- Every state has a famous restaurant that everyone knows about.
- Some are fine dining establishments like the Greenbrier main dining room in West Virginia and the Snake River Grill in Wyoming.
- Others are local barbecue joints like Gates Bar-B-Q in Missouri and Prohibition Pig in Vermont.
- There are some famous restaurants that made appearances in movies like Mystic Pizza in Connecticut and Katz’s Deli in New York.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
From fine dining restaurants to local barbecue joints, every state has at least one legendary restaurant that everyone knows about. The types of eateries vary from the oldest restaurant to the very best, but each has ultimately made a name for itself.
INSIDER went state by state to find the most famous restaurant and measured the winners based on culinary awards, TV and movie appearances, and celebrity sightings.
Keep reading to learn what eatery is the most famous in your state.
Alabama’s Dreamland Bar-B-Que is popular among locals and celebrities.
Dreamland has been in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, since 1958, and its ribs have been drawing crowds for decades. Celebrities even come to the restaurant to enjoy the food, including comedians Penn and Teller, actor and singerReba McEntire, athlete Bo Jackson, and actor Gary Busey.
Alaska’s Snow City Cafe is famous for its presidential guest.
Located in Anchorage, Alaska, Snow City Cafe is known as a popular brunch restaurant specializing in egg sandwiches and pancakes. But the establishment made a name for itself in 2015 when President Barack Obama came in to buy all of the cinnamon rolls for his staffers and reporters.
Arizona’s Durant’s Steakhouse is a famous establishment in Phoenix.
Durant’s Steakhouse is a fine dining restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. The establishment is well-known for its steaks, red booths, and martinis. The food has attracted notable celebrities through the years, including John Wayne, Joe DiMaggio, and Clark Gable. The steakhouse is also a popular eatery among Arizona’s politicians.
Arkansas’ Petit and Keet has been voted the best restaurant in the state two years in a row.
Petit and Keet is a restaurant and bar located in Little Rock, Arkansas. Locals rated it the top restaurant for two years in a row in Arkansas Times’ reader’s choice issue. The restaurant also has the best wine list, according to the Arkansas Times. Additionally, Petit and Keet made the news when the owners announced they were donating 20% of their proceeds to Red Bar, a famous eatery that burned down in Florida.
California’s Craig’s is well-known for its A-list customers.
Craig’s opened in 2011 in Los Angeles, and it specialises in American fare, including dishes like pizza, cheeseburgers, honey truffle chicken, and steak. But the restaurant is mostly known for its celebrity clientele. Kim Kardashian and George Clooney are said to be regulars, but Joe Jonas, Kate Upton, Iggy Azalea, Larry King, and Suzanne Somers have all been spotted there.
Colorado’s Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs is famous after several television appearances.
Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs started as a hot dog truck but now it’s a popular restaurant in Denver. The eatery allows customers to choose from hot dogs made of beef, pork, elk, buffalo, duck, and even reindeer. Cream cheese and caramelised onions are also popular choices at this restaurant. The unique offerings caughtAnthony Bourdain’s attention and were featured on his show “No Reservations.” Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs also appeared on Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” and the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
Connecticut’s Mystic Pizza was put on the map after a famous Hollywood movie filmed on location.
In 1973, Mystic Pizza was opened in Mystic, Connecticut, but it wasn’t until the late ’80s that the pizzeria really became famous. Screenwriter Amy Jones visited the eatery and decided to set her movie in Mystic Pizza. The movie, which starred Julia Roberts and shot on location at the pizzeria, was released in 1988. Mystic Pizza became a national phenomenon, causing many tourists to flock to the pizza eatery to try “A Slice of Heaven.”
Delaware’s Stoney’s Pub is a famous English pub in Wilmington.
Stoney’s Pub in Wilmington, Delaware, is best known for its English fare. “Mum’s poached or boiled fish,” shrimp and chips, and roast beef dinner are staples on this pub’s menu. But the eatery was really put on the map when it appeared on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” During the show, host Guy Fieri said “you’re going to have to pry this out of my hands” when he took a bite of the roast beef.
