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Best Small Town Food Scene (2020)

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Note from 10Best: Someday, we'll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, we'll keep supporting the places that inspire us.

  • Abingdon

    Abingdon
    Virginia

    While Abingdon is perhaps best known for its performing and visual arts, its culinary scene is equally creative. Local chefs draw inspiration from the area’s farming heritage as they craft an eclectic mix of cuisines. Satisfy a sweet tooth at 149 Sweets, sample some smokey barbecue at Bone Fire Smokehouse, enjoy afternoon tea at Camella’s Remember When or dine locally sourced ingredients (some sourced from the kitchen garden) at Luke's Cafe.
    Photo courtesy of Abingdon Convention & Visitors Bureau / Jason Barnett

  • Punta Gorda

    Punta Gorda
    Florida

    “Historic buildings downtown and at Fishermen's Village hold a surprising number of quality eateries for a town its size,” says 10Best Local Expert Chelle Koster Walton. While there’s a bit of everything on offer, seafood is the star of the show, particularly at places like Peace River Seafood, Laishley Crab House or Hurricane Charley’s Raw Bar & Grill.
    Photo courtesy of PureFlorida.com

  • Thibodaux

    Thibodaux
    Louisiana

    The town of Thibodaux, situated in Southeast Louisiana’s Bayou Country, is an excellent jumping off point for exploring local flavors on the state’s Cajun Bayou Food Trail. Sample poboys and gumbo from Bubba’s II Poboys, seafood from Spahr’s Downtown, fresh boudin from Bourgeois Meat Market or upscale American fare from Fremin’s.
    Photo courtesy of Louisiana's Cajun Bayou

  • Lewisburg

    Lewisburg
    West Virginia

    There’s a lot to eat in downtown Lewisburg, morning, noon and night. Grab a sweet treat from Amy’s Cakes and Cones, pick up some baked goods, soups or salads from Corn + Flour, tuck into a steak at Food & Friends or enjoy brick oven pizza in a relaxed atmosphere at Hill and Holler.
    Photo courtesy of Greenbrier County CVB

  • Stillwater

    Stillwater
    Minnesota

    According to 10Best Local Expert Chelle Koster Walton, “this river city wears its past in its fun and funky restaurants,” including romantic rooftop restaurants overlooking the St. Croix River and casual sidewalk cafes. Fill up on hearty German fare at Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter, sip a Mai Tai at the Tilted Tiki, grab dinner and a cocktail from LoLo American Kitchen & Craft Bar or eat al fresco at Brick & Bourbon.
    Photo courtesy of Stillwater/Oak Park Heights Convention & Visitor Bureau

  • Saranac Lake

    Saranac Lake
    New York

    Saranac Lake is a small town that loves to eat, with several restaurants that have been around for awhile, like Belvedere and the Red Fox. Blue Line Brewery satisfies craft beer cravings, while Grizle T’s and Bitters and Bones are popular among locals.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / DenisTangneyJr

  • Oxford

    Oxford
    Mississippi

    James Beard-winning Chef John Currence has four restaurants in the town of Oxford, Mississippi, so you know you'll eat well. While fine dining shines, hungry travelers will also find American comfort food at Ajax Diner or late night chicken-on-a-stick from the local gas station (a college student staple). International flavors get the Southern treatment at restaurants like Rice and Spice Thai Kitchen (try the crispy catfish salad), Ravine, Snackbar and Oxford Canteen.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Oxford MS

  • Orange Beach

    Orange Beach
    Alabama

    The sugar white sand beaches aren’t the only draw in coastal Orange Beach, Alabama. A lineup of creative chefs have taken inspiration from the Gulf of Mexico bounty, including three-time James Beard nominee Chef Bill Briand with his upscale Fisher’s Upstairs. Anchor bar serves up seafood-centric bar fare (think fried oysters and seared sea scallops) while The Gulf pairs stellar views with a mean grouper sandwich.
    Photo courtesy of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism

  • Collingswood

    Collingswood
    New Jersey

    Hungry travelers will find flavors from around the world coming from the kitchens of Collingswood, known as South Jersey's "Restaurant Row." Eateries run the gamut from casual (Bobby Chez Famous Lump Crab Cakes, Collingswood Diner, Primo Hoagies) to upscale (Hearthside, Bistro di Marino) and everything in between.
    Photo courtesy of Gannett, Douglas Bovitt/(Cherry Hill, N.J.) Courier-Post

  • Twisp

    Twisp
    Washington

    The friendly town of Twisp in Washington’s Methow Valley is an excellent place to chow down. Start your day with a cup of joe from Blue Star Coffee Roasters and a slice of quiche from Cinnamon Twisp Bakery, grab a casual lunch at Fork Food Truck or Glover Street Market, and finish off the day with a sit-down meal at Tappi or Linwood Restaurant.
    Photo courtesy of Twisp Chamber of Commerce

Tasty things sometimes come in very small packages. These 10 small towns – each with a population of under 25,000 – have big food scenes with chef-driven restaurants, local flavors and plenty of variety, especially given their small size.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Small Town Food Scene are as follows:

  1. Abingdon - Virginia
  2. Punta Gorda - Florida
  3. Thibodaux - Louisiana
  4. Lewisburg - West Virginia
  5. Stillwater - Minnesota
  6. Saranac Lake - New York
  7. Oxford - Mississippi
  8. Orange Beach - Alabama
  9. Collingswood - New Jersey
  10. Twisp - Washington

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning small towns!

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AlertThe Experts

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows

Amber Gibson

Amber Gibson

Amber Gibson

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Cele and Lynn Seldon

Cele and Lynn Seldon

Cele and Lynn Seldon

Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton
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