You Really Need To Try These Non-Coastal US Restaurants


When someone talks about the best restaurants in America, it’s usually filled with places that are found in bustling urban centers up and down the east and west coast and along the Gul Coast. While eateries in NYC, Portland, LA, Nola, Houston, and Miami are almost always deserving of their accolades, it means too many restaurants found within the land-locked states get overlooked. As a result, all the cafes, diners, and fine-dining found in the West, Southwest, and Midwest don’t get the kind of attention they deserve.

With that in mind, here are 15 of the best restaurants out there that may be miles away from an ocean coastline, but offer up some of the best food in the nation — ranging from traditional to progressive and everything in-between.

Historic Oark General Store & Cafe – Oark, AR

Originally opened back in 1890, The General Store & Cafe was originally designed to provide groceries for the isolated community of Oark, AR. While they still keep a few staples on hand, including gasoline, it’s evolved into a full-service restaurant over the years. The menu is simple, consisting of burgers, sandwiches, and milkshakes. But they’re not afraid to test customers’ taste buds with some spicier offerings like The Angry Hornet burger, which comes with grilled jalapenos and chipotle mayo.

Juniper Valley Ranch – Colorado Springs, CO

This well-hidden gem, found just a few miles south of Colorado Springs, has been in the same family for four generations. They do little-to-no advertising, instead making a name for themselves with a cozy atmosphere, family-style cooking, and a menu that hasn’t changed since it opened back in 1951.

Juniper does close down in the winter time, but don’t worry, it’s set to re-open by the end of March.

The Snake Pit – Kingston, ID

The town of Kingston, Idaho has changed a lot since 1880. The Snake Pit has changed with it — having been known as a hotel, a bar, and even a house of “ill-repute.” Today, it embraces its rich history by serving iconic American dishes in its rustic atmosphere. If you’ve never tried a rocky mountain oyster, then you won’t find a better place to do so.

Honey 1 BBQ – Chicago, IL

A family-run BBQ joint known for its rich, firey secret sauce, owner and pitmaster Robert Adams, Sr. is something of a purist when it comes to properly smoking meat. Embracing the south side-style, their food is cooked slowly over an open flame.

The menu is both simple and affordable, offering only a few selections. This is a true no-frills gem.

Milktooth – Indianapolis, IN

Named one of the best restaurants in the world by Conde Nast in 2016, Milktooth has a rotating menu that gives customers creative breakfast and lunch options with ingredients as creative as their plating. While it takes inspiration from food all over the globe, there are a few reliable staples, namely the notorious dutch baby pancakes.

Guy & Mae’s Bare Butt BBQ – Williamsburg, KS

This restaurant is world-famous for ribs that come wrapped in foil and newspaper. In the early 1970s, co-founder Guy Kaesner would test out his recipes on his trucker buddies. After eating, they’d sing their praises on their CB radios, which drove more truckers to their spot. Guy’s wife, Mae, perfected their BBQ sauce, and 45 years later they’re still known to have lines wrapped around the building with customers waiting to dig in. Even former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinson was a regular, and once sent Johnny Carson 10 slabs of their ribs for his birthday.

Matt’s Bar – Minneapolis, MN

A neighborhood burger joint since 1954, Matt’s Bar has since become a landmark for the city of Minneapolis — and a mecca for burger-lovers everywhere. Its claim to fame is inventing the “Jucy Lucy,” a burger patty served with their infamous molten-hot cheese stuffed inside.

As their website states, if “juicy” is spelled correctly, you might be eating an imitation.

bluestem – Kansas City, MO

With a menu specializing in progressive American cuisine, bluestem focuses on a three, five, or seven-course meal with optional drink pairings. Opened in 2004 by the husband and wife duo Colby and Megan Garrelts, they bring a spirit of creativity and inventiveness to bluestem’s food while never straying too far from their Midwestern roots.

Lo Sole Mio – Omaha, NE

Family owned and operated, Lo Sole Mio opened back in 1992 by high school sweethearts Don and Marie Losole. Both of them being full-blooded Italians (who’ve worked in food service since they were 14-years-old), they bring an authentic Italian experience to the Midwest.

Their menu offers up dishes from northern and southern regions served in a friendly, welcoming family atmosphere.

Peacock Alley – Bismarck, ND

First opened in 1933 at the end of the Prohibition Era, Peacock Alley flaunts its historic ties to Bismarck by providing an upscale atmosphere and food made from the freshest available ingredients. Its eclectic menu includes steaks aged in-house for at least 21 days, thin-sliced prime rib sandwiches, along with a variety of pasta, stroganoff, and curry dishes.

In addition to serving lunch and dinner menus, it also offers breakfast Monday-Saturday, as well as a special brunch menu on Sundays.

Sotto – Cincinnati, OH

Located in a basement in downtown Cincinnati, Sotto’s brick-and-wood interior sets the mood for their unique blend of inventive and rustic Italian cuisine. Their menu focuses on simple, undressed dishes whose main ingredients are “fire, meat, wheat, and laughter.”

Cattleman’s Steakhouse – Oklahoma City, OK

First opened back in 1910, Cattleman’s Steakhouse was a must-stop spot for ranchers, rustlers, and cattle-haulers alike. Though it’s changed owners a few times over the past century (including once over a literal roll of the dice), the original restaurant has remained largely unchanged. It did expand a bit throughout the 1950s, and in the years since has attracted everyone from movie stars to country singers to politicians.

Philips Avenue Diner – Sioux Falls, SD

While lots of restaurants end up relocating over their history, Philips Avenue Diner is one of the few that moved its actual building into its current location in downtown Sioux Falls. With its retro-diner decor and American-style cuisine, Philips has since become a fixture of Sioux Falls, offering up lunch, dinner, and breakfast that’s available anytime.

Ardent – Milwaukee, WI

A fusion restaurant on Milwaukee’s east side, Ardent is a unique blend of earthy and contemporary cuisine served up in a warm and intimate setting. The beef, herbs, and produce all comes directly from owner Justin Carlisle’s parents’ farm in nearby Sparta, WI. Ardent’s best enjoyed with an adventurous mindset, with a small staff that will guide their customers through a series of food and wine pairings designed to complement their respective flavors.