The Most Iconic Restaurant in Every Single U.S. State

Dinner with a side of history

Chicago deep-dish pizza. New York bagels. Maryland crab cakes. Food is a big part of a place’s identity. And over the years, certain restaurants have emerged as the ultimate representation of each and every state. From Alabama’s Dreamland Bar-B-Q to Wyoming’s Bubba’s, these are the restaurants (and, OK, fast-food joints) that make America so tasty.

The Oldest Restaurant in Every State

Alabama: Dreamland Bar-b-q

This Alabama-based BBQ chain has multiple locations throughout the state. Try the mac and cheese, hickory-fire-grilled ribs and sweet tea and you’ll see that Dreamland’s slogan, “Ain’t nothing like ’em nowhere,” 

Multiple locations;

Alaska: Hangar On The Wharf

A popular spot for tourists and locals alike, this restaurant on the Juneau waterfront offers seaplane views, craft brews and excellent seafood like Alaskan halibut and king crab.

2 Marine Way #106, Juneau; 907-586-5018 or

Macayo's Mexican Restaurants/Facebook

Arizona: Macayo's Mexican Kitchen

Legend has it that the chimichanga (commonly considered to be Arizona's state food) was invented by the founder of Mayaco's back in 1946.

Multiple locations;

Arkansas: Sims Bar-b-que

A Little Rock staple, Sims has been serving its famous ribs, doused in a Carolina-style vinegar, mustard and brown sugar sauce, since 1937.

2415 Broadway, Little Rock; 501-372-6868 or

@ kateboissett/instagram

California: In-n-out Burger

It is pretty much a sin to step foot in the state of California and not stop at In-N-Out. We’ll take our burger animal-style, please.

Multiple locations;

Colorado: Sam's No. 3

Colorado’s most famous bite just might be the green-chile-smothered breakfast burrito at Sam’s No. 3, Denver’s most iconic diner.

Multiple locations;

Connecticut: Frank Pepe's Pizza

The original New Haven location has been serving its famous coal-fired pies since 1925. Order the white clam pizza and chase it down with a cold birch beer.

Multiple locations;

Delaware: Dogfish Head Pub

Dogfish Head’s main brewery is located in Milton, but this casual pub set in the beach town of Rehoboth serves comfort food like spice-rubbed wings and fried pickle spears alongside craft ales.

320 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth; 302-226-2739 or

Florida: Joe's Stone Crab

This legendary South Beach spot is open only from October to May, but it’s well worth waiting the summer out. Once you’ve braved the line, tie on your bib and prepare to feast on massive stone crabs served family-style (and at a hefty price tag). Remember: No meal is complete without a slice of Key lime pie.

11 Washington Ave., Miami; 305-673-0365 or

Georgia: Mary Mac's Tea Room

This Atlanta institution, which dates back to 1945, is the prime example of Southern comfort cooking. Think: buttermilk-fried chicken, corn bread and peach cobbler.

224 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta; 404-876-1800 or

Hawaii: Mama's Fish House

Ocean views? Check. Fresh seafood? Check. Tropical cocktails? You bet. The menu at this Maui hot spot rotates every day, featuring local fish like mahi-mahi and ahi caught just off-shore.

799 Poho Pl., Paia; 808-579-8488 or

Idaho: The Snakebite Restaurant

This Idaho Falls restaurant has maintained its hometown vibe and original recipes since opening in 1994. You can never go wrong with a burger and fries.

401 Park Ave., Idaho Falls; 208-525-2522 or

Illinois: Superdawg

Follow the neon signs and papier-mâché hot dogs to this beloved Chicago drive-in. Since 1948, carhops have been delivering greasy grub like “Superdawgs” and “Whoopercheesies” to car windows. Just don’t call these Chicago-style dogs wieners or frankfurters, because they're something entirely different.

Multiple locations;

Indiana: St. Elmo Steak House

The oldest Indiana steakhouse, St. Elmo has been standing on South Illinois Street in Indianapolis since 1902. Decorated with dark wood and brass finishes, this classic joint has hosted just about every racer and celebrity who has attended the Indy 500.

127 S. Illinois St., Indianapolis; 317-635-0636 or


Iowa: B&b Grocery

If there’s one food Iowa is known for, it's pork tenderloin. The “killer pork breaded pork tenderloin” sandwich at this family-owned deli and grocery is famous across the state and throughout the Midwest.

2001 SE Sixth St., Des Moines; 515-243-7607 or

Kansas: Joe's Kansas City Bar-b-que

Formerly known as Oklahoma Joe's, this barbecue hot spot changed its name to Joe’s Kansas City in 2014 to fully identify with its home state. The Burnt Ends Sandwich special, served on buttered toast with sliced pickles, is worth the hour-long lines.

Multiple locations;

Kentucky: Jack Fry's

As quintessentially Louisville as it gets, this fine-dining establishment with a casual vibe has been around since the 1930s. Almost any night of the week you can slurp down an old-fashioned while  watching a live jazz show.

