7 Small Towns in America That Are Secret Food Destinations

7 Small Towns in America That Are Secret Food Destinations

After dinner, head to DownUnder Tupelo or Blue Canoe for a cocktail or a beer with a local vibe. For late-night snacking, Amsterdam Deli hits the spot with new takes on Greek classics, like gyro nachos.

Tupelo is also home to Mississippi’s first and only meadery, Queens Reward, run by Jeri and Geoff Carter. Made with Mississippi honey from a local beekeeper, the mead-and-frozen slushies are reason enough to hang around for a few hours, but it’s the atmosphere that impresses. “By the time you leave, you’ll be feeling like family,” Jeri Carter says.

CH Patisserie desserts in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Courtesy CH Patisserie

Beer and salad at PAve

Joshua Novak

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Downtown Sioux Falls is a surprisingly food-forward city. “Many people assume that our culinary scene is nothing more than your standard meat and potatoes, but it’s actually the exact opposite,” Experience Sioux Falls’ Communication Manager Matt Barthel says, adding that the chefs are “constantly putting their own twist on things for an elevated dish and dining experience.”

Venture down Phillips Avenue for rooftop drinks at PAve and grab-and-go pastries from CH Patisserie, owned by Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts winner Chris Hanmer. In the summers, he also opens up an ice cream shop, Parlour. Get your hands on an original treat like Play Ball (popcorn gelato, caramel, and chocolate covered peanuts, topped with Salty Pop Caramel popcorn) or try one of his artisan spins on cookies-and-cream or vintage vanilla bean.

Sanaa Abourezk—an alumni of Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay— runs Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean, an eatery focused on vegan and vegetarian options, like Fatayer (a Mediterranean calzone) and gluten-free baklava.

Over at Phillips Avenue Retro Diner, the menu includes poutine, salads, or the Elvis Waffle (with peanut butter fluff), while Parker’s Bistro is home to upscale dining with Wagyu beef, scallop, and lobster selections. Harvester Kitchen by Bryan serves up American small plates, including the Dakota specialty, cubes of meat known as chislic, along with a view of the city’s iconic clock tower, and Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen is perfect for a pork belly gyro, curry cauliflower sandwich, or its calling card–the naughty fries, topped with pork chile verde.

At Plum’s Cooking Company by Simply Perfect, get a more immersive experience with cooking classes, like a Thanksgiving-themed course with new takes on gravy. 

Oyster Club in Mystic, Connecticut

Credit Catherine Dzilenski, Idlewild Photo Co.

Seafood and pasta at Oyster Club

Catherine Dzilenski, Idlewild Photo Co.

Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic Pizza has long been a hotspot since the titular 1988 rom-com, but the town is so much more than that. “Mystic is an eccentric amalgamation of chefs and purveyors with innovative approaches to using the best products in the region and a commitment to sustainability,” Whaler’s Inn and Shipwright’s Daughter restaurants president Amanda Arling says. She adds that sugar kelp harvesting, an operational commercial fishing fleet, and rich history of organic and sustainable farming has also made an impact on the food scene.

Start at Deviant Doughnuts, a small-batch gourmet doughnut pop-up shop located in the Olde Mistick Village. While flavors change weekly, recent choices have included peach bourbon (fritter with peach bourbon jam and cream cheese glazed) and The GOAT (brioche with a strawberry goat cheese filling, cream cheese glaze, and a balsamic reduction drizzle).