Most people compare school systems, parks and shopping centers when choosing the best place to live. Foodies, on the other hand, follow their taste buds. Food lovers are more interested in the caliber of a community's restaurants, culinary skills of local chefs and whether they'll be able to find the ingredients needed to assemble a gourmet meal at home.
You don’t have to be a traveler to be a foodie enthusiast, but eating is probably the greatest excuse we've ever heard for planning a trip. Part of traveling revolves around the food experience and the different culinary tastes that we tend to then replicate, or try to replicate when we arrive back home.
It’s time to dig in to our top 5 list of the best up and coming food cities in America. You can take a look, but we can’t guarantee you won’t get hungry.
Home to the Juicy Lucy, a masterpiece of a burger with cheddar cheese stuffed inside. Foodies flock to Minneapolis for some of the best beer and dive bars, and was recently recognized as “America’s next great food city” by Saveur Magazine. Minneapolis-St. Paul is also home to several James Beard nominated chefs and was voted #1 in the Best Local Food Scene category by USA Today 10Best. Some of the top foodie establishments to visit in Minneapolis are:
1) Betty Danger’s Country Club
2) Café Racer
3) Colossal Café
4) Como Dockside
6) Salt Cellar
7) Spoon And Stable
When most people think of top food scene cities, they think of New York, Chicago, or L.A., when in all actuality, those cities have great food scenes but it’s the cities that you would not expect, like Louisville, that offer a foodie heaven on earth. This city is known for the Kentucky Derby and Bourbon but it’s also known for food. We aren’t referring to KFC or Colonel Sanders, either.
Farmers and farmers’ markets are supported by restaurants like Harvest, Mayan Cafe, Eiderdown, and Proof on Main, who promote their use of local, seasonal ingredients in their dishes. There's also a growing food truck population. Louisville food traditions include the Hot Brown sandwich, invented at the Brown Hotel, bourbon balls, and the Modjeska, a caramel-covered marshmallow.
Not only is this city home to The Ohio State University and the 2014 NCAA Football National Champions, it’s also on the food scene rise. Although Cleveland is Ohio’s current food-success story, watch out because Columbus is booming. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is sweeping through the Midwest and Southeast with flavors like Salty Caramel, Wildberry Lavender, and Mango Lassi.
Don’t miss Thurman’s burgers, which was featured on Travel Channel’s Man V. Food, and the North Market, which was established in 1876 and is Columbus’ only remaining true public market. That’s where more than 30 merchants vend a wide variety of fresh, local, authentic food. Offerings include organic produce, grass-fed beef, pork, lamb and goat, pastured poultry, sustainably raised seafood, locally roasted coffee, baked goods, cheeses, flowers and other artisan food items.
Did you know that Chipotle was started as a single restaurant near Denver University’s campus? Yep, that’s right. The now $20 billion company has a single restaurant on vitually every block in every major city. Denver is also the company headquarters for Smashburger, Qdoba, Quiznos, Noodles and Company, and Red Robin. Over the last few years, some of the hottest additions to the Denver foodie scene were born in RiNo, the River North Art District.
Work & Class and Cart-Driver were both featured as two of the best new restaurants in Denver for 2015 by 5280. The Source, similar to Columbus’s North Market, is a highly curated European-style artisan food market housed in an iconic 1880s ironworks building. The Source offers a one-stop shopping experience for the food-obsessed while also providing some of Denver's best artisans with an outlet for their crafts.
Portland’s like a food-lover’s fantasy land. It’s loaded with high-profile, nationally relevant restaurants ranging from Pok Pok to Toro Bravo, Beast, Paley’s Place, and Le Pigeon. 700+ food carts serve up (often upscale) restaurant-quality food on the cheap and sit in gigantic clusters with their own bars in the middle. Tourists and locals commingle in long lines not just for brunch, but for donuts and ice cream.
The sandwich shops and pizza joints are directed by top chefs and oh, James Beard, who we have spoken of previously, is from the City of Roses. He was into onion sandwiches, and of course Portland has the best. Portland is also a melting pot of influences so if you’re looking for a diverse city where your palate can be expanded, it’s definitely the food scene to hit up. From Jewish, French, Middle Eastern, and Thai – Portland offers it all.