Florida’s Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge is famous for its celebrity clientele and its location on the Miami River.
Seaspice sits on the Miami River offering customers sweeping views of the city. The restaurant specialises in “gastro-classic dining” serving steak tartare, crab tempura, and truffle brie tart. Seaspice often has over a two-hour wait and is a favourite among celebrities like Marc Anthony.
Georgia’s STK in Atlanta is a popular eatery among celebrities.
STK is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and specialises in steak and seafood. The restaurant serves oysters, shrimp cocktail, salmon, and a rack of lamb. The food draws in a lot of celebrities, including Zac Efron and Selena Gomez in 2015. Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans have also been spotted eating at STK.
Hawaii’s Manago Hotel houses the oldest restaurant in the state.
In 1917, two Japanese immigrants came to Hawaii and founded Manago Hotel Restaurant, and today it’s still in operation, the oldest restaurant in the state. The restaurant and hotel sit 1,350 feet above the ground on Mauna Loa. The eatery serves udon and bread, bringing tourists from all over to experience the food and history.
Idaho’s White Horse Saloon is famous for being haunted.
White Horse Saloon in Spirit Lake, Idaho, was opened in 1908 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Since the restaurant opened over 100 years ago, the establishment has a lot of history. In fact, many say the place is haunted, and people call it the most supernaturally active landmark in the state. People have reported flying glassware, closing doors, and apparitions, according to 104.3 WOW.
Illinois’ Hub 51 is known as a popular celebrity hangout spot in Chicago.
Hub 51 in Chicago, Illinois, has a diverse food menu, including American sandwiches, sushi, and tacos. Beyond its menu, Hub 51 is also known for its celebrity clientele. In the past, Josh Duhamel and Fergie have been spotted there, along with Lindsay Lohan, Ashton Kutcher, and Jessica Simpson.
Indiana’s St. Elmo’s Steak House is famous for its steak and for an appearance on a popular NBC sitcom.
St. Elmo’s Steak House in Indianapolis, Indiana, is known for its shrimp cocktails, steak, chicken, and seafood. But the eatery went national when it appeared on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” in 2013. In the episode, Rob Lowe, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, and Nick Offerman all dine in the establishment.
Iowa’s Northwestern Steakhouse is almost 100 years old.
Northwestern Steakhouse can be found in Mason City, Iowa, and was opened in 1920 – nearly 100 years ago. Today, the restaurant is still operating, serving steaks that are covered in olive oil, butter, and a Greek seasoning. In 2017, the restaurant was named the “most iconic” in Iowa.
Kansas’ Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que has been named one of the best barbecue joints in the country.
“We were so nuts for this sandwich, it was hard to leave room for much else,” the host of the show said.
Kentucky’s Parkette Drive-In is considered to have one of the best burgers in the country.
Parkette Drive-In in Lexington, Kentucky, is famous for its “Poor Boy,” which is a double patty burger. It caught Food Network’s attention twice, ultimately being named one of America’s top 10 burgers on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”
Louisiana’s Oceana Grill has drawn in many famous celebrities, including Anthony Bourdain.
Oceana Grill is located in New Orleans’ French Quarter, and it specialises in Creole cuisine. The restaurant is famous for its crab cakes and gumbo and brings in many notable celebrities. In the past, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Drake, Mary J. Blige, and Shaquille O’Neal have all had meals at Oceana Grill. Chef and food critic Anthony Bourdain also came to the restaurant.
Maine’s the Lobster Shack is known for its lobster roll.
The Lobster Shack at Two Lights sits atop the shores of Cape Elizabeth, serving lobster and fried seafood. Its specialty dish is the lobster roll. TV personality and chef Bobby Flay visited the eatery on his Food Network show“FoodNation,” bringing the Lobster Shack into the national spotlight.
