HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Restaurant Rivalry Road-trip! Advice needed!

Some buddies and I are doing a road trip across the country. We’ve done a couple food themed trips before, but this time we’re thinking about planning it around restaurant rivalries.

We’re definitely hitting up Pat’s and Geno’s in Philly and Anchor Bar and Duff’s in Buffalo, but we live in Jersey, so our knowledge of Food rivalries dwindles as we get farther from home.

A couple places we'd really like to hit are Southern California and Florida, but we’ll go wherever the trip takes us.

Any suggestions would be awesome!

Added bonuses:

Warm locations (we’re planning to do this fairly soon)
True rivals!! (We're not just into eating, we love meeting new people and hearing their stories. The guys from Pat's and Geno's are a riot!)



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sounds like fun. Have you found great rivalries in So Cal yet?

    2 Replies
    1. re: majorchange

      I can suggest one good one in LA: Philippe the Original and Cole's both claim to have invented the French Dip sandwich; the two places are roughly a mile apart, so it would be a simple matter to hit them both for the same (extended) meal, but then you'd either over-eat or have to forego some truly good sides. I am not familiar with Cole's, but the potato salad at Philippe is excellent, and their mustard (which they also sell) will clear up any sinus problems for the next year or two.

      1. re: Will Owen

        I thought of "Philippe's vs. Cole's" immediately, too. Although they're not too far apart, they've both in relatively unsavory areas (esp. Cole's), so I wouldn't want to make the walk after dark.

    2. Kansas City BBQ. Arthur Bryant's v. Gates. I am sure there are others that will be suggested but these are two of the originals.

      4 Replies
      1. re: red_kc

        Arthur Bryant's and Gates look great!

        Nothing in So Cal yet, but we like the area. There's gotta be some great Mexican food rivalries, no?

        1. re: Paul87

          I say the small Texas town of Lockhart, Texas where you can sample four of the best BBQ restaurants on the planet. They are Smitty's, Kreuz, Black's, and Chisolm Trail. You can also hit City Market in Luling which may be the best of all, plus you are an hour away from the San Antonio Riverwalk and great Tex-Mex, another potential rivalry between restaurants. By the way, I went to Bryant's in KC this summer, and was not impressed at all. I can't get over the electric slicer, and yes, I had the burnt ends also. They tasted like they had been sitting in the sauce too long, not a fresh taste.

          1. re: James Cristinian

            Plus one on the TX BBQ rivalry. Also, it's usually fairly warm in that part of TX. We did a BBQ trail trip, trying the brisket and sausage at City Market, Smitty's, and Kruez. We can't wait to go back and try the others....

          2. re: Paul87

            "Nothing in So Cal yet" - when I said LA, I meant Los Angeles, not Louisiana! Sorry, I keep forgetting that LA means that Gulf state to a lot of folks who don't live here...

            We have a lot of places doing similar things here, but Philippe and Cole's is the only actual rivalry that comes to mind. Except of course for the continent-wide rivalry of Katz's (NY) and Langer's (LA) when it comes to pastrami, though that's a little harder to resolve quickly...

        2. In Greater Miami/Ft Lauderdale>
          Bobby Rubino's
          Tony Roma's
          For Ribs
          Bobby started out wqorking for Tony and went out on his own

          1 Reply
          1. re: bagelman01

            For pizza, Go to New Haven and do the Pepe's vs. Sally's vs. Modern! That is a huge rivalry! Especially since they all have the same roots...

          2. I don't have any specific suggestions about rivalries, but think the themed trip sounds really fun. I'm really, really hoping that you'll let us know the results when you return.

            1. I don't know if this is a true rivalry, but in Bakersfield CA, there are several Basque places that people constantly argue over which is best. Noriega's and Woolgrowers are two that are both good, but there are others, too. As with most Basque places, bring an appetite, and knock yourselves out...there's not much else to do in Bakersfield!

              1. Down in SC, you definitely need to check out the notorious Maurice (Bessinger)'s Piggy Park in Columbia and the bbq joints owned by his less-famous brothers (and their children) in the Charleston area, Thomas, Melvin, and Robert Bessinger. Thomas's places are called Bessinger's. Melvin's are called Melvin's, and Robert's are called Robert's. This is a true sibling rivalry. All four brothers use variations of the mustard-based sauce their father, "Big Joe" Bessinger invented.

                Get ready for some culture shock and definitely try the hash, which is served over rice.

                1. here's a discussion about fish taco rivalries in Los Angeles

                  Personally I prefer Mr. Fish in La Verne, but that didn't make the cut


                  1. Come to New Orleans! It's (usually!) warm. We're in peak oyster season. We've just kicked off Mardi Gras season, and then we switch into festival season. Jazz Fest (end of April) is a Chowhound's delight, with more fabulous food choices than you could ever eat. We've got characters and we've got stories, more than most people can stand. We love characters, we love company, we love visitors. We love food, and we love visitors who love food.

                    And we've got rivalries. Just ask a bunch of New Orleanians where to get the best gumbo or oyster, shrimp, or roast beef poboy or muffuletta or char-broiled oysters or Sazerac. Or the best brunch or dive bar or waiter.

                    Acme or Felix's? Commander's or Galatoire's? Parkway or Parasol's? Mandina's or Liuzza's? August or Emeril's? Cafe du Monde or Cafe Beignet?

                    And on your way down here, you can pass through BBQ country and then hit Florida on your way back.

                    2 Replies
                    1. While not quite warm (in fact, quite cold), if you make your way up to Boston you should try out the longstanding cannoli rivalry between Mike's and Modern in the North End.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pluot

                        So many great suggestions! Keep 'em coming!

                      2. Frank Pepe's vs. Sally's in New Haven