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Best Summer Iconic Food Places?


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 Washington DC, I'd say Ben's Chili Bowl firstly. Second I'd say Old Ebbitt Grill which is so very DC and has had many a political repartee over the many years. And because you said summer, I'm going to go out there and say the roof terrace at the Hotel Washington because you overlook all that IS iconic about DC: the monuments. For OK drinks and not for the food, it's breathtaking.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monavano

      And just because it would have been near the top of my list were it not for the fire, Market Lunch at Eastern Market in the Capitol Hill area. The bluebucks (blueberry buckwheat pancakes) are iconic and the place beloved. I've met folks from far and wide while waiting in the inevitable line at Market Lunch. Eastern Market was severely damaged by fire 3 weeks ago, and the vendors will be temporarily housed in a transitional structure nearby. It may not be up and running by the time you visit unfortunately. Just thought you should know about it for completeness.

    2. I would add Faidley's in Baltimore for crabcakes and if you happen to be in Philadelphia, the Reading Terminal Market. Though Philadelphia is known for their cheesesteaks, several Philly hounds pointed me to DaNics in the RTM for a pork sandwich. Amazing.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rHairing

        Steamed blue crabs at Cantler's in Annapolis, MD.

      2. The Old Angler's Inn in Potomac, MD, a scenic car trip from DC has a beautiful patio, and a chef making his return to the kitchen he once worked at.


        1. the carnegie deli---nyc
          reds eats---wiscasset,me
          clam shack---kennbunkport,me
          rutt's hut,clifton,nj
          pinks(hot dogs),la,ca
          joe's stone crabs,miami
          thrasher's french fries,boardwalk,ocean city,md
          the lobster pound,ogunquit beach,me

          3 Replies
          1. re: salad man

            Salad Man:

            This is the most awesome list. Thank you for your help! Sam

            1. re: sierraandi

              glad to be of help.an afterthought; the whitehouse (the italian cold cut special) in atlantic city

              totonnos pizza--coney island

              1. re: salad man

                Regarding Joe's, stone crab claws aren't available during the summer. I think their season in mid-October to mid-May.

          2. Tadich Gril - San Francisco - the oldest restaurant in town w/really great food and atmosphere

            1. Oddly iconic, briefly lived, torn down and replaced by something else: the McDonald's on Tianamen Square.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                I would recommend hoisting a dozen oysters at the old mill building of A.W. Shucks in Charleston, S.C., over which hangs the Gadsden Flag with the revolutionary motto "don't tread on me", which has an eerie parallel to Tianenmen Square.

              2. Ughh Tavern on the Green is a relic of a bygone era. The food is not very good anymore.
                Shake Shack in Madison Square Park has recently become a new summer food destination.

                3 Replies
                1. re: HungryRubia

                  A second vote for Shake Shack in NYC. And also for Ted Drew's in St. Louis, which was Danny Meyer's impetus for the Shake Shack shakes.

                  1. re: Chef D Quizzing

                    I have a feeling lines at the Shake Shack are going to grow from long to impossible. I had never heard of it, but in the past couple of weeks it has been featured on two television shows and has garnered multiple mentions on here. I bet the management is loving it.

                    1. re: Chef D Quizzing

                      Definitely Ted Drewes in St Louis - The best concretes bar none - nothing like it on a hot muggy day

                  2. Rehoboth Beach, DE - Thrasher's Fries, Nic-O-Boli and a van/choc twist custard with chocolate jimmies from Kohr Bros. (Kohr Bros and Thrasher's can also be found on the Boardwalk in OC, Maryland).

                    1. IMO...avoid Aliotos..not good food served bruskly...Tavern on the Green...completely over-rated...

                      1. Chicago: Mario's Italian Ice stand on Taylor street

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: chigirl71

                          Sadly, Jay Leno has made Al's Beef famous. But Johnny's is far better. Located in Elmood Park on North Avenue.

                          Another Chicago icon is the Pump Room at the Ambassador East Hotel.

                          And Unos Pizza. Although Lou Malnattis is the best of the bunch - Unos seems to get all the love.

                          1. re: bryan

                            Sorry, missed the summer request.

                        2. In Baltimore, besides the many crab places that there are often disagreements about, I would say getting a 'snowball' or 'snoball' on just about every other corner in the city.

                          Not so much summer, but in May, there's the Flower Mart in Baltimore, and the most iconic food is the lemon peppermint stick. (A half lemon, where you suck out the juices by using a special peppermint stick!)

                          I would agree about Thrasher's fries in Ocean City. And, Grotto's pizza at the Delaware beaches.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: baltoellen

                            Although Grotto's is iconic, it is way overpriced and not that good.
                            Louie's is better for pizza in Rehoboth, IMO.

                            1. re: QueenB

                              Will have to try Louie's next time. I think Grotto's cheese is so unexpectedly good!

                              1. re: baltoellen

                                Louie's is a different style of pizza than Grotto. I guess I just never could accept paying 15 dollars for pizza.

                                1. re: QueenB

                                  Doesn't anybody like Nicola's pizza? Better than Grotto, and good enough that I haven't bothered to try Louie's.

                              2. re: QueenB

                                But Grotto's is packed and there must be three or four of them in Rehobeth alone. It is a great place to take a bunch of young kids, they love the pizza and nobody cares how noisy they are there.

                                1. re: dinwiddie

                                  Yep, understand that it's packed. I still don't think it's the best pizza in Rehobo, especially for the exorbitant price. My opinion only, of course.
                                  If you like it, and don't mind paying that much, more power to you. Like I said, it's definitely iconic.

                            2. In L.A., rent a convertible, pick up an In N' Out Double Double and eat it in the car, preferably parked somewhere in Malibu. Or go to the Santa Monica Pier and get a Hotdog on a Stick and some lemonade.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                Maruca's pizza on the Boardwalk in Seaside Park, NJ. I think they've been there at least 50 years. Not the BEST pizza in the area (for that, go to Lenny's in Lavalette), but good, and the carnival atmosphere and smell of the ocean on the Boardwalk makes it fun. For dessert, there is a Kohr's Frozen Custard also on the Boardwalk

                              2. new haven, ct has two destinations:
                                1). frank pepe's pizzeria napoletana - maybe the best pie in the states.
                                2). louis' lunch - where the hamburger was invented. no ketchup, no mustard. don't ask.

                                new orleans has many candidates. here are two:
                                1). galatoire's. it's been around since 1905. still run by the same family. bring jacket/tie.
                                2). central grocery - because a muffuletta is a thing of beauty.

                                manhattan has too many candidates but here are two:
                                1). king cole bar at the st. regis. order the bloody mary (red snapper).
                                2). pool room at windows on the world. bring your black amex card.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: steve h.

                                  Abbott's in Noank CT for a lobster roll.

                                  1. re: Friend of Bill

                                    kitchen little in mystic, ct for breakfast. get the portuguese fisherman's special.