While a few of these are hidden gems, you can rest assured they won’t be for long. As more people flock to the Southeast as a destination for food and fun, you’re going to want to beat the crowds and snag a table (or a few dozen) at some of these Southern foodie cities.
In this post, we’re going to highlight which cities are catching the attention of foodies across the country.
Grab a snack, because you’re going to be hungry after reading these!
New Orleans, Louisiana
You can’t have a conversation about food across the entire country without including New Orleans in the discussion. This bastion of southern comfort has also been home to some of the best chefs in the world throughout the years.
Commander’s Palace and Brennan’s are two classic New Orleans staples of the old guard. Many famous chefs started in these kitchens. For more casual fare, try a po’boy. Domilise’s and Guy’s are often cited as the best. For dessert, the beignets from Cafe du Monde and praline cookies from Aunt Sally’s are favorites.
Atlanta is often the foodie hot spot that comes to mind in Georgia. But, in the last few years, Athens, Atlanta’s small neighbor to the east, has been getting a lot of attention in foodie circles.
Real life Top Chef and James Beard award winner Hugh Acheson calls Athens home, and his two restaurants, 5&10 and The National have put this area on the map. For delicious Southern-style brunches, Home Made and Mama’s Boy are top picks. And if you’re a vegetarian, you don’t want to miss The Grit.
Charleston, South Carolina
Lots of people flock to Charleston because of the history, the golf (there is plenty of that in the area) and cool vibe of this coastal city. Now you can add fantastic food to the list too.
Fried food and slowly cooked sides are a staple of Southern cuisine. Few places to do it better than Bertha’s Kitchen. Barbecue is also hugely popular, and there are a few great spots here including Lewis Barbecue and Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ. And for excellent fresh seafood, look no further than 167 Raw.
There’s a lot more to Kentucky than the Derby, and that’s especially true of Lexington. This area is perhaps most famous for it’s Bourbon Trail, so if you love whiskey and a great meal, this might be your dream location.
Farm to table has become a big hit in the Bluegrass region, and Stella’s Kentucky Deli is the old standby for local food while Middle Fork and Honeywood are more recent favorites. For bourbon lovers, check out the menus at OBC Kitchen which is more upscale or the traditional Southern bites at the Elkhorn Tavern.
If these Southeastern foodie cities sound like they are right up your alley, think of them when you’re planning your next vacation!
Originally posted October 16, 2018. Edited August 2, 2021.