The One Must-Visit Restaurant in Every State

The One Must-Visit Restaurant in Every State

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.)

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.

Source: Courtesy of Hot and Hot Fish Club

> Restaurant: Hot and Hot Fish Club
> Location: Birmingham

Named for a 19th-century gentlemen’s dining club in South Carolina, this James Beard Award-winning establishment celebrates Southern ingredients with tradition-based modern fare such as rabbit roulade with field corn, peas, and okra; grilled grouper with crawfish tails; and seven-layer carrot cake with candied pecans and butter pecan ice cream.

Source: alaska-landmine / Flickr

> Restaurant: Tracy’s King Crab Shack
> Location: Juneau

It’s nothing but crab at Tracy’s, mostly Alaska’s famed red king crab, but sometimes also local Dungeness and snow crab. Crab bisque, crab cakes, and just plain giant crab legs and claws (plus rice, coleslaw, chips, assorted wines and Alaskan craft beers, and a sprinkling of non-crab daily specials like beer-battered shrimp or BBQ pulled pork sliders) – that’s the menu.

Source: Courtesy of Jacqueline S. via Yelp

> 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. Enchiladas are also a specialty, with about 15 varieties offered. The restaurant is so emblematic of Tucson that the galley on the USS Tucson submarine has been dubbed El Charro Down Under.

Source: Courtesy of Samantha G. via Yelp

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

Tamales 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.

Source: David Livingston / Getty Images

> Restaurant: Musso & Frank Grill
> Location: Los Angeles

The Golden State is full of must-visit restaurants, earning that distinction for various reasons – Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Spago in Beverly Hills, El Cholo in downtown L.A., and more – but a visit to this 1919-vintage Hollywood institution, which everyone calls just Musso’s, is essential for anyone who loves history and tradition (and martinis). The all-American menu with its French and Italian accents offers an immense choice of dishes, all of them cooked correctly, and the place 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.”

Source: Courtesy of The Fort Restaurant via Facebook

> Restaurant: The Fort
> Location: Morrison

Opened in 1963, this adobe castle inspired by historic Bent’s Fort features what it calls “new foods of the Old West.” That means buffalo steaks and ribs, elk medallions, grilled quail – and the notorious Rocky Mountain oysters (small pieces of deep-fried buffalo testicle, which the restaurant says are one of its most popular appetizers).

Source: scaredykat / Flickr

> Restaurant: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
> Location: New Haven

Connecticut is famous for pizza, and it is commonly agreed that New Haven’s version (often called “apizza,” a Neapolitan dialect term) is the country’s best. Frank Pepe defines the style, which features a thin, charred crust, more oblong than round, from a coal-fired oven. Though it has numerous competitors today and has itself expanded to other locations in New York and around New England, the New Haven original is the place to go.

Source: Courtesy of Jeff H. via Yelp

> Restaurant: Charcoal Pit
> Location: Wilmington

Though there are numerous sandwiches and a full main course menu, burgers and ice cream sundaes are the items to have at this 66-year-old Wilmington standby. Nine of the sundaes are named for local high school teams (the McKean Highlanders, for instance, are honored with four scoops of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, bananas, walnuts, whipped cream, and a cherry). Nostalgia is a big draw here – which may help explain why it’s one of President Biden’s favorite Delaware restaurants.

Source: southbeachcars / Flickr

> Restaurant: Joe’s Stone Crab
> Location: Miami

Sweet, meaty stone crab claws are Florida’s most famous seafood offering, and Joe’s founder Joseph Weiss was the first restaurateur to serve them, starting in 1921. There’s a full menu of other fish and shellfish now, as well as a selection of meats and poultry, but in stone crab season – mid-October to mid-May – those claws are what draws the crowds.

Source: madebymark / Flickr

> Restaurant: Mary Mac’s Tea Room
> Location: Atlanta

In 2011, the Georgia House of Representatives officially named Mary Mac’s “Atlanta’s Dining Room.” The fare is mostly Southern at this genteel, unpretentious, but always lively restaurant – fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, chicken and dumplings, shrimp and cheese grits, and more.

Source: Courtesy of Sarah S. via Yelp

> Restaurant: Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai
> Location: Kailua-Kona (Big Island)

The ebullient, James Beard Award-winning Choy serves what he calls “Hawaiian heritage cuisine” at his beautifully situated restaurant on Hawaii’s Big Island. Asian braised short ribs, poke bowls and a poke wrap, and duck stew are examples.

