The next wave of US food cities

America’s largest cities have long been revered as destinations for food lovers, but that doesn’t mean you are limited to New York or Los Angeles for excellent dining options. Many other metropolitan areas have vibrant food scenes, and some of the locations listed on Food & Wine’s recent article on the 11 next great food cities will provide travel inspiration.

Photo of Rabelais bookstore in Biddeford, Maine

The list includes seven large cities with impressive culinary options, plus four smaller towns that are punching above their weight class. Starting off with Cincinnati, Ohio, we learn that there is a lot more to eat there than their famed chili (which people seem to either love or hate). Boise, Idaho gets some love; as does Omaha, Nebraska (home of the reuben sandwich); Indianapolis, Indiana; Jersey City, New Jersey (often called NYC’s sixth borough); Tucson, Arizona (designated a UNESCO city of gastronomy); and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Moving to smaller towns, the article highlights Bozeman, Montana (Kenji López-Alt recently posted on Instagram about some great meals he enjoyed there), Charlottesville, Virginia (one of my favorite US towns); Greenville, South Carolina; and Biddeford, Maine (home to the wonderful cookbook store Rabelais). You can find links to excellent restaurants, food halls, and even hotels in all of the cities mentioned in the Food & Wine article.

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  • Ishie1013  on  April 14, 2022

    Jersey City!!!! That’s only a 35 minutes jaunt. Freetown Road Project is now definitely on my foodie bucket list.

  • matag  on  April 14, 2022

    Everyone knows Vegas for gambling! BUT our restaurants can’t be beat. Yes, you can find every famous chef on the strip. More exciting though, we have fantastic family owned restaurants. For example 20 year old family run Italian spot Gaetanos in Henderson and The World Famous Coffee Cup Cafe in historic Boulder City! A wonderful place to live and eat!

  • lean1  on  April 14, 2022

    Tucson AZ has some of the best Mexican food in the US outside of Chicago. I love visiting there when it is cold in the eastern US.

  • lkgrover  on  April 14, 2022

    I think many smaller towns (less than 200,000 population) are underrated for their restaurants. There are 10-12 excellent locally owned places in Bismarck, North Dakota (population 90,000). I was also impressed with several small restaurants while on vacation in Maine, Vermont, & New Hampshire a few years ago. They just don’t have the advertising budget or celebrity clientale of big cities, so they don’t get media attention.

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