Imagine a friend is visiting your home state for the first time and is asking for a restaurant recommendation. In many cities, the culinary possibilities seem endless.
It's difficult to whittle down the various dining options in a particular state to just one, all-important restaurant. Take New York, for instance. The steakhouses will make you wonder how you ever went vegan back in college. The ramen noodle joints turn a hike to Flushing into a day well spent. A slice of pizza can send you into a euphoric state. Yet, according to research undertaken by the folks at Thrillist, the only New York State restaurant that really matters is Katz's Delicatessen on Manhattan's Lower East Side. (To be fair, Meg Ryan did seem to have a really good time there, and it made our list of most iconic NYC sandwiches.)
Behold, the most iconic restaurants, state-by-state. What makes these restaurants stand head-and-shoulders above the rest? For one, longevity. Each listing is at least 30 years old. Plus, the establishments' levels of local fame were also taken into account. In other words, these may not necessarily be the fanciest or most-starred restaurants, but they're the ones that people are buzzing about, year after year.
In Louisiana, the leader is New Orleans stalwart Commander's Palace. In Texas, it's barbecue haven Salt Lick. Tennessee has the Pancake Pantry, Maine the Lobster Shack Restaurant at Two Lights, and California The Old Clam House in San Francisco. Tough break, Spago.
Where does your state stack up? Are steaks supreme or is it all about the 'cue? Click here to find out.