Source: Courtesy of The Snake Pit / Facebook

> Restaurant: The Snake Pit
> Location: Enaville

This landmark establishment near Coeur d’Alene dates its origins to 1880. Along the way, it has operated under numerous different names, but has been known as the Snake Pit at least since the 1950s. Chicken-fried steak and eggs for breakfast and sandwiches and burgers for lunch and dinner are typical fare, but there are also barbeque specialties smoked in-house.

Source: Courtesy of Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern

> Restaurant: Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern
> Location: Chicago

Frank Sinatra was a regular at this 1932-vintage tavern and barbecued rib joint, with its linoleum floor, bare red tables, and nautical decor. Sinatra, hosting a party there in the 1970s, reportedly ordered “Ribs, and keep ’em coming!” Other celebrities who have enjoyed the food at this Chicago standby include Conan O’Brien, Jack Black, Mike Ditka, Goldie Hawn, and Helen Mirren.

Source: St. Elmo's Steakhouse / Facebook

> Restaurant: St. Elmo Steak House
> Location: Indianapolis

This classic steakhouse has been serving Indianapolis since 1902. There’s nothing contemporary here – just a signature shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, lobster tails, an array of steaks, and other standards of the genre. No trendy wagyu, either, but the Midwestern Black Angus beef dry-aged USDA prime steaks will do you up just fine.

Source: dirkhansen / Flickr

> Restaurant: Breitbach’s Country Dining
> Location: Balltown

It’s tough to beat a company history that opens like this: “Opened in 1852 by federal permit issued from President Millard Fillmore, Breitbach’s is Iowa’s oldest food and drinking establishment.” What’s more, the place has been in the Breitbach family since 1862. Steaks and seafood (including frogs’ legs) are featured, there’s a full range of sandwiches, and the pies are homemade. Or come for the all-you-can-eat buffets at lunchtime Thursday-Saturday and dinner Friday-Sunday.

Source: Courtesy of Stroud's - Overland Park via Facebook

> Restaurant: Stroud’s
> Location: Overland Park

The original Stroud’s opened in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1933 as a barbecue restaurant. When meat was rationed during World War II, owner Helen Stroud started serving pan-fried chicken instead, and that became Stroud’s signature. Today, more than half the menu is devoted to chicken in various forms.Several outposts of the place have opened and closed over the years, with four remaining, one in Kansas City and three others – this one in a KC suburb, another in Wichita, and a Stroud’s Express in Mission, another KC suburb.

Source: Courtesy of Nicholas K. via Yelp

> Restaurant: Jack Fry’s
> Location: Louisville

Jack Fry and his wife, Flossie, opened this place in 1933, and it ran until closing in 1972. After a decade as a Mexican restaurant, the space was reopened by new owners as Jack Fry’s again, and since then has won numerous awards, and has been identified as Kentucky’s most iconic restaurant. Spicy fried oysters, bourbon-braised short rib, and duck cassoulet are among the menu items.

Source: Sean Gardner / Getty Images News via Getty Images

> Restaurant: Galatoire’s
> Location: New Orleans

One of the legendary grandes dames of upscale New Orleans dining, Galatoire’s, founded in 1905, manages to be both elegant and casual at the same time, and always lots of fun. The extensive Creole-flavored menu ranges from oysters en brochette and seafood okra gumbo to crab-and-shrimp-stuffed eggplant and chicken Clemenceau – and it’s all superb.

Source: Courtesy of Fore Street Restaurant

> Restaurant: Fore Street
> Location: Portland

Opened in 1996 near the Portland waterfront, Fore Street was a pioneer in the use of locally sourced, sustainable produce, meats, and seafood. Much of the fare is roasted in a wood-burning oven or cooked on a wood-fired grill. Housemade charcuterie and organic Maine chicken roasted on a turnspit are among the signature dishes.

Source: Courtesy of Matthew C. via Yelp

> Restaurant: Schultz’s Crab House
> Location: Essex

“Hot steamed crabs & ice cold beer!” promises this longtime Baltimore area standard. In addition to appearing on the butcher-paper-covered tables whole (with a mallet to crack their shells), the restaurant’s eponymous crustacean shows up in crab dip, crab cakes, crab soup, and other forms. A selection of steaks and other dishes are also served, but it’s the Chesapeake Bay-style seafood that makes this a must.

Source: schmich / Flickr

> Restaurant: Union Oyster House
> Location: Boston

A National Historic Landmark, opened in 1826, this seafood-centric establishment is possibly the oldest restaurant in America. Oysters, clams, scallops, Boston scrod, and lobster broiled or boiled are among the basics served in the tavern-style dining room.

