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What’s Eating, America? 10 Must-Visit Culinary Destinations in the USA

by Keith langston
Must-Visit Culinary Destinations in the USA

The 10 cities on this list are exciting, delicious destinations known for their outstanding food. If you consider yourself a foodie, make sure to add these culinary places to your must-visit list.

Keith Langston

If you consider yourself a foodie, make sure to add these culinary cities to your must-visit list.

Food and travel are intrinsically linked to each other. Fortunately, in recent years, it seems that every city and town in America has at least one restaurant that’s cranking out some phenomenal dishes. However, not all cities are made the same, some seem to have a culinary power that can’t be matched anywhere else in the country (or even the world). The 10 cities on this list are exciting, delicious destinations known for their outstanding food. If you consider yourself a foodie, make sure to add these culinary cities to your must-visit list.

Atlanta, Chicken and Waffles - Must-Visit Culinary Destinations in the USA

Atlanta, Chicken and Waffles
Photo: P Maxwell Photography

Atlanta is a welcoming southern metropolis of progressive hospitality. A booming f ilm industry, an emerging tourism sector, and a truly divine culinary scene have helped make Atlanta one of the most desirable cities in America. Atlanta’s culinary roots lie in southern comfort cooking and soul food. The Busy Bee is a testament to this. Founded by Black owners in 1947 (when the city was still segregated), The Busy Bee (www.thebusybeecafe.com) serves up delicious comfort food and has welcomed famous faces like Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. Other historic Atlanta eateries include Mary Mac’s Tea Room (www.marymacks.com) and The Varsity (www.thevarsity.com), but the city’s new, younger populous has brought a more intercontinental flare to southern food. Bon Ton (www.bontonatl.com) is an eatery that’s getting everyone’s attention right now. The chefs are creating a Viet-Cajun menu complete with tempura fried softshell crab served alongside jasmine rice and blackened catfish Banh-Mi sandwiches. Another staple of the city’s new renaissance is 9 Mile Station (www.9milestaton.com). This eatery sits east of the city center, on the rooftop of the Ponce City Market. Here, you can take in stunning views of the Downtown and Midtown skyscrapers, and feast upon cosmopolitan fare and craft cocktails.

Austin, Texas BBQ - Must-Visit Culinary Destinations in the USA

Austin, Texas BBQ
Photo: Joshua Resnick

Austin, Texas has long been known for its live music scene and excellent barbeque. Franklin Barbeque (www.franklinbbq.com) and Terry Black’s BBQ (www.terryblacksbbq.com) are two phenomenal choices for those looking to dive into Austin’s culinary history. With the city’s growing population and the arrival of a large creative scene, its dining landscape has drastically changed. Now, there are tons of outstanding options in all types of cuisines. Barley Swine (www.barleyswine. com) is taking the farm-to-table concept to a whole new level by only using hyper-local ingredients to create a menu that changes daily, depending on what the farmers bring in. Don’t miss local mainstay, Odd Duck (www.oddduckaustin.com), serving up weekend brunches consisting of delights like cast iron dutch babies, scallop and goat cheese grits, and more. For dinner, the eatery prepares dishes like fried quail and homemade cornbread. For anyone with a sweet tooth, Big Top Candy Shop (www.bigtopcandyshop.com) sells modern and classic candy confections, even retro oddities that are hard to find these days. It even has a classic soda counter where you can order floats, shakes, malts, and more. Austin is truly a city for anyone who loves to feast.

Baltimore, Maryland Crab Cakes - Must-Visit Culinary Destinations in the USA

Baltimore, Maryland Crab Cakes
Photo: CYSUN

Baltimore may be known as Charm City, but its true delights are its wide ranging culinary traditions. Located near Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore is known for its wonderful seafood, but the region also has a history of unique dishes. Scrapple is a traditional dish in the Mid-Atlantic states and is essentially a pork loaf seasoned with spices. It was once mocked as something only cooked by moms at home, but as younger generations embrace local culinary traditions, the dish has seen newfound fame. The Blue Moon Café (www.bluemoonbaltimore.com) serves up the classic to rave reviews. Another of their house specialties is the Maryland crab cake benedict, combining the region’s top-tier crab with a breakfast classic. For dinner, Topside (www.jdvhotels.com) offers Americana staples with a metropolitan flare, and best of all, it’s located on the roof of the Revival hotel, giving diners stunning views of the city. Duff Goldman, famous for Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, is also based in Baltimore. His cake studio, Charm City Cakes (www.charmcitycakes.com) serves up some delicious confections, and for anyone wanting to learn from the master, they even offer classes. For another sweet treat, try WAFFIE (www.waffiewaffle.com), which has been named one of the 100 Best Places to Eat in the USA by Yelp. They do made-to-order waffles topped with everything from strawberry shortcake to s’mores. For some old school Chesapeake cooking, you’ll need to visit Gertrude’s (www.gertrudesbaltimore.com), which prepares seaside favorites like fried oysters and salmon patties, along with a hefty wine list.

Chicago, Superdawg Drive-In - Must-Visit Culinary Destinations in the USA

Chicago, Superdawg Drive-In
Photo: James Kirkikis

There are two types of restaurants in Chicago, those that are worldfamous and those that are famous with the locals. Everyone knows about Chicago style hot dogs, and Superdawg Drive-In (www.superdawg.com) is one of the city’s best. For Chicago-style pizza, Gino’s East (www.ginoeast.com) is one of the city’s most famous. In fact, they’re so popular that they even do nationwide shipping. Then, there are the places that are popular with the locals. Ann Sather (www.annsather.com), located in the city’s trendy Lincoln Park neighborhood, is a top brunch spot for Chicago residents. Sather has three locations throughout the northside of town, and they’re known for their gooey, soft cinnamon rolls, baked fresh right at the restaurant. Another local favorite is The Chicago Diner (www.veggiediner.com), a restaurant that’s been dishing out meat-free meals since the 80s. The poutine and seitan wings are customer favorites. A must-visit for all travelers though is Uncommon Ground (www.uncommonground.com). This farm-to-table eatery has a garden on its roof providing produce for the restaurant below. Inside, live music, friendly service, and unparalleled meals greet all who enter.

Las Vegas - Must-Visit Culinary Destinations in the USA

Las Vegas

Each resort in Las Vegas clamors to attract top chefs to open restaurants within their hotels. Michael Mina (www.michaelmina.net) and Wolfgang Puck (www.wolfgangpuck.com/#restaurants) each have four distinctly different restaurants in four different casinos. Las Vegas is also renowned for some truly innovative and unique dining options. The Unknown Bar (www.palms.com) at The Palms was decorated by famed artist Damien Hirst, and at the center of the lounge sits an actual tiger shark, perfectly preserved in formaldehyde. And don’t miss BLACKOUT (www.dineblackout.com), a restaurant that seeks to heighten your sense of taste and smell by taking away the sense of sight. That’s right, at BLACKOUT, you dine completely in the dark. For the best view in all of Vegas, head to the top of the 800 ft. Stratosphere hotel to dine at Top of the World (www.thestrat.com). And no, this isn’t just a tourist trap. Top of the World regularly receives prestigious awards for both its food and wine.

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