The 50 Most Interesting Restaurants in America by State

 

50. Alabama – Lambert’s Cafe

When you think of down-home Southern Cooking, what comes to mind? We can almost guarantee that it doesn’t involve getting a bunch of dinner rolls chucked at your face, but that’s definitely the case at the original Lambert’s in Alabama.

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That’s not to say that the traditional cooking isn’t a good enough reason to stop by in itself, but there’s just something unique about hearing the random screams of “duck!” Here’s hoping you get a face full of roll!

49. Alaska – Totem Inn

There are some… interesting meals to be experienced in Alaska, and you’ll definitely find quite a few of those interesting meals at the Totem Inn, which does an excellent job of capturing traditional Alaskan cuisine.

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If you’ve never had the chance to try reindeer sausage or a halibut burger, this is your chance! Sure, they sound a little different, but you’re going to be wanting to move to Alaska as soon as you try the local fare. That’s a promise.

48. Arizona – The Duce

What does a boxing ring have in common with a vintage clothing store and square dancing? Well, nothing really, aside from the fact that every one of them is inside the Duce; one of the strangest hodgepodge restaurants in the entire country.

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It definitely has something to do with community involvement, as it’s the only place that seems to be packed even on one of the slower weeknights. Sometimes you just have to mix things up a bit to create something fantastic.

47. Arkansas – Dondie’s White River Princess

Is that a steam-wheeler? Nope, that’s just a restaurant on the side of the river that looks like one. Yeah, we’re not quite sure why someone didn’t just make this a dinner boat, but, hey, it’s definitely working for them, because they have a consistent group of regulars and tourists alike.

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They constantly receive rave reviews about their high-quality cuisine and unique setup. Hey, this ship won’t be sinking any time soon, but you should get on checking it out.

46. California – Opaque

Sometimes all of our senses betray us, sure, but would you be willing to eat a full meal in total darkness? If you’re willing to take the risk, there’s a restaurant for you. Not only do they serve you in complete darkness, but all of the wait staff is either blind or visually impaired.

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Who knows what you’re going to be eating, but word on the street is that it’s always going to be delicious. Sometimes you just have to ignore all of your other senses and let your taste buds do the talking.

45. Colorado – Casa Bonita

Let’s face the facts: Mexican food is just better when you get it out West. What puts Casa Bonita over all the rest, though? Well, it has a lot to do with the ridiculous amount of effort that they’ve put into the surroundings of the restaurant.

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You can expect everything from a running waterfall in a cave to strand after strand of decoration lights. Sure, you may not be eating under a real palm tree, but the fake ones will suffice. You’ll be too focused on the delicious fajitas, anyway.

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44. Connecticut – Traveler Restaurant

To be a real traveler, you have to become educated, and the Traveler Restaurant is proud to get behind your search for knowledge. Sure, you’re going to get some delicious food (try the Haddock Sandwich), but you’re also going to get free books with every meal.

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You might get some questionable reads, but, then again, who can turn down free stuff? Who knows, you might just find a new favorite?

43. Delaware – Crabby Dick’s

Now usually we wouldn’t recommend a spot if it was named Crabby Dick’s, but this spot will always be the exception. Complete with a Bimbo Lounge, Crabby Dick’s is quite the experience.

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Being located in New England means that you’re guaranteed some fresh-caught seafood every time, and the staff always has plenty of personality to them. Yes, you should grab a shirt on your way out. C’mon, who doesn’t want to brag about the time they had at Crabby Dick’s?

42. Florida – Linger Lodge

If you’re hungry for a little something off of the road less traveled, look no further than Linger Lodge. Nestled against a marsh, Linger Lodge gets you up close to some of the wildlife of Florida, and some of it may even end up on your plate.

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In fact, they’re known to have the freshest, tastiest alligator in the entire state. Now, alligator may not be the first thing you thought about eating this morning, but it’s actually pretty delicious. Plan ahead and call in some Alligator Ribs. You’ll be glad you did.

41. Georgia – The Varsity

Talk about a place with some history. For close to 90 years, The Varsity has stayed true to their values, and the results are nothing short of amazing. Not only is it old, but it’s also the largest drive-in in the entire world!

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The car hops still bring your food out in style, and they have to prepare over two miles of hot dogs every day to keep up with their never-ending base of customers who’ve had so many memories at this spot. They’ve also been owned by the Gordy family from the beginning, and still are to this day. They now have 8 locations in Georgia, but the original will always be the classic. The nostalgia is real, people. The nostalgia is real.