Source: Photo by Martin S. via Yelp

> Restaurant: London Chop House
> Location: Detroit

Established after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the Chop House was Motor City’s most famous restaurant for decades – the Detroit equivalent of the “21” Club in Manhattan or Chasen’s in L.A. Founder Lester Gruber sold the place in 1982, and it closed in 1991. After more than two decades, it reopened, completely refurbished, in 2012. The fare is traditional – steak tartare, French onion soup, skin-on salmon with spinach and tarragon cream, assorted steaks, etc. – and the place retains its old-time power-dining vibe.

Source: Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

> Restaurant: Spoon and Stable
> Location: Minneapolis

James Beard Award-winning chef Gavin Kaysen was executive chef and director of culinary operations for famed New York chef-restaurateur Daniel Boulud before returning to Minneapolis, where he grew up, to open this French-inspired dining destination. His accessible but sophisticated cuisine raises the bar in the city, with such dishes as sunchoke soup with farro and mushrooms, cavatelli with goat cheese and ‘nduja, and pheasant breast with sage stuffing and wild rice porridge.

Source: lucianvenutian / Flickr

> Restaurant: Doe’s Eat Place
> Location: Greenville

There are now more than a dozen other Doe’s locations in seven states (most of them franchised), but this, the original, in an old house in the Delta town of Greenville – opened as a combination grocery store and honky tonk in 1941 – is a Mississippi original. The menu is small, but the Mississippi-style tamales and the pan-fried steaks are hearty.

Source: pasa / Flickr

> Restaurant: Crown Candy Kitchen
> Location: St. Louis

Its name notwithstanding, this St. Louis tradition, opened in 1913, is more than a candy shop (though it does produce and sell its own chocolates). There’s also a soda fountain, serving homemade ice cream, plain or in elaborate sundaes, as well as malts and shakes – and a lunch and dinner menu of sandwiches, chili, and tamales.

Source: Photo by Ann M. via Yelp

> Restaurant: The Jersey Lilly
> Location: Ingomar

The original Jersey Lilly was a saloon in Langtry, Texas, near the Mexican border, run by the legendary Judge Roy Bean. The Montana incarnation, a bank building turned bar, was christened the Jersey Lilly, in homage to Bean, in 1948. It is probably not coincidental that, while it serves burgers and steaks, the Jersey Lilly’s specialty is bean soup, served with croutons and homemade salsa to be mixed in. Check before making the trip to the small community of Ingomar, northeast of Billings, as the restaurant is now temporarily closed.

Source: vwcampin / Flickr

> 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 breakfast nachos or a rancher’s 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 pancake. Lunch is sandwiches and burgers plus some “family favorites” like country-fried steak and crispy chicken strips.

Source: dalecruse / Flickr

> Restaurant: Bazaar Meat by José Andrés
> Location: Las Vegas

Las Vegas has no shortage of spectacular restaurants run by culinary celebrities, but this extravagant, sometimes almost surrealistic ultra-steakhouse at the Sahara 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 a “build your own caviar cone”), but meat is the point: From Buffalo-style bison carpaccio and great Spanish ham to a host of steaks (including Ohmi Wagyu Striploin from Japan for $50 an ounce) and, by pre-order, a whole roast suckling pig ($620), you’ll definitely know you’re in Vegas.

Source: rollercoasterphilosophy / Flickr

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, and gluten-free cornmeal-rice 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.

Source: Photo by James F. via Yelp

New Jersey
> Restaurant: The Lido
> Location: Hackensack

This 67-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.

Source: kjarrett / Flickr

New Mexico
> Restaurant: Santa Fe Bite
> Location: Santa Fe Bite

The Bite – famous for its green chile cheeseburgers – sure has gotten around. It was established as the Bobcat Bite in 1953 outside Santa Fe on the Old Las Vegas Highway. It closed there in 2013, and relocated to Santa Fe itself, rechristened the Santa Fe Bite. When the owners retired, two former employees opened the Santa Fe Bit ABQ in Albuquerque. Now that’s closed and the former owners have opened in a new Santa Fe location. Whew. Happily, those burgers and everything else – flautas, chalupas, steaks, etc. – are still in top form.

Source: mariaeklind / Flickr

New York
> Restaurant: Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
> Location: New York City

Originally opened in 1913 (it has undergone several closings and changes of ownership since then), the Grand Central Oyster Bar, downstairs at the iconic railway station it’s named for, is known for its unique tiled and vaulted Guastavino ceilings and its extensive array of seafood. Oysters are front and center, of course – typically 18 or 20 varieties, both East and West Coast – but there are also fried seafood platters, shellfish pan-roasts, and a dozen or more varieties of fresh fish in various preparations from a selection that changes often.

