well today in virtually every corner of America. It could be homemade waffles or classic burgers at a popular diner, vivid foods from other cultures (such as Thai or Colombian or Moroccan), or refined Michelin-starred dining in some temple of gastronomy — or anything in-between.
In every state, however, there’s inevitably at least one establishment that has attained iconic status, a place emblematic of its surroundings — a restaurant no food-lover should miss when in the vicinity.
Sometimes these places are plain, sometimes they’re fancy. They might be relative newcomers to the dining scene or have been around for a century or more. What matters is that, in one way or another, they represent and define their time and place — sometimes simply by perfecting some unique local specialty. (These are the signature dishes from 50 American cities.)
The places on the list are the kinds somebody might say, “You went to [wherever] and you didn’t eat THERE???”
Remember that every state or city has rules governing social distancing and mask-wearing in public places, and that these rules change constantly as cases of COVID-19 increase and decrease locally. It’s always important to double-check the situation before making dining plans.
To assemble this list of can’t-miss restaurants around the country, 24/7 Tempo consulted reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Zagat, as well as numerous roundups of iconic and/or important restaurants from a wide range of online publications, including Food & Wine, Eater, Thrillist, the Travel Channel, and The Daily Meal, as well as numerous city- and state-specific sites. We also studied menus and historical information on restaurant websites, making the final choice editorially based on all these sources.
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