Unique Regional Dishes
After 40 years and 5 million miles spent on the road looking for America’s best regional food, we’ve assembled a list of the quintessential, must-eat food in each state, and the best place to get it. These dishes offer a true taste of America, state by state.
Alabama: West Indies Salad (Wintzell’s Oyster House)
Alaska: Copper River Salmon (Shelter Cove)
Arizona: Sonoran Hot Dog (El Guero Canelo)
Arkansas: Fried Pie (Ms. Lena’s Pies)
California: Fish Tacos (Cottage)
Colorado: Rocky Mountain Oysters (Buckhorn Exchange)
Connecticut: Hot Lobster Roll (Clam Castle)
District of Columbia: Half-Smoke (Ben’s Chili Bowl)
Delaware: Ice Cream (Woodside Farm Creamery)
Florida: Apalachicola Oysters (Lynn’s Quality Oysters)
Georgia: Brunswick Stew (Skipper’s Fish Camp)
Hawaii: Shave Ice (Matsumoto Shave Ice)
Idaho: Huckleberry Sundae (Dish)
Illinois: Deep Dish Pizza (Pizzeria Uno)
Indiana: Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie (Gray Brothers Cafeteria)
Iowa: Breaded Pork Tenderloin (Darrell’s Place)
Kansas: Fried Chicken (Barto’s Idle Hour)
Kentucky: Hot Brown (Brown Hotel)
Louisiana: Po Boy (Parkway Bakery & Tavern)
Maine: Shore Dinner (Five Islands Lobster Company)
Maryland: Crab Cake (Suicide Bridge Restaurant)
Massachusetts: Fried Clams (Clam Box)
Michigan: Cherry Pie (Cherry Hut)
Minnesota: Walleye (Tavern on Grand)
Mississippi: Tamales (Doe’s Eat Place)
Missouri: Burnt Ends (LC’s Bar-B-Q)
Montana: Cinnamon Roll (Stella’s)
Nebraska: Bierock (Gering Bakery)
Nevada: Lamb Chops (Santa Fe Hotel)
New Hampshire: Maple Hurricane Sauce (Polly’s Pancake Parlor)
New Jersey: Pork Roll (White Rose System)
New Mexico: Green Chile Cheeseburger (Santa Fe Bite)
New York: Beef on Weck (Schwabl’s)
North Carolina: Lexington BBQ (Lexington Barbecue #1)
North Dakota: Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips (Widman’s Candy Shop)
Ohio: Five Way Chili (Camp Washington Chili Parlor)
Oklahoma: Chicken Fried Steak (Clanton’s)
Oregon: Fish & Chips (Bowpicker)
Pennsylvania: Roast Pork Sandwich (John’s Roast Pork)
Rhode Island: Jonnycakes (J.P. Spoonem’s)
South Carolina: Shrimp & Grits (Juniper)
South Dakota: Bison Sausage (Bumpin’ Buffalo)
Tennessee: Country Ham Breakfast (Loveless Café)
Texas: BBQ Brisket (Louie Mueller)
Utah: Scone & Honey (Mom’s)
Vermont: Creemee (Chubby Muffin)
Virginia: Sweet Potato Biscuit (Sting-Ray’s)
Washington: Salmon Candy (Freshy’s Seafood Market)
West Virginia: Pepperoni Roll (Country Club Bakery)
Wisconsin: Hoppel Poppel (Benji’s)
Wyoming: Corned Beef Hash (Lisa’s)
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Wintzell's of Mobile has long been known for the unique Gulf crab specialty, West Indies salad. And of course, oysters on the half shell or fancy-cooked.
After a busy day of fishing or hunting, Shelter Cove Lodge is the place to go on Alaska's Prince of Wales Island for beautifully prepared dinner.
For Sonoran-style Mexican food, especially Sonoran hot dogs, El Guero Canelo is a picnic-style restaurant that is a Tuscon, Arizona, best bet.
Ms. Lena's of De Valls Bluff makes Arkansas-excellent pies, sold whole or by the slice. No indoor dining. All take-out or eat-off-the dashboard.
The best sunny southern California cafe, from magnificent granola and homemade pastries to superb fish tacos and so much more. The Cottage is a La Jolla must!
Much of the Buckhorn menu is devoted to ostentatiously Old-West cuisine: Rocky Mountain oysters, bison, rattlesnake. But "ordinary" steaks are Denver's best.
Clam Castle has been a significant shoreline source of fried clams and clam chowder for decades. Its warm, buttery lobster roll is one of Connecticut's finest.
Woodside Farms' thick, luxurious ice cream is produced from milk provided by the Jersey cows here on the Delaware farm. Seats are al fresco at picnic tables.
Friendly, happy, rough-around-the-edges, Lynn’s is a restaurant for oyster-lovers along Florida’s “forgotten coast.” Raw or baked, they're some of the best.
Skipper's is a polite Georgia fish camp with a wide menu of local seafood that includes superb sweet shrimp. Sweet potato souffle mustn't be missed.
Matsumoto sells original Hawaiian shave ice at its finest and most refreshing, either plain or adorned with ice cream or sweet adzuki beans
Waterside grill and fine-dining restaurant, Dish is an Idaho Panhandle foodie destination. Bests: smashed potatoes, bacon, and anything with huckleberries.
Forget Uno outlets in other cities. The original is in a class by itself, its pizzas a virtual crustbowl of sauce, cheese, and superb sausage. A Chicago best.
Gray Brothers cafeteria is a Hoosier heartland sampler, including fried chicken, four-star mac 'n' cheese, cornbread stuffing and butterscotch pie.
With incredible tenderloins, blue-ribbon rhubarb pie, and sweet draft root beer, Darrell’s Place is a sparkling jewel in the BPT crown of Audubon County, Iowa.