Source: Courtesy of Kong L. via Yelp

North Carolina
> Restaurant: The Chicken Hut
> Location: Durham

Opened in another location in 1957 as The Chicken Box, this friendly no-frills restaurant serves home-style Southern food at its best. Fried chicken, not surprisingly, is a specialty, but daily specials include fried trout, smothered pork chops, pig’s feet, chicken and dumplings, and other classics. Sides include hush puppies, yams, mac and cheese, and okra with tomatoes. To drink? Sweet tea or lemonade “by the gallon.”

Source: Courtesy of peacock-alley.com

North Dakota
> Restaurant: Peacock Alley
> Location: Bismarck

Opened in 1933 in what was then Bismarck’s showplace Patterson Hotel, Peacock Alley today is both a popular local meeting place and a must for visitors. Primarily a steakhouse with Asian touches, it serves such dishes as chicken and lemongrass potstickers, “messy and super delicious” half-pound burgers, and artichoke chicken, as well as a good selection of aged Angus beef in various cuts and more.

Source: Courtesy of Camp Washington Chili

> Restaurant: Camp Washington Chili
> Location: Cincinnati

Cincinnati chili has nothing to do with the Texas stuff. It’s basically a meat sauce with Greek-style spices served on top of spaghetti or hot dogs, usually with various combinations of onions, shredded cheese, and/or beans. Smithsonian magazine named it one of the country’s 20 most iconic foods. The most famous purveyors are the Skyline and Gold Star chains, but true aficionados swear by Camp Washington, which opened its doors in 1940. You can get breakfast sandwiches, burgers, or a tuna melt at Camp Washington if you want, but why would you? It’s all about the chili here.

Source: scaredykat / Flickr

> Restaurant: Cattlemen’s Steakhouse
> Location: Oklahoma City

Not to be confused with the California chain of the same name, this Cattlemen’s was born in 1910 in Oklahoma City’s Stockyards City area, home to major meat-processing plants. Cowboys, ranchers, and cattle haulers were among its first customers. There are drawings of some celebrated later ones on the walls, including John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. It’s not hard to guess what the focus of the menu is: prime or choice corn-fed Midwestern beef.

Source: leeco / Flickr

> Restaurant: Jake’s Famous Crawfish
> Location: Portland

Though it’s now part of the McCormick & Schmick’s chain, Jake’s, a downtown Portland landmark for more than 125 years, still captures the spirit of the Pacific Northwest. It also serves an ample selection of seafood (plus some other dishes) — oysters on the half shell, Dungeness crab and bay shrimp cakes, horseradish-crusted steelhead, cedar plank salmon with lemon butter sauce, and much more.

Source: skellysf / Flickr

> Restaurant: Reading Terminal Market
> Location: Philadelphia

Okay, this historic 130-year-old covered market isn’t a restaurant, but it’s an essential stop for any food-lover who comes through Philadelphia. And in addition to its array of appetite-stimulating produce, seafood, meats and poultry, baked goods, and more, it happens to be a great place to eat, with more than 30 food stalls preparing everything from Philly’s famous cheesesteaks (available from at least three purveyors), Italian hoagies, pizza, hot dogs, and burgers to Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Caribbean, Cajun, Thai, Middle Eastern, and Pennsylvania Dutch fare (and more).

Source: Courtesy of Matunuck Oyster Bar

Rhode Island
> Restaurant: Matunuck Oyster Bar
> Location: South Kingston

The Rhode Island coast yields some of the seafood in the Northeast, and this waterfront restaurant sources and prepares it superbly. The restaurant has its own oyster beds (and also brings in other excellent oysters from the area), as well as its own organic vegetable farm. Fried calamari from nearby Point Judith, oysters Rockefeller, lobster roll, sesame seared tuna salad, grilled Atlantic salmon…The place is a seafood lover’s paradise.

Source: Courtesy of Peninsula Grill

40. South Carolina
> Restaurant: Peninsula Grill
> Location: Charleston

The signature dish at this genteel 26-year-old Charleston restaurant is a 12-layer “ultimate coconut cake.” There’s a lot more than that, though, served in the handsome dining room with its seagrass flooring and farmland wall murals and in the courtyard lit with carriage lanterns. The she-crab soup, pan-seared diver scallops, and rack of lamb with port-poached pear and pecans are examples of the upscale fare.

