Best Food Town Around

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Is it a cluster of Michelin-starred restaurants?
A distinct regional cuisine?.
Is it the availability of ingredients or the edible imprint of ethnic enclaves?

What is it that makes a place great for food lovers?

Celebrated food meccas—New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco—have it all. But there are plenty of great food towns that do it without big name chefs and world class dining. They might lack a city’s high-end restaurants and diversity of offerings. Instead, what they have is communities of concerned farmers and talented food artisans, passionate and discerning food lovers, and a deep-rooted, indigenous food culture that adds authenticity and meaning to the experience.

A number of ‘best of” surveys rely on those criteria to compile top 10 lists that look beyond the usual suspects.

Sperling’s BestPlaces, a research firm that produces city rankings, crunched the numbers to come up with a list of America’s Top Cities for Foodies. It relied on data like the density of specialty food markets, wine bars, craft breweries, and farm markets, and the ratio of local ownership to chain franchised food outlets.

Santa Rosa, California
Portland, Oregon
Burlington, Vermont
Portland, Maine
San Francisco, California
Providence, Rhode Island
Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts
Seattle, Washington
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Barbara, California

Livability.com came up with a list of unexpected ‘foodie finds.’ These cities fly under the radar. They don’t have restaurants with national or international standing, but what they do have is a wide segment of the second-tier of independent, chef-owned restaurants that solidly represent a regional American cuisine. You’re not going to collect restaurants like notches on a belt, but it’s easy to eat well, and if you follow the locals, it’s hard to eat badly. These are the top 10 Surprising Food Cities:

Traverse City, Michigan
Asheville, North Carolina
Boulder, Colorado
Kansas City, Missouri
Walnut Creek, California
Eugene, Oregon
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Wichita, Kansas
Logan, Utah
Pueblo, Colorado

U.S. News and World Report crossed great retirement destinations with great food towns to come up with 10 Great Places for Foodies to Retire.

Burlington, Vermont
Cincinnati, Ohio
Houston, Texas
Jacksonville, Florida
McMinnville, Oregon
Miami, Florida
San Francisco, California
Scottsdale, Arizona
Walla Walla, Washington
Washington, DC

And then there are the lists that throw out the data and demographics for something a little more random and whimsical.
Who knows what the food scene is like in Noodle, Oregon; Dumplin, Tennessee; Two Eggs, Florida; or Lickskillet, KY. And really, who cares?
The Fork in the Road blog from the Village Voice found 50 towns with cool food names. And another 15 towns where you probably should pass on dinner invitations: Bland, Missouri; Germfask, Michigan; Burnt Corn, Alabama—uh, no thanks.

The 50 Best Places for Foodies to Live in the U.S. and the 15 Most Unappetizing Place Names in the U.S.

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One Response to Best Food Town Around

  1. Monet says:

    Bummer! I was hoping that Austin would make the list. We have quite a few fabulous restaurants…and more keep opening! Maybe someday soon! I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. Take time to love yourself and those that are dearest to your heart!

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