Maryland’s Woodberry Kitchen is famous for its celebrity sightings.
Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, Maryland, is known for its American cuisine and farm-to-table philosophy. But in 2016, Michelle and Malia Obama were spotted dining in the restaurant and social media buzzed with the sighting. The restaurant is said to have many celebrity guests but the establishment has a policy that bars employees from disclosing any information.
Massachusetts’ Cheers was famous before the popular sitcom.
Many know Cheers in Boston, Massachusetts, as the setting for the hit ’80s NBC sitcom of the same name. But the restaurant was popular long before the show premiered. It was originally named Bull and Finch club and opened in 1969 as a neighbourhood pub. Today, it’s a landmark in Boston, attracting tourists from all over.
Michigan’s Roast is considered one of the best steakhouses in the state.
Roast in Detroit, Michigan, has been named one of the top ten steakhouses in the state. The restaurant is known by many because it’s owned by Food Network’s Michael Symon, a famous name in the food industry. When news site Michigan Live ate at the steakhouse, they had high expectations, but they wrote, “We can honestly say it lived up to the hype.”
Minnesota’s Matt’s Bar & Grill is famous for its burger.
Matt’s Bar & Grill in Minneapolis, Minnesota, may just be a burger joint, but it has made a name for itself after creating the famous Jucy Lucy. The Jucy Lucy is a burger filled with oozing, melted cheese. The burger was even featured on the Travel Channel in 2010.
Mississippi’s Mayflower Cafe is known as a landmark in Downtown Jackson.
The Mayflower Cafe is a staple in Jackson, Mississippi, because it has been open since 1935. It has occupied the same street corner for over 80 years. The restaurant serves mostly Greek and seafood, including Greek salads, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, oysters, and fried calamari.
Missouri’s Gates Bar-B-Q is considered one of the best barbecue restaurant in the state.
Gates Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Missouri, opened in 1946 and specialises in pork ribs. The tomato-based secret sauce also helped make the restaurant an institution in Kansas City. The Travel Channel even featured the restaurant as one of the best barbecues joints in the country.
Montana’s Lucca’s has been named the best restaurant in the state.
Lucca’s in Helena, Montana, is a fine dining restaurant that focuses on Italian cuisine. The eatery serves Italian mainstays like baked ziti, spaghetti, risotto, and chicken. In 2015, Lucca’s was named the best restaurant in Montana, and TripAdvisor ranked it among the best eateries in the state.
Nebraska’s Big Mama’s Kitchen is a favourite on Food Network.
Big Mama’s Kitchen in Omaha, Nebraska, specialises in comfort food, serving fried chicken and burgers. The Food Network considers the restaurant one of its “Top Places to Eat.” On “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” host Guy Fieri said his favourite is the “Pig Ear Sandwich” at Big Mama’s Kitchen.
Nevada’s Mr Chow is popular among celebrities (think Britney Spears).
Mr Chow is a luxury restaurant inside of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and it’s popular among celebrities. In fact, Britney Spears had dinner there on New Year’s Eve to ring in 2016. Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez even held a party at the establishment. The restaurant itself serves Asian cuisine and specialises in performances with a champagne trolley.
New Hampshire’s Moxy is famous for its celebrity chef.
Moxy in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is known for its tapas menu, which offers guests pork belly bites, short rib, clams, and mussels. Chef Matt Louis helped put the eatery on the map because he has been a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award, a top honour in the culinary world, for three years straight. He has also been named Food and Wine’s best new chef and people’s choice.
New Jersey’s Tops Diner has been named the best diner in the country.
Tops Diner in East Newark, New Jersey, opened in 1942 and has been serving its famous burgers, meatloaf, and lobster mac and cheese for decades. In 2017, Time Out magazine named Tops the best diner in the country. Back in 2015, Thrillist called the diner the “most iconic” restaurant in New Jersey.
New Mexico’s El Pinto is considered one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country.
