Sure, New Yorkers tend to think of our fair city as the center of the universe but even we can admit that there’s delicious grub to be found all across America. Whether you’re craving Texas-style BBQ, Nashville’s spicy fried chicken or New York pizza with a Detroit edge, Gotham’s got the spot for you. These are the best regional American restaurants in NYC.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC
Best regional American restaurants in NYC
Inside the 50-seat, casual-sleek pizza parlor—where overalls-clad Brooklyn moms juggle a newborn with one arm and a slice with the other, and off-duty chefs in snapbacks unload with on-tap rum punch—Matt and Emily Hyland serve six-slice rectangles that have all the hallmarks of the Detroit pan-baked style: air-pocked, puff-and-fluff dough that’s thicker than the New York slice but thinner than the Windy City deep dish; cheese baked right into the crust until the buttery, barely risen cornicione takes on an addictively crispy frico texture; and sauce that’s Pollack-splashed on top rather than pooled in the center.
Grab your Wet-Naps—Brooklyn’s BBQ renaissance shows no signs of cooling off. This wood-paneled 120-seat smokehouse is the latest addition to the scene, a collaboration between self-taught pit master Billy Durney and restaurateur Christopher Miller (Smith & Mills, Warren 77). Inspired by his Brooklyn upbringing and travels through the South, Durney turns out 'cue with global influences. Dig into smoked meats both American (Texas-style brisket, North Carolina–inspired baby back ribs) and international (smoked jerk chicken, lamb belly banh mi). The drinks match the honky-tonk menu: Bartenders pour draft beers (Smuttynose, Shiner Bock) and American whiskeys (Van Brunt Stillhouse).
Picture a Hawaiian restaurant. Noreetuh is not that place. There’s no tiki-torched, lei’d-back Pacific camp on display at this dark-wood East Village bistro. That’s not a shock, given the pedigree behind the place: Jin Anh, Gerald San Jose and Honolulu-raised chef Chung Chow all have fine-dining tenures at Per Se under their belt. But white-tablecloth eating this isn’t. It’s sophisticated, no doubt, but Chow embraces the Hawaiian lowbrow as readily as he does the high. Musubi, that junky gas-station novelty comprising grilled Spam slapped atop a tile of rice and wrapped in seaweed, gets upgraded via lean corned-beef tongue nestled on cilantro-sauced grains with crunchy peanuts ($6).
The soul-food debut from Carla Hall—the familiar bespectacled face from Top Chef and The Chew—is an ode to her hometown, Nashville, and its specialty hot chicken. From the kitchen, the TV chef issues out chicken by the piece or the plate with choice of spice level—from a mild Hoot & Honey to the extra-hot Hoot-N-Nannie—bread (buttermilk biscuit, sweet potato roll) and two sides, with options like baked macaroni and cheese, pimiento cheese with Ritz crackers and candied yams. Desserts pull from Hall’s grandmother’s recipes, like banana pudding, while beverages rep Tennessee, from beer (Yazoo Brewing Company, Blackberry Farm Brewery) to sodas (Pure Sodaworks).
The Chicago nods at this West Village pizzeria extend to Cubs stickers on the walls, Blue Brothers posters in the restrooms and the two-inch-thick deep-dish pizzas being pulled out of the ovens. North Shore native Emmett Burke offers four versions of his hometown pie—pork sausage, pepperoni, bacon and mushroom-onion-and-pepper—as well as Italian beef sandwiches, burgers (including one stuffed with blue cheese) and pan pizza's lesser known cousin, Second City's thin-cut tavern pies.
Many of Gotham’s barbecue sanctuaries claim legitimacy via faithfulness to one specific tradition, but meat buff Hugh Mangum takes a different tack. Drawing on the Carolinas (mustard and vinegar) and Texas (dry rub), the chef melds traditions from his father and in-laws, respectively, into a self-styled “Texalina” category. In the bright former Vandaag space—now staged with white-painted brick, Edison lightbulbs and stacks of splintered logs—’cue-hounds can dig into superlative statehopping grub that upends purist ideals with gut-busting glory.
