If you’re looking for the tastiest cuisine in the Midwest, you’ve landed in the right place. First of all, no one can beat Midwest barbecue ribs, whether in Kansas City or St. Louis. But, you betcha, there’s a heck of a lot more to eat here!
In fact, the Midwest is in the middle of an incredible food renaissance. Emerging young chefs are taking advantage of the unbelievably rich blend of cultures found throughout the Heartland. And combined with innovative and creative techniques, food entrepreneurs are taking the local food scene by storm. The trend is turning the Midwest into a burgeoning culinary mecca.
The Power of Street Food
If there’s one idea Midwesterners hold close to their hearts, it’s that food does not have to be overly complicated or over-the-top to be delicious. This is certainly why one of the most exciting corners of the Midwest food scene is street food.
Quick, easy, and flavorful, these outstanding dishes have become absolute hits with locals and visitors alike, allowing chefs to explore a fun and almost fantastical side of cooking.
The District in Wisconsin Dells is one of the most recommended dining destinations in the state. Their menu consists of local favorites such as the Wisko Whako. This is a beautiful burger topped with American cheese, grilled onions, and half-naked cheese curds. The Hawt Motha Cluk’er is also extremely popular with guests looking for a bit of spice.
World Street Kitchen
World Street Kitchen is a neighborhood staple in Minneapolis. These guys have grown from a beloved food truck to one of the most popular restaurants in the area. This unique destination serves up a creative global menu. Try awesome dishes like carmelized brussel sprouts, and a red curry chicken Bangkok burrito. And, don’t forget the squash and mushroom tacos with pumpkin seed salsa. World Street Kitchen will have your tastebuds dancing in no time.
Also located in Minneapolis, Spitz is a family-friendly, kid-friendly, and dog-friendly (on the patio outside) restaurant. Spitz has turned classic Mediterranean food on its head. Their menu is filled with mouthwatering delights like Berliner fries, zesty feta wraps, and an overwhelming Doner salad that’s an absolute hit with guests. They have several vegan options on the menu and also offer beer and wine from local establishments.
A Blending of Cultures
When you travel through states like Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, you are wandering through the Heartland of America that has played an essential role in forming the history and culture of the U.S. as we know it. As a result, several influential immigrant flavors make up the dishes that are now absolutely beloved throughout the Midwest.
Whether you order a plateful of aebleskivers covered in a rich local blueberry sauce or a comforting bowl of mouthwatering curried bison, you can see the significant impact of immigrants from around the world in the region’s food scene.
Chef Jonathan Brooks of Milktooth in Indianapolis is taking over the city by combining unique immigrant flavors and applying them to beloved breakfast classics. Beignets with pineapple whip and dulce de leche, as well as a tempting grilled cheese with polenta, Spanish Iberico cheese, and sunny-side-up local duck egg, are some of the most popular items on the menu.
James Beard-award-winning chef and co-owner Ann Kim, has seriously embraced the global cultural influences of the region with her restaurant Young Joni. The Korean BBQ pizza is a Minneapolis staple, and guests come from far and wide to get a taste of the renowned Sakura pork belly.
Three Brother’s Restaurant in Milwaukee is a third-generation hotspot showcasing American classics and outstanding Eastern European dishes such as stuffed grape leaves and Serbian salad. This dining destination has been hailed as a tried and true Midwestern triumph. Three Brother’s chefs prepare exquisite authentic dishes how they’re meant to be served.
The Farm-to-Table Movement
The farm-to-table movement in the Midwest isn’t as much of a new culinary idea as it is just how people have always cooked. Taking advantage of the bountiful land around them has always been important to regional chefs who have thrived by showcasing the incredible ingredients found just outside their doors.
Chef Luke Zahm of Driftless Cafe in Viroqua, Wisconsin, believes in promoting food, sustenance, and love. Their ever-changing menu focuses on freshness and seasonality and will often change depending on what local farmers can provide.
Kitchen Table in Omaha, Nebraska, hopes to make the idea of farm-to-table dining accessible to every guest. Their varied menu includes exceptional salads and snacks and world-class sandwiches like The Whole Bird, a three-cheese grilled cheese, and a wagyu beef meatloaf sandwich topped with cheddar cheese and steak sauce, all for $15 or less. An unbelievable value, this outstanding destination takes the meaning of soul food to a different level.
Joan’s in the Park
Joan’s in the Park, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, strives to provide an exceptional dining experience that originates close to home. Their bread, cheeses, sauces, and even butter are made daily in-house. And their consistently changing menu depends entirely on local purveyors. These restaurateurs prioritize their guest’s experience a priority. They ensure the best possible hospitality and service with every visit, making it a fantastic place for those extra-special occasions.
Enjoy the Tastiest Food in the Midwest
Cuisine is more than just the food you can find in an area. A region’s food scene is part of what brings communities together. It’s what makes neighbors feel like they’re part of a family and what makes visitors feel like they’ve tasted a bit of something special. Luckily, the culinary renaissance happening in the Midwest is here for the eating.
Between young world-class chefs looking to call this bountiful region home to flavors and cultural fusions being turned on their heads, the dishes coming out of the Midwest are tremendously exciting. Whether you’re a local looking to explore new and exciting restaurants in your area or a visitor hoping to find truly remarkable dining destinations during your travels, the tastiest cuisine in the Midwest is not to be missed.
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