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Iconic Food Places? [moved from Manhattan board]

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I want to visit the US food places that are absolutely completely associated with a particular summer travel destination. It's not that it is so much about the quality of the food, but about the chance to eat at really iconic food places.

Here are a list of some of the places I am thinking of including as an idea of what I am looking for:

Miami: Wolfie's Rascal House

New York, Coney Island: Nathan's
New York, Tavern on the Green

SF, Fisherman's Wharf: Alioto's

Please share your favorites from around the world...



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  1. For NYC, IMO think Lower East Side (LES). Do a search, there are posts. Also consider RGR's food tour of the LES. Also do a search re: Tavern on the Green. I have never been, but there is a recent post that suggests you may want to avoid it.

    Lundy's in Brooklyn has closed. Now that is a summer place. Randazzo's?

    1. One of the most iconic restaurants in NYC IMHO is The Odeon. It was on the cover of Bright Lights, Big City and personifies that mid-80's Wall-Street, Master-of-the-Universe thing (realizing the I am mixing my literary references). They also serve a mean brunch.

      In my current city, Denver, it would have to be The Buckhorn Exchange: http://www.buckhorn.com/main.htm

      1 Reply
      1. re: Megiac

        I find it really hard to think of the Odeon in the terms you describe, but I guess I'd need to agree with you. It's a really funny description of the place to me because I still remember eating at the Odeon as a child.

        Back then it was a depression era cafeteria, likely designed by unemployed artists/artisans under the WPA. They served a mean vegetable cream cheese on a bagel. These were quite a few of these places still around in the 50s/60s. They were grand establishments with (usually) very good Jewish-style food, but few survived the wrecker's ball in any form. I'm glad the the Odeon is still open.

      2. Chicago - Super dawg and Chicago style pizza
        Nola for the muffleta, poorboys and benigets.

        1. Chigago, IL: Garrett's Popcorn Shop - Order the CaramelCrisp® & CheeseCorn™ mix

          1. Rascal House was sold to a big corporation with a bad reputation and either has closed or soon will, which is really sad. It was one of the best delis anywhere for decades.

            The other iconic place in Miami Beach is Joe's Stone Crab. Only you can decide whether eating there is worth the typical long wait.

            In New York, the Coney Island Nathan's is an experience. I don't know whether the food is any different from Nathan's franchises everywhere, but the setting is iconic (and also very tacky). Have the fantastic hot dogs and fries. Nothing else is worth eating.

            Tavern on the Green is (a) a spectacular setting; (b) an iconic restaurant; (c) a tourist trap. You have been warned.

            Also in New York: Katz's Deli on East Houston St for pastrami; Junior's (tha Downtown Brooklyn location) for rare burgers and plain cheesecake; Peter Luger in Brooklyn for Porterhouse steak; Rainbow Room for dressing-up & dancing with a view. Try Zabar's on Broadway around 82 St. It's takeout (have a picnic on Riverside Drive), but it is a quintessential New York foodie experience - Try the excellent freshly sliced smoked fish and other "appetizing" goodies - avoid anything "gourmet". Sammy's Roumanian is expensive and tacky and will probably give you heartburn, but it's a glimpse at a New York way of eating that is almost dead. Go to City Island off the Bronx and you won't believe you are in New York City. There are several seafood places, though I don't think there is any local seafood any more. However, the setting is worth it.

            1. The golden North Shore of Massachusetts: Clamshack Alley - MA Route 133 from Essex through Ipswich into Rowley. Includes the immortal Clam Box (Ipswich - great for big-bellied fried clams but infernal lines), Farnham's, Essex Seafood and Woodman's (all in Essex - the last being best known to tourists as the inventor of fried clams and for a variety of reasons often rated by locals lower), Village Restaurant (Ipswich), Agawam Diner (Rowley - well known in roadfood guides) et cet. A fried seafood crawl up this few miles is a genuine summertime hound adventure. And the surrounding country & shoreside and villages are delightful. And the lovely old ports of Gloucester (GLOS-ter) /Rockport and Newburyport (NYOO-bry-port) anchor the ends of the this lovely route.

              Alternatively, find a rich friend who owns beachfront land and can host a genuine clambake (avoiding late July-early August, greenhead fly season over two lower-tide quarter-moon cycles).

              In Boston, it would be Durgin Park at Quincy (QUIN-zy) Market - the fabled Yankee prime rib is a bargain, and the Indian pudding is an iconic dessert, all since the 1820s. If you want to start with raw oysters, you can do that at the even older Union Oyster House around the block (stick to the oyster bar, though). At the higher end, it would be Locke-Ober, the iconic Boston fine restaurant for generations though not the best restaurant in the city, still a uniquely lovely room (with wonderful private rooms upstairs for a dear price) successfully rejuvenated by Lydia Shire.

              1. All of my iconic places in NYC are gone: Luchow's, automats, Windows on the World. Here are some you'd never think of: Tad's: cheapo meals, brusque service, rowdy NY Times Square crowds. Glacken's Bar in the South Bronx, limited food, $5 drinks with 5 ounces of liquor, rowdy and totally diverse crowds.

                For iconic food places in Tulsa OK, here's my post on Tulsa classics:

                1 Reply
                1. re: Brian S

                  Ah Tad's. I had many a lunch there when I was in high school. A steak dinner was about a buck, but I don't think I could stomach the yellow-fat rimmed, tenderized meat today. What do they serve now?