It is often said that – unlike, say, France or China or Mexico – America has no cuisine of its own. That’s not true, of course. We have many, from Cajun and Creole to Tex-Mex to Italian-American and beyond. True, these are cuisines influenced by the cooking of other places, but then that’s true of virtually every cuisine in the world. In addition, as a growing number of restaurants run by Native Americans is proving, even before foreign influences began arriving, there were culinary traditions unique to our shores.
Add to all our food traditions, whether indigenous or adapted from elsewhere, the ever-growing number of restaurants on every level serving vivid foods from other cultures (Thai, Indian, Colombian, Brazilian, Moroccan, Senegalese, etc., etc.) and it becomes pretty clear that our country is a wonderful place to eat. (Here, for instance, are the best Thai restaurants in America.)
Despite the vast variety of possibilities available to us today, however, every state possesses at least one establishment that has attained iconic status – a place emblematic of its surroundings, one that no food-lover should miss when in the vicinity, one that might inspire some savvy traveler to say “You went to [wherever] and you didn’t eat THERE???” (Of course, iconic restaurants often serve examples of America’s most iconic dishes.)
Click here to see the one must-visit restaurant in every state
To assemble a list of the one must-visit restaurant in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor, as well as numerous roundups of iconic and/or important restaurants from a wide range of online publications, including Food & Wine, Eater, Thrillist, and The Daily Meal, as well as numerous city- and state-specific sites. We also studied menus and historical information on restaurant websites, making our final choices based on editorial discretion.
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