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How to Eat Your Way Across America

Phoebe Fry

July 11, 2019

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Take the exit, skip the drive-through, and get a little off track on your next cross-country road trip. With the help of this guide, your detour could lead you to some of the best food in America. We’ve gathered a list of local businesses that have won America’s Classics Awards, which vouch for them as enduring community favorites. From blintzes in New York to brisket in Texas, you’re in for a delicious ride. And no worries if a road trip isn’t in the cards for you this summer—we’ve got recipes so you can get a taste of these timeless American eateries at home.

Northeast

Photo: Ben Fink

Cheese Blintzes (pictured above)
We can’t imagine New York City’s Upper West Side without iconic Jewish deli Barney Greengrass. From sturgeon scrambled eggs to bialys, you can’t go wrong with your order, but their cheese blintzes—delicate crepes filled with soft, lightly sweetened farmer cheese—are especially worth a try.

Southeast

Photo: Ben Fink

Tomato–Watermelon Salad
Make the most of late summer produce with this recipe for tomato–watermelon salad from Crook’s Corner, a cherished destination for Southern food in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Served chilled, it’s a delightful summer starter.

“Chef’s Big Lie” Banana Pudding
Find your way to Bowens Island Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina for a relaxing evening of river views, fresh seafood, and cold beer. Make sure to end your meal with the restaurant’s beloved banana pudding, a sweet, creamy confection that you can replicate at home.

Lemonade Cooler (pictured above)
Beat the Louisiana heat with this lemony treat from Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, a family-owned shaved ice stand in New Orleans where locals find reprieve in the summer. This recipe combines tart lemon syrup with ice and sparkling water to create a refreshing summer drink.

Texas-Style Oven Brisket
You can’t visit Texas and skip out on barbecue. Known for its unpretentious vibe and smoky, tender meat, Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas is a strong contender for the best in the region. Bring a piece of the Lone Star State home with this recipe for brisket, which you can slow-roast in your oven.

Midwest

Photo: Ben Fink

Blueberry–Walnut Pancakes (pictured above)
Al’s Breakfast is a 14-seat hole-in-the-wall serving up some of the best food in Minneapolis. If you can’t make it to Al’s, whip up a stack of their famous pancakes at home. Studded with blueberries and walnuts and drizzled with maple syrup, they’re the best way to start the day.

Southwest

Photo: Ben Fink

Epiphany Mango Beet Salad (pictured above)
Tossed with a cayenne–citrus dressing, this vibrant salad from Cafe Pasqual’s in Santa Fe, New Mexico is anything but boring. Inspired by a trip to the tropical Isthmus of Mexico, this fresh dish features juicy mango, crunchy macadamia nuts, and tender beets in every bite.

Chocolate Ice Box Cake
This rich, chilled dessert comes from the upscale restaurant El Chorro Lodge in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Make it at home for an elegant dinner party closer.

West

Photo: Ben Fink

Original #19 Hot Pastrami Sandwich
This pastrami sandwich from Langer’s Deli in Los Angeles has a cult following. Layers of pastrami, Russian dressing, and coleslaw make for a hearty, highly sought-after lunch.

Sakura Salad (pictured above)
One of the oldest Japanese restaurants in the country, Maneki provides Seattle with fresh, sophisticated food like this sakura salad. Make sure to buy sustainable tuna and amberjack to prepare this simple but stunning first course.

Hungry for more? View our entire recipe collection.

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Phoebe Fry is the media intern at the Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram.