For food that reflects your state’s culinary culture, look no further than its best traditional restaurant
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Restaurants that stand on tradition
America was built upon tradition. And while we love trendy eating experiences (hello, food trucks) as much as the next person, there’s something comforting about settling into a seat in a traditional restaurant. From sea to shining sea, these dining spots offer the best expressions of each state’s individuality, from famous state foods to new traditions reflecting the ever-evolving cultures throughout the American experience.
Our picks for the best traditional restaurant in each state include eateries serving dishes that reflect the locale, iconic establishments and places locals rave about. Some are fancy enough for special occasions (think an anniversary or Valentine’s Day dinner), while others offer outstanding food in a casual environment. All serve up what will soon become your new favorite foods, a lesson in culinary anthropology and the joy of knowing the people and places that make the nation’s palate so interesting.
The buckle of the barbecue belt, Alabama takes a couple different approaches to this succulent smoked meat, depending on what part of the state you’re in. But when George and Paulette Archibald first started serving their hickory-smoked ribs out of this small Northport joint in 1962, folks lined up around the cinder-block building, including legendary University of Alabama coach Bear Bryant. Now with two locations and three generations of Archibald pit masters at the helm, the family eatery serves those same highly acclaimed ribs, pulled pork and other delicacies—like wings, fried catfish and whiting—along with a host of homemade sides and desserts.