Source: Courtesy of The Pheasant Restaurant & Lounge

41. South Dakota
> Restaurant: The Pheasant Restaurant & Lounge
> Location: Brookings

It may have started as a gas station café on the edge of town, this 74-year-old classic in Brookings, a small city north of Sioux Falls, has grown into a serious restaurant showcasing local flavors. 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, roasted red pepper spätzle with local sausage, and South Dakota bison filet with a First Nations-inspired sauce of raspberries, herbs, and honey.

Source: larrison / Flickr

42. Tennessee
> Restaurant: Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
> Location: Mason

“Hot” fried chicken has been one of the biggest food trends of the 21st century. 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 it still serves up some of the best spicy fried chicken around.

43. Texas
> 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, in the form of brisket, ribs, clod (chuck roast), prime rib, and sausages.

Source: Courtesy of Hell's Backbone Grill & Farm via Facebook

44. Utah
> 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). The menu changes frequently, but sample dishes include smoked trout and pecan pâté, spicy cowgirl chipotle meatloaf, and chocolate chile cream pot. Note that the restaurant closes seasonally and will reopen on March 31.

Source: Courtesy of Wayside Restaurant, Bakery & Creamery / Facebook

45. Vermont
> 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, sandwiches and burgers, ham steak and BBQ ribs, and honeycomb beef tripe are typical offerings. Hearty breakfasts are served, and the house-made ice cream (including such unusual flavors as root beer, chocolate stout, and Vermont maple) is essential.

Source: BackyardProduction / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

46. Virginia
> Restaurant: The Inn at Little Washington
> Location: Washington

The innovative restaurant at this opulent country inn about 60 miles southwest of the nation’s capital has earned three stars in the Guide Michelin – the highest honor in the international gastronomic world, meaning that Michelin’s reviewers consider it worthy of a special trip. Chef-owner Patrick O’Connell’s ever-changing fixed-price menus might offer such unusual dishes as carpaccio of herb-crusted baby lamb loin with Caesar salad ice cream, savory black pepper cheesecake with roasted baby beets, and coconut-passion fruit Bavarian with angel food cake.

Source: Karen Ducey / Getty Images News via Getty Images

47. Washington
> Restaurant: Canlis
> Location: Seattle

Hailed by Food & Wine as “one of the 40 most important restaurants in the past 40 years,” this definitively Pacific Northwestern culinary standout has celebrated regional ingredients since its founding in 1950. The cuisine has become more sophisticated over the years, though, and today the restaurant offers only a four-course tasting menu. The particulars might include such choices as sablefish with hazelnuts and cabbage, mackerel teriyaki with turnips, and dark chocolate sorbet.

Source: Courtesy of Kerri L. via Yelp

48. West Virginia
> Restaurant: Jim’s Steak and Spaghetti House
> Location: Huntington

“If you want to be a part of Huntington, you need to eat at Jim’s!” exclaims the website for this family-owned local institution, in operation since 1938. Even if you’re just passing through, Jim’s is, as one Yelp reviewer put it, “Such an amazing establishment….” As might be expected, the specialties are spaghetti with homemade meat sauce and ribeye steak, but there are also salads, sandwiches, and other choices. The menu also promises “The best ever homemade chocolate and coconut pie with real whipped cream.”

Source: Courtesy of Ishnala Supper Club / Facebook

49. Wisconsin
> Restaurant: Ishnala Supper Club
> Location: Lake Delton

Supper clubs used to be fancy restaurants, sometimes in the city, sometimes on country roads, that offered live music and dancing as well as all-American food and free-flowing cocktails — places that offered a whole night’s worth of entertainment in one location. They fell out of fashion in the latter 20th century in much of America but remained a part of the dining scene in Wisconsin, where a few of them still thrive, mostly in rural locations. Ishnala is a fine example, a woodsy, lakeside establishment serving such throwback fare as shrimp cocktail, breaded duck strips, and chicken Cordon Bleu. Ishnala is now closed for the season, but reopens on April 12.

Source: Photo by Schulte S. via Yelp

50 Wyoming
> Restaurant: Luxury Diner
> Location: Cheyenne

This breakfast-and-lunch Cheyenne institution, built around a repurposed trolley car that plied the streets of the city from 1894 to 1912, opened as a diner in 1926 (though it became the Luxury Diner only in 1964). It’s famous for its oversized cinnamon rolls, biscuits and gravy, half-pound burgers in several variations, and chicken-fried steak, among other old-style choices.

To top