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Best Small Town Food Scene (2021)

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Traveling to a small town shouldn't mean sacrificing flavor. These small towns have big food scenes with chef-driven restaurants, local flavors and plenty of variety, especially given their small size. 

  • Abingdon

    Abingdon
    Virginia

    This walkable town in the Virginia Highlands has always had a lively food scene, and it just keeps getting better! Classics like the Tavern, 128 Pecan, Rain and Bone Fire Smokehouse, and new offerings from The Girl & The Raven, Papa Tom's, and Puerto Nuevo offer great variety and top quality. Don't miss Anthony's Desserts or Mamma Mia's, either!
    Photo courtesy of Abingdon Convention & Visitors Bureau / Jason Barnett

  • 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 po' boys, gumbo and 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

  • Saugerties

    Saugerties
    New York

    Midway between New York City and Albany, Saugerties has over thirty dining establishments ranging from casual to fine dining. Whether you prefer seafood risotto at The Red Onion, fried chicken with hot honey sauce at Miss Lucy’s, or fantastic burgers at The Dutch, there’s plenty of great variety here to satisfy any palate. Travel Writer Marla Cimini adds, “This town may appear sleepy, but it’s home to a number of great eateries, food businesses, and creative chefs.”
    Photo courtesy of demerzel21 // Getty Images

  • Traverse City

    Traverse City
    Michigan

    Known first and foremost for its beautiful freshwater beaches, Traverse City on the shores of Lake Michigan enjoys a buzzing food scene. Morel mushrooms grow in the area woods, and local chefs pair them with everything from local fish to farm-fresh eggs. Top dining options include Trattoria Stella by James Beard semifinalist Myles Anton, Filling Station Microbrewery and the Roaming Harvest food truck. 
    Photo courtesy of Traverse City

  • Newberg

    Newberg
    Oregon

    Located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country, Newberg is home to vintners who craft complex pinots and creative chefs who use the region’s bounty to develop innovative menus. The result is a broad range of dining choices, from potato-scaled halibut at SubTerra to fresh vegetables from Jory’s own garden and greenhouse. 10Best Contributor Amber Gibson shares: "The Willamette Valley is the most underrated wine region in the country, and Newberg is the epicenter of its thriving food and wine scene.”
    Photo courtesy of Marielle Dezurick, courtesy of The Painted Lady

  • Fredericksburg

    Fredericksburg
    Texas

    Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country and one of the South's top wine regions, Fredericksburg enjoys a stellar dining scene for a town of its size. Besides area wineries, the town is home to more than 70 restaurants and bakeries, including Otto’s German Bistro.
    Photo courtesy of Chris Zebo / Travel Texas

  • Bar Harbor

    Bar Harbor
    Maine

    Lobster. Lobster bisque. Lobster rolls. Eggs Benedict with lobster or lobster omelet. Over ninety restaurants in little Bar Harbor compete with fresh-off-the-boat seafood, so it’s no surprise the quality is top-notch, and the ambiance is unbeatable. For a different twist or change of pace from lobster, try bangers and mash at Leary’s Landing Irish Pub or the veal piccata at La Bella Vita Ristorante.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Maine // Beal's Lobster Pier

  • 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

  • Bluffton

    Bluffton
    South Carolina

    Hungry visitors to Bluffton will find locally caught seafood and traditional Southern comfort fare front and center at the town’s collection of restaurants, including local favorites like Cahill’s Market & Chicken Kitchen and Bluffton Family Seafood House. The culinary lineup also includes Southern barbecue (Choo Choo BBQ Xpress) and a taco bar (Agave).
    Photo courtesy of iStock / AnnapolisStudios

The top 10 winners in the category Best Small Town Food Scene are as follows: 
  1. Abingdon - Virginia
  2. Thibodaux - Louisiana
  3. Lewisburg - West Virginia
  4. Saugerties - New York
  5. Traverse City - Michigan
  6. Newberg - Oregon
  7. Fredericksburg - Texas
  8. Bar Harbor - Maine
  9. Stillwater - Minnesota
  10. Bluffton - South Carolina
Congratulations to all these winning towns!
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AlertThe Experts

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Allison Tibaldi

Allison Tibaldi

Allison Tibaldi

Amber Gibson

Amber Gibson

Amber Gibson

Cele and Lynn Seldon

Cele and Lynn Seldon

Cele and Lynn Seldon

Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell
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