Barto's Idle Hour serves the best fried chicken in Kansas, sided by German potato salad, cole slaw, onion rings, and bread baked by the Frontenac Bakery.
The Kentucky hot brown was invented in the '20s by the Brown Hotel, which serves a classic: toast topped with turkey under sizzling cheese sauce and bacon.
The Parkway is one of New Orleans' top po boy destinations, especially notable for its great roast beef and/or gravy sandwiches.
Resilient lobsters fairly burst out of their shell when squeezed with a nutcracker at the unbelievably scenic picnic tables of Maine's Five Islands Lobster Co.
A charming waterside restaurant, Suicide Bridge offers a menu of Maryland Eastern Shore seafood, including some of the region's best jumbo lump crab cakes.
The Clam Box is the place to eat the best fried clams on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Get them piled high on a platter with French fries & onion rings.
The Cherry Hut is a Michigan restaurant serving some of the best cherry pie anywhere-- sweet and a little tart, with flaky crust that adds a savory note.
Tavern on Grand calls itself Minnesota's State Restaurant Serving Minnesota's State Fish: the walleye. Plated or sandwiched, fillets are a Great Lakes delicacy.
Doe's is a funky backroom restaurant in the Mississippi Delta that serves four-star steaks accompanied by skillet-cooked French fries and/or hot tamales.
LC's is one of the great BBQ restaurants in Kansas City. The legendary burnt ends sandwich is immense. Fresh-cut French fries are first rate.
Everything is large at Stella's, a Billings, Montana, bakery restaurant where one cinnamon roll fills a plate and pancakes are known as "monster pancakes."
Best dish at Nebraska's Gering Bakery is the cabbage burger - a pocket of tender bread enclosing beef, cabbage, & onion. Frosted peanut butter pretzels, too!
Grand, multi-course Basque meals flavored with plenty of garlic are the specialty of Reno, Nevada's Santa Fe Hotel restaurant. *CLOSED*
Pancakes are made from stoneground flours or cornmeal and served with elegant maple syrup, plus maple sugar. maple hurricane sauce & smooth maple spread.
Pork roll (aka Taylor Ham) with egg and cheese is the breakfast sandwich of New Jersey, nowhere better than at the White Rose System diner.
Santa Fe Bite serves what many consider to be the best green chile cheeseburger in New Mexico. It might be the best hamburger of any kind, anywhere!
Schwabl's is a tavern restaurant that serves that great Buffalo specialty, beef on weck, at its best. It just might be America's #1 roast beef sandwich.
Lexington Barbecue #1 has defined North Carolina excellence since '62. Smoky pork is a festival of tenderness with crunchy bits from the shoulder's outside.
Widman’s is a North Dakota candy store known for its unusual chocolate-covered savories, including "chippers" -- chocolate covered potato chips.
Camp Washington makes the best 5-Way chili in Cincinnati. Open round the clock, it also offers great chili-cheese Coneys and mile-high double-decker sandwiches.
An original Route 66 cafe in Vinita, Oklahoma, Clanton's is where locals gather for chicken fried steak, catfish every Friday, and blue-ribbon pies.
Bowpicker is a landlocked Oregon fishing boat serving just one thing: fish and chips. It is albacore tuna in a beer batter crust. Maybe the best anywhere.
John's is a humble restaurant serving some of the best roast pork sandwiches and cheese steaks in Philadelphia and therefore the world.
A unique taste of Rhode Island, cornmeal jonnycakes at J.P. Spoonem's are maple-flavored and mouth-watering tasty.
Elegant southern cooking makes Juniper a destination restaurant for food lovers who come for Friday shrimp and grits, Monday meat loaf, and Sunday brunch.
Ham & Bean Soup
Italian Wedding Cake
Shrimp & Grits
Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie
French Onion Soup
Spiced Shrimp & Grits
Chicken & Waffles
Potato-Pimento Cheese Soup
Butternut Squash, Sage & Bacon Sautee
Chocolate-Frosted Yellow Cake
Fried Green Tomatoes
Sweet Corn Cake
Chicken & Dumplings
Braised Beef Sandwich
Bumpin' Buffalo serves fine burgers, but is more noteworthy for its chislic, a South Dakota specialty of marinated, deep-fried hunks of sirloin.
Nashville's legendary country-style cafe got famous for its fried chicken, biscuits, and preserves, but now The Loveless Cafe has a broad downhome menu.
Louie Mueller’s brisket is the best BBQ in Texas, maybe best on earth. Also try sausage that virtually explodes with juice when its natural casing is severed.
Three meals a day are served at Mom's restaurant, but breakfast is best because that is when the Utah scones are fry-kettle hot, served with honey.
An earnestly locavore, mellow-vibe coffee house/cafe/bakery/ice creamery where muffins are headliners and many vegetarian options are available.
Located in a gas station, Sting Ray's is known as Chez Exxon because of the quality of Chesapeake Bay seafood & sweet potato ham biscuits the restaurant serves.
** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED ** In a former gas station on Mercer Island, Freshy's is a seafood market and picnic-style restaurant that is a brilliant taste of the Pacific Northwest.
Country Club Bakery is the premier local source for West Virginia's beloved pepperoni rolls -- handy little sandwiches that are like mini pizza bites.
Benji's is a Milwaukee deli serving hoppel poppel (an egg-salami kitchen sink meal), piled-high corned beef sandwiches, blintzes and crisp potato pancakes.
"In Wyoming when we say hearty, we mean hearty!" says Lisa's menu. In the town of Greybull at the edge of the Big Horn Mountains, this restaurant is a best bet.
Home of the unique DC street food, the half-smoke, Ben's is a beloved institution in Washington, its smoky links and hot dogs big and delicious.