El Pinto in Albuquerque, New Mexico, serves up huevos rancheros, enchiladas, and burritos. USA Today namedEl Pinto one of the best restaurants and called it “a local favourite.” It’s also among the Food Network’s top places to eat.
New York’s Katz’s Delicatessen is famous for a famous scene from “When Harry Met Sally.”
Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City is known for two things. First, the pastrami sandwich is considered one of the best in the country. Second, it was the setting for a popular scene in the 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally,” starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. Today, the restaurant is a popular tourist attraction where people come to reenact the famous scene.
North Carolina’s Skylight Inn is considered one of the best barbecue joints in the country.
Skylight Inn in Ayden, North Carolina, specialises in southern barbecue. Food Network says the best menu items are the chopped pork sandwich and the “Whole Hog Pork Plate.” The network also named the eatery one of its “Top 5” barbecue restaurants in the US.
North Dakota’s Red Pepper is famous among college students.
In Grand Forks, North Dakota, Red Pepper has been open for more than 50 years, serving students at the University of North Dakota among its clientele. The most popular dish served is the grinder, which has salami, turkey, ham, and cheese on a roll. The Daily Meal has described the establishment as a “local landmark” and a “local legend.”
Ohio’s Red Steakhouse is Kardashian-family approved.
Red Steakhouse in Cleveland, Ohio, is well-known for its steak, pasta, and seafood. In fact, the restaurant has been named one of the top 10 steakhouses in the country by Playboy. The eatery even has the Kardashian stamp of approval. In an episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” Kim and Kourtney dined at Red Steakhouse.
Oklahoma’s Rock Cafe inspired the Disney movie “Cars.”
Rock Cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma, sits on the famous Route 66, serving sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, and chilli. Guy Fieri said he loved Rock Cafe’s buffalo and alligator burgers while visiting the establishment on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Drives.” But Rock Cafe has another claim to fame. Researchers from Pixar Animation Studios visited the restaurant in 2001 and used it as inspiration for the movie “Cars.”
Oregon’s Tasty n Alder is popular among celebrities like Reese Witherspoon.
Tasty n Alder in Portland, Oregon, describes itself as a “modern steakhouse,” serving up steak, salmon, and scallops. The food draws in a variety of celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern in 2014 when they filmed the movie “Wild.”
Pennsylvania’s Victor Cafe is famous for appearing in the “Rocky” films.
Victor Cafe in Philadelphia specialises in Italian food, offering customers ravioli, tortellini, and steak. But the restaurant isn’t necessarily known for its food. Instead, Victor Cafe’s claim to fame is its appearances in the “Rocky” franchise. The restaurant appeared in “Rocky Balboa” in 2006 and in its spinoff, “Creed.” In the movies, the restaurant is called Adrian’s, however.
Rhode Island’s Crazy Burger is famous for its burgers.
In Narragansett, Rhode Island, Crazy Burger is famous for its hamburgers, as there are over 30 varieties. Some notable burgers include the Mahi Mahi Taco Burger, the Poco Loco Vegan Burger, and the Luna-Sea Fish Burge. Crazy Burger got national attention when Food Network’s Guy Fieri visited the restaurant on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” eating the Whassupy Burger.
South Carolina’s Butcher & Bee has had some A-list celebrity guests.
Butcher & Bee in Charleston, South Carolina, has an ever-evolving menu that changes with the season. However, throughout the year, ingredients are locally grown and fresh, according to the restaurant’s website. This philosophy may be why celebrities are drawn to Butcher & Bee. In 2016, Leonardo DiCaprio ate at the restaurant, sitting on the patio. Busy Phillips has also been spotted at Butcher & Bee.
South Dakota’s Wall Drug is a famous roadside attraction and restaurant.
In South Dakota, you can famously see signs along the road for Wall Drug more than 1,000 miles before you’re even near it. The road signs are a genius marketing strategy completed in the 1930s by Dorothy Hustead to entice drivers along Route 16 to come to her drug store. Today, the road signs still stand and Wall Drug includes a restaurant where tourists come from all over to try the doughnuts, ice cream, and famous beef sandwiches.