1007 Bardstown Rd., Louisville;  502-452-9244 or

Louisiana: Middendorf’s

This Louisiana landmark has been serving seafood since 1934. The 45-minute drive from New Orleans is worth the trip for the fried thin catfish alone. Oh, and don’t forget a side of crab and shrimp gumbo.

30160 US-51; Akers, LA; 985-386-6666 or

Maine: Red's Eats

Maine has tons of lobster joints, but none quite like Red’s, a little shack that has stood on Route 1 in Wiscasset since 1954. Come for the lobster roll, and plenty of character.

41 Water St., Wiscasset; 207-882-6128 or


Maryland: Cantler's Riverside Inn

There are tons of places to eat blue crabs in the Maryland area, but there’s nowhere quite like this old-school Annapolis establishment that dates back to 1975. People wait for hours to sit down at the brown-paper-covered picnic tables with mallets in hand.

458 Forest Beach Rd., Annapolis; 410-757-1311 or

Massachusetts: Woodman's Of Essex

Legend has it that Lawrence “Chubby” Woodman invented fried clams back in 1914 at this Ipswich spot. Now, crowds line up at the counter to order a heaping portion of the dish that’s become a New England clam shack staple.

121 Main St., Essex; 978-768-6057 or

Michigan: Zingerman's Deli

Arguably the best sandwich shop in the U.S., this Ann Arbor institution has been feeding hungry lines of University of Michigan students for 30 years. From the bread to the cheese and the meat, everything is made in-house from local ingredients. 

422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3354 or


Minnesota: Matt's Bar

Home of the original Jucy Lucy, Matt’s bar has been serving the same greasy, cheesy burgers since 1954. The dive bar was famous enough to lure in President Obama during his trip to the Twin Cities.

3500 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612-722-7072 or

Mississippi: Ajax Diner

When it comes to down-home soul food, there’s nowhere quite like Ajax, which rivals mom's cooking with its mac and cheese and chicken and dumplings.

118 Courthouse Sq., Oxford; 662-232-8880 or

Missouri: Pappy's Smokehouse

Pappy’s full slab of ribs--dry-rubbed and slow-smoked over apple and cherry wood--is a dish that’s become a staple of the city, even though the restaurant has only been around since 2008.

3106 Olive St., St. Louis; 314-535-4340 or

Montana: Sir Scott's Oasis

This wood-paneled, no-nonsense steakhouse in Manhattan (known to the locals as Oasis) is the top spot to get your red meat fix in a state famous for carnivorous eating.

204 W. Main St., Manhattan; 406-284-6929 or yelp

Nebraska: The Drover

One of Omaha’s longest standing restaurants, this rustic chophouse is known for its enormous whiskey-marinated steaks.

2121 S. 73rd St., Omaha; 402-391-7440 or

Nevada: The Peppermill Restaurant And Fireside Lounge

This clubby spot on the Las Vegas Strip has been serving drunk and ravenous people 24 hours a day since it opened in 1972. You know…for when you just need a southern fried steak and martini at five in the morning.

Somerset Shopping Center, 2985 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas; 702-735-4177 or


New Hampshire: Portsmouth Brewery

Stop by this Portsmouth favorite on a summer day for a heaping bowl of alehouse-style mussels and  a beer flight on the patio.

56 Market St., Portsmouth; 603-431-1115 or

New Jersey: Tops Diner

Jersey is a state full of diners, but none quite like Tops in East Newark. It’s been family-run since 1972, but it’s not quite your typical greasy spoon; the most popular dishes include chicken alfredo and meatloaf.

500 Passaic Ave., Harrison; 973-481-0490 or

New Mexico: Café Pasqual's

Since 1979, visitors have lined up outside Café Pasqual’s turquoise door for New Mexican classics with an inventive twist. (Think: green chili burgers and huevos barbacoa.) The colorful restaurant also houses an art gallery on the second floor.

121 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe; 505-983-9340 or

New York: Katz's Delicatessen

“Send a salami to your boy in the army.” That was the slogan during WWII at this kosher-style deli on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Today, lines still form down the block for the legendary pastrami sandwiches.

205 E. Houston St., New York; 212-254-2246 or

North Carolina: Skylight Inn

The essence of Carolina cooking, this no-frills joint is known for its pit-cooked, whole-hog barbecue. Go for the legendary pulled-pork sandwich served with creamy slaw and topped with a corn cake.

4618 S. Lee St., Ayden; 252-746-4113 or

North Dakota: The Woodhouse

Welcome to the state where the buffalo roam. This old-school burger joint in Bismarck is the place to go for North Dakota’s signature Bison cheeseburgers.

1825 N. 13th St., Bismarck; 701-255-3654 or


Ohio: Slyman's

When you’re selling hundreds of pounds of corned beef a day, you know you’re doing something right. This real retro Cleveland establishment draws serious midday lunch lines for its famed corned beef sandwiches, topped with deli mustard on rye.

