Best Small Town Food Scene (2022)


Traveling to a small town shouldn't mean sacrificing flavor. These 20 small towns have big food scenes with chef-driven restaurants, local flavors, and plenty of variety for their size.

  • Abingdon


    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 Foresta and Real Good offer great variety and top quality. Don't miss Anthony's Desserts or Mamma Mia's, either!
    Photo courtesy of Jason Barnette Photography

  • Thibodaux


    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 Cinclare Restaurant

  • 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

  • Newberg


    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 Photo by Britt Eisele, courtesy of Taste Newberg

  • Stillwater


    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

  • Los Alamos

    Los Alamos

    This town of under 2,000 northwest of Los Angeles has a rich selection of Victorian homes, antique stores, wine tasting rooms, and art galleries. Try the duck confit risotto at Pico, the watermelon salad and ahi poke nachos at The Maker’s Son, barbecue at Priedite, or dim sum at Dim Sama. Top off your visit with tapas at the 1880s Union Hotel, or treat yourself to Bell’s, an innovative French-inspired bistro listed in Michelin’s Guide in 2021.
    Photo courtesy of photosoup // Getty Images

  • Port Townsend

    Port Townsend

    With its collection of Victorian buildings, art galleries, and boats, little Port Townsend offers good food for hungry visitors on day trips from Seattle. With a 1920s speakeasy vibe, The In Between may be hard to find, but their homemade chips, beef empanadas, and craft drinks make it worth the effort. Also, try the banh mi at the Owl Sprit Cafe, pasties and Scotch eggs at Tommyknockers, Asian fusion at the Castle, and duck confit gnocchi with creamy polenta at Finistere.
    Photo courtesy of davelogan // Getty Images

  • Vail


    You expect fine dining when you’re in Vail, and you won’t be disappointed. There’s no better place to enjoy fondue in the United States than at the Swiss Chalet restaurant in the mountains above 8,000-foot elevation. Try the pork shank or salmon grilled over an open wood fire at Mountain Standard or a whole Rocky Mountain trout with pasta at their sister restaurant Sweet Basil. But take your time and enjoy - you’ll never run out of fine dining options in Vail.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / pabradyphoto

  • Traverse City

    Traverse City

    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 Cordwood food truck. 
    Photo courtesy of Traverse City

  • Hammonton

    New Jersey

    This “Blueberry Capital of the World” is chock full of festivals, which means good food. You’ll love the homemade pasta dishes at Joe Italiano’s Maplewood Inn or the steak and seafood at Rocco’s Town House (open since 1949). Try a waffle sandwich at the Funky Cow, fajitas at El Mariachi Loco, or roast beef at Briglia’s Tavern. Bagliani’s Market has a great selection of Italian meats and cheeses, and Henri’s Hotts is the best-kept barbecue secret in southern New Jersey. But don’t miss a summertime visit to Royale Crown for their homemade ice cream.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / tomorca

  1. Abingdon - Virginia
  2. Thibodaux - Louisiana
  3. Lewisburg - West Virginia
  4. Newberg - Oregon
  5. Stillwater - Minnesota
  6. Los Alamos - California
  7. Port Townsend - Washington
  8. Vail - Colorado
  9. Traverse City - Michigan
  10. Hammonton - New Jersey

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 towns!

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AlertThe Experts

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows

Dynie Sanderson

Dynie Sanderson

Dynie Sanderson

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith