12 Foodie Cities to Discover Before Everyone Else

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Food laid out
©Wendy Pramik
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8th Street, Downtown, Boise
Courtesy Idaho Tourism
Boise, Idaho

The capital of the "spud state" offers more than overplayed potato dishes. From a funky taqueria owned by a James Beard-nominated chef to joints honoring Boise's rich Basque community, the Treasure Valley is full of local foodie gems.

Must Eat: MadrePetite 4, Txikiteo

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Primanti Bros. Sandwich
©Primantibros/Instagram
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Once the site of a booming steel industry until the 1980s, Pittsburgh is experiencing a renaissance while remaining steadfast in its roots, and the food scene is no exception. Long-standing culinary obsessions range from pierogies on nearly every menu and french fries topping everything, including salads, to gourmet meatballs that reign supreme.

Must Eat: Primanti Bros., Whitfield, Sienna Mercato

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Vada Pav at Chai Pani
©ChaiPani
Asheville, North Carolina

Dubbed the “New Age mecca,” this city is brimming with culinary delights. Asheville has something for everyone, from the flavors of India to superfood-packed nosh.

Must Eat: Chai Pani, BimBeriBon, The Admiral

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FnB Restaurant Front
©Experience Scottsdale
Scottsdale, Arizona

Travel to Scottsdale for a culinary experience unique to the Wild West. Contemporary concepts mingle with native traditions thanks to Native American and Mexican settlers. 

Must Eat: The Mission, FnB, Weft & Warp

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Nadia Bakery cupcakes
©Nadia Cakes
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Perhaps the only thing cooler than the weather in Minneapolis is the food. The friendly Midwestern city is no stranger to international fare thanks to the mix of Hmong, Somali, Mexican, African American, European and countless other cultures that have been shaping Minnesota since its establishment.  Must Eat: Lemon Grass Thai, Roasted Pear, Nadia Cakes

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Traditional Kentucky Spread
©The Kentucky Department of Tourism
Louisville, Kentucky

Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world's bourbon, and it shows in the cuisine. With plenty of bourbon-infused food, the scene is best described as "new Southern" with a splash of bourbon. 

Must Eat: CouvillionDecca, Hell or High Water

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Persimmon Restaurant in Providence
©Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau
Providence, Rhode Island

Providence is home to Johnson & Wales culinary school. The cuisine here is hip, youthful and little daring. 

Must Eat: Oberlin, Persimmon, Los Andes

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Food
©Wendy Pramik
Columbus, Ohio

This city is gaining notoriety with chefs coming from the coasts to open restaurants. Thanks to the nearby farms, heritage livestock and artisan producers, chefs have easy access to fresh, local ingredients. 

Must Eat: Veritas, Katalina's Café, Flowers & Bread

 

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Downtown Charlottesville, North Carolina
©Charlottesville Albemarle CVB
Charlottesville, Virginia

On one side of Charlottesville, college kids amass; on the other side of the city, viticulture dominates. This creates a striking balance between sophistication and youthfulness that is mirrored in the food. 

Must Eat: The LocalCrozet Pizza, The Ivy Inn

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Marie Catrib's Burger
©Marie Catrib's/Instagram
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Despite its booming beer scene, Grand Rapids has more to offer than gastropubs. The beer-focused city is surrounded by miles of farmland and it's home to plenty of farm-to-table joints. 

Must Eat: Forty Acres, Six.One.Six, Marie Catrib's

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Honey Road Front
©Honey Road/Instagram
Burlington, Vermont

Thanks to the impressive acreage of farmland, Burlington has an arsenal of artisanal cheese producers, breweries, cider makers and farm-to-table restaurants to choose from. The proximity to Montreal and Boston are mighty influential on this tiny city's food scene. From sophisticated French farm-to-table joints to Irish-inspired gastropubs, Burlington has something for everyone. 

Must Eat: Hen of The Wood, Honey RoadButch & Babes

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Zinc New Haven
©Zinc
New Haven, Connecticut

Visit New Haven and experience a city offering extensive culinary delights. You're just as likely to find a humble pizza joint serving up award-winning slices as you are to find high-end brasseries serving up top-notch cuisine.

Must Eat: Frank Pepe's, Zinc, Union League Café

By Savanna Syms

Some cities are culinary icons: New York, San Francisco, New Orleans just to name a few. But there are also world-class dishes hiding in the cities and towns in between. From verdant farmland to cultural enclaves honoring traditional cooking techniques, these are the food destinations where world-class cuisine is rising. 

Savanna Syms
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