3106 St. Clair Ave. NE, Cleveland; 216-621-3760 or

Oklahoma: Cattlemen's Steakhouse

Walk into this famous steakhouse and you’ll find everyone from cowboys to politicians. Expect huge portions of melt-in-your-mouth meat and decadently topped baked potatoes. You’re in Oklahoma City, after all.

1309 S. Agnew Ave., Oklahoma City; 405-236-0416 or

Oregon: Jake's Famous Crawfish

In downtown Portland you’ll find this landmark seafood restaurant with its brick walls, wood paneling, cozy booths and white tablecloths. Jake’s serves up classics like étouffée and chowder, plus, of course, heaping portions of crawfish.

401 SW 12th Ave., Portland; 503-226-1419 or

Pennsylvania: Pat's King Of Steaks

Since 1930, Pat's--the alleged inventor of the Philly Cheesesteak--has doled out hot, cheesy sammies to boisterous (and not-too-calorie-conscious) crowds. Feeling extra hungry? It's right across the street from Geno's, arguably the city's second best cheesesteak purveyor.

1237 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia; 215-468-1546 or

Rhode Island: Olneyville New York System Restaurant

Despite the New York reference in its name, this ramshackle spot is uniquely Rhode Island. It’s famous for its wieners (don’t call them hot dogs) topped with yellow onions, mustard and a secret ground beef sauce.

Multiple locations;

South Carolina: Husk

Beloved chef Sean Brock’s menu features notable southern dishes like Carolina gold rice cakes, pork belly and shrimp and grits--all made from locally sourced ingredients.

Multiple locations;

South Dakota: Murphy's Pub And Grill

This Rapid City watering hole opened its doors in 1933. Though recently renovated into a more modern gastro pub, it still retains its historical charm and is known for mac and cheese, pulled pork and an expansive list of draft brews.

510 Ninth St., Rapid City; 605-791-2244 or

Tennessee: Loveless Café

Since 1951, this charming, family-run café in southwest Nashville has been known for checker-clothed tables and some of the best biscuits, country ham and gravy the South has to offer.

8400 Tennessee Highway 100, Nashville; 615-646-9700 or

Texas: The Salt Lick

The Salt Lick opened in 1967 as no more than a limestone pit. Now it’s the most revered barbecue joint in all of Texas, and totally representative of smoked, meat-centric Hill Country cooking.

18300 FM 1826 Driftwood; 512-858-4959 or

Utah: Red Iguana

Of all the Mexican joints in Utah, the Red Iguana is the most beloved. The family-run eatery serves up seven different kids of mole sauce and enchiladas suizas. And it was so popular that the Cardenas family opened a second restaurant just blocks away.

Multiple locations;

Vermont: Hen Of The Wood

It isn’t the oldest restaurant around, but Hen of the Wood, with locations in Waterbury and Burlington, epitomizes Vermont. From the rustic, farmhouse tables to the sustainable, seasonal menu, it just has that classic New England vibe.; multiple locations

Virginia: The Inn At Little Washington

One of the top fine-dining establishments in the country, Patrick O’Connell’s restaurant is housed in a five-star inn built in 1895. With its tasting menus, extravagant wine lists and hefty price tag, this restaurant in Washington, Virginia, is just as elegant as our forefathers would have wanted.

309 Middle St., Washington; 540-675-3800 or


Washington: Pike Place Chowder Co.

This counter-serve spot in Seattle’s Pike Place Market hasn’t been around for decades. But since opening in 2003, its thick and creamy seafood chowders and hefty lobster rolls have become synonymous with Washington state.

Multiple locations;

Washington, D.c.: Old Ebbitt Grill

Old Ebbitt Grill, the oldest bar and restaurant in the nation’s capital, is frequented by politicians and actors, locals and tourists. Head there to enjoy a tower of oysters in the ever-crowded Victorian-style tavern.

675 15th St. NW;  202-347-4800 or


West Virginia: Mountain State Brewing Company

This Morgantown brewery is the place where locals stop by for a wood-fired, thin-crust pizza and local beers. Grab a seat on the rooftop patio and take in views of the Monongahela River.

Multiple locations;

Wisconsin: The Old Fashioned

From beer-battered cheese curds to bratwurst, this Madison tavern serves huge portions of all the Wisconsin classics. Don’t miss the lengthy craft beer list, featuring artisan brews from across the state.

23 N. Pinckney St. #1, Madison; 608-310-4545 or

Wyoming: Bubba's Bar-b-que

Step into this Jackson Hole BBQ joint and you’ll feel like you’ve entered the Wild West. The main draw is the the beef brisket, slow smoked in a hickory-fired smoker.

100 Flat Creek Dr., Jackson; 307-733-2288 or

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Freelance PureWow Editor

From 2015-2017 Hannah Loewentheil held the role of Editor covering entertainment, food, travel and all things nyc.