Tennessee’s Bluebird Cafe has famously hosted some of the biggest names in the music industry, like Johnny Cash.
Bluebird Cafe in Nashville is a restaurant that operates as a famous music venue. Opening in 1982, Blue Bird Cafe serves minimal comfort foods, including chicken fingers and pork sandwiches. But the real draw is the music performances and the famous guests, which have included Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift, Jon Bon Jovi, Melissa Etheridge, and Garth Brooks. The ABC show “Nashville” also filmed there in 2012.
Texas’ Salt Lick BBQ is famously ranked one of the best barbecue joints in the country.
Salt Lick BBQ has three locations in Austin, Texas, but it first opened in 1967. The establishment specialises in brisket, sausage, and pork ribs. Salt Lick BBQ has been featured on Food Network a number of times, including “Burgers, Brew, and Que,” “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and “$US40 a Day.” It’s also regularly ranked among the best barbecue joints in the US.
Utah’s Ruth’s Diner is famous for its unique atmosphere.
Ruth’s Diner in Salt Lake City, Utah, allows guests to dine in railroad cars that were operating during the early 1900s. The restaurant focuses on brunch foods, serving french toast, huevos rancheros, and deep-fried mac and cheese. When “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” host Guy Fieri visited the restaurant, he said he couldn’t get enough of the fluffy biscuits.
Vermont’s Prohibition Pig is known as one of the best BBQ joints in New England.
Located in Waterbury, Vermont, Prohibition Pig specialises in smoked meats and beer. But the Food Network says the real star is the mac and cheese. In fact, the network says it’s one of the best things to eat in Vermont.
Virginia’s Beach Pub is famous for its various seafood dishes.
Located on Virginia Beach, Beach Pub serves crabs, shrimp, scallops, and fish-n-chips. Their popular seafood dishes attracted Food Network host Guy Fieri in 2011. While there, he ate the oyster Rockefeller, baked rockfish, and fish hash, giving the pub national attention and fame.
Washington’s Canlis is an award-winning restaurant with stellar reviews. But its location may be why it’s so well-known.
Before Canlis opened in the 1950s, founder Peter Canlis wanted to build the restaurant in Seattle, but he couldn’t afford it. Instead, he built his eatery way outside of the city and on the edge of a cliff. But the awkward location seemed to pay off because Canlis has been nominated for 15 James Beard Awards – one of the highest honours in the culinary industry – and won 22 Wine Spectator Grand Awards. Today, the restaurant serves lamb, duck, rib eye, and rabbit.
West Virginia’s Greenbrier dining room has been a popular restaurant for over 100 years.
The Greenbrier Resort’s main dining room– located in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia – has been serving customers for over 100 years, becoming a landmark in the state. The fine dining restaurant serves impressive dishes like the roasted Cornish hen, the glazed pork loin, and the cauliflower steak.
Wisconsin’s Mader’s Restaurant has famously served some of the biggest names in history, including President John F. Kennedy.
Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mader’s Restaurant has been open for over 100 years, serving mostly German foods like wiener schnitzel, duck strudel, and Hungarian style beef goulash. But over the course of its long history, Mader’s has served several famous people, including Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford. Other notable diners have included Britney Spears, Katie Perry, Kanye West, Tim McGraw, and Eric Clapton.
Wyoming’s Snake River Grill is famous for its ice cream dessert.
Snake River Grill in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a fine dining restaurant that focuses on American cuisine. Pork shank, duck breast, risotto, and spring rolls are all menu options at this establishment. But there’s one menu item that really caught the Food Network’s attention, and it’s the Eskimo Bars, which is ice cream dipped in chocolate and caramel. TV personality Giada De Laurentiis raved about the dessert on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Overall, Snake River Grill is one of Food Network’s top places to eat.
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