A rotating roster of Southern and New Orleanian staples has kept this tiny, bustling space packed with Yanks for 25 years. The chalkboard menu lists the go-to jambalaya, a fiery stew packed with ham, chicken and sausage, alongside more ambitious entrées, like blackened or cornmeal-fried catfish. The always-packed weekend brunch—featuring bayou eats like andouille sausage–stuffed omelettes—draws a crowd, so be warned: The wait is more Noho than Nola.
Though named for a seaside NorCal town at the end of an unmarked road with notoriously reclusive residents, this Clinton Hill restaurant is far more welcoming with a redwood-paneled bar and bright white rafters. The husband-and-wife chef team behind the Williamsburg gastropub Allswell, Nate Smith and Sophie Kamin, bring the eclectic flavors of their home state of California with seafood-centric dishes with Mexican influences like the monkfish with ancho chiles or the Asian flavor of the pork belly with fermented black bean.
Siblings Leo and Oliver Kremer left the Bay Area to teach New Yorkers a thing or two about Cal-Mex cuisine. Their tiny East Village storefront specializes in San Francisco–style burritos—California’s perversely swollen, pico de gallo–drenched wonders. Try one stuffed with rice and beans, along with your choice of protein: carne asada (meaty grilled flap steak), locally raised, brined and grilled chicken, or porky, slow-cooked carnitas. Though the burrito is the star, other menu items make for worthy detours: The griddled quesadilla is a crisp, compact parcel of meat, melted Jack cheese and vibrant guacamole.
Wood-fired cooking arrives in Clinton Hill via this Italian-inspired tavern. Watch Jean Georges vet Justin Bazdarich work the flames at the log-fueled grill and oven as he dispatches smoke-kissed pizzas, steaks and seafood from an open kitchen. The Saint Louie is a love letter to Bazdarich’s father’s hometown: cut into squares, it's smothered with tangy San Marzano tomato sauce and molten Provel—a pungent, almost-blue-cheese-like mix of provolone, cheddar, Swiss and liquid smoke, born in St. Louis. It’s blanketed with plump nuggets of anisey homemade pork sausage, crisp-edged strips of soppresata and pickled peppers.
Midwest transplants and their hipster doppelgngers can find Jucy Lucys and cans of Milwaukee's Best at Burnside, a cozy tavern that mashes up heartland sensibilities with the 'hood's trademark DIY aesthetic. Instead of Vince Lombardi murals and trophy muskies on the wall, the three owners—including Wisconsin native Tim Miller—have crafted a sort of refined barnyard, with distressed gold-and-brown wallpaper and filament bulbs hanging from upside-down chicken feeders. We wouldn't mind if they dialed up the kitsch a bit (pond hockey on the patio?), but the easygoing spot is still a fine place to post up with your crew for the evening.
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In walking distance to the Barclay Center, Brooklyn’s Bella Gioia is reminiscent of an underground eating club I once saw on an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Weathered crates lined exposed brick, adding to the European charm and open kitchen. Bella Gioia’s 5-10pm dinnertime is ideal for the after work diner. make sure to watch the clock because the kitchen stops serving at 8:45pm and is subject to change daily. Our server worked the room like a ballerina touching each table with a welcoming energy. With Italian accent in tow she pronounced everything on the menu with authenticity, making me want to reach for my Rosetta Stone. The sharable arancini ($9) was rich and flavorful enough to stand alone, only to be enhanced by the four dipping sauces and our red wine. Entrées missed the mark on flavor, texture and temperature. Ravioli de Cacocciuli ($19) served artichoke two ways, filling and fried – the subtle flavor of the filling was bumped up by the salt level of the tomato crème and the fried artichoke topper should have its own place on the menu since it was so good, however the ravioli’s pasta was thick and lacked that melt-in-your-mouth feel. Speaking of lacking, the Scallopini al Marsala ($23) lacked heat – the veal and sauce were room temperature to touch and the creamy polenta was bland. Dessert was a delicious dense chocolate cake ($10) swirled with a passion fruit drizzle. Overall, Bella Gioia has potential and great service, but can lack in final det
Venue says: “Voted as one of the top 10 best Italian restaurants in Brooklyn, we invite you to come in and truly taste the difference of Sicily.”