40. Hawaii – Hank’s Haute Dogs

Most people see Hawaii as a spot for seafood and pig roasts, but the best kept secret of the state is Hank’s Haute Dogs.

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Being a little island, far-separated from the rest of the world can be rough for foodies, but Hank’s has perfected dogs from all over the globe. Sure, you can find hot dogs elsewhere, but this little shop has some of the best in the country, and that’s pretty impressive for a spot so separated from everything else.

39. Idaho – John Berryhill’s Bacon

Bacon! Bacon everywhere! You’re not going to find many places in the world where almost every item on the menu has bacon in it, but that’s the case at this spot. Even an average BLT has more bacon on it than you’d expect, and the bacon-infused Bloody Mary is straight out of a dream.

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With eight different varieties of bacon in stock, and the ability to order a full pound of it, there’s definitely going to be some kind of bacon that you’re going to love. Who knew that bacon heaven was right in Idaho?

38. Illinois – Moto Restaurant

Gastronomy is something that few restaurants attempt to master, but Moto has done just that. Not only do they provide a full sensory experience, but their attention to detail is unmatched. Whether you get the 8 or 16-course menu is up to you, but you’re in for a treat either way.

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In the past, they’ve served their items in beakers, created little pieces of art (just look at the cute snowman above), and they even have beverage pairings that go with the menu. We’re not going to give too much away, but be prepared for a long experience, as it may take up to five hours, but the vibe of the place is comfortable.

37. Indiana – Derby Dinner Playhouse

One of the longest-running Country Dinner Theaters in the country, Derby Dinner playhouse is the perfect place to enjoy some classic entertainment while enjoying dinner. They’ve recently performed Singin’ In The Rain, and the entertainment is always up to par.

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In a world where it’s hard to find time for a lot of entertainment, it’s great to have a place like Derby Dinner Playhouse that allows you to combine both dinner and fun. Plus it’s right outside of Louisville, meaning a bourbon adventure is never too far away.

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36. Iowa – Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

Zombie Burger + Drink Lab lands a spot on this list if for nothing more than sheer creativity. Not only is the zombie themed-restaurant well-designed, but the menu has unique, delicious items that you won’t find anywhere else.

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You definitely have to give them points for originality on their menu names, as well. You’ll get to choose from items like the Undead Elvis (complete with fried bananas and peanut butter) to the Walking Ched, which is topped with a cheese bun and deep-fried macaroni. This all goes without saying that all of their burgers are organic and hormone-free. You definitely can’t miss out on their shakes, either. Go with the Tallahassee. Just do it.

35. Kansas – Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant

Who needs a wait staff when you can just have a train bring your meal to you? That’s right, all you have to do is place an order over the phone at one of the booths, and the little train will soon be pulling up with your meal attached to the caboose.

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As far as we know, this is the only restaurant like this in the world, and that alone makes stopping in here totally worth it.

34. Kentucky – Claudia Sanders

It’s a well-known fact that Kentucky Fried Chicken is one of the most recognizable pieces of Kentucky’s heritage, but the lesser-known Dinner House is a true hidden gem.

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Established with the mindset of bringing Southern Hospitality to the lives of their customers, Colonel Sanders and his wife opened this restaurant in the later stages of their lives. Although the original burned down in 1999, the legacy of this restaurant remains intact, as the same, original recipes are used today.

33. Louisiana – Royal House Oyster Bar

If you’re going to be in the Big Easy, you have to stop at an Oyster Bar. Sure, there are plenty of options, but none even come close to that of the Royal House, whose creativity and tastefulness far exceed any expectations.

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The decor is exactly what you’d imagine, and if you get the chance to eat on the balcony, you should definitely take the opportunity to do so. Definitely try the Crawfish Ravioli while you’re at it. There’s something special about eating creole food in New Orleans.

32. Maine – Hugo’s

Hugo’s just might be the finest establishment in all of Maine, and you don’t have to look too far to see why. First off, they have a brilliant chef who has an extensive knowledge of food from all over the world. Secondly, they know how to get creative with their meals.

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In case you were wondering, yes, those are edible flowers in the dish above. While we recommend going with the Smoked Swordfish Belly, the Asparagus Chawan Mushi is rare and can’t be missed when making the trip in.

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31. Maryland – Papermoon Diner

Easily the most bizarre spot on this list, Papermoon Diner has quite a few strange mannequins in the area, and they’ll give you the creeps if you’re not into that kind of thing. If you don’t mind some mannequin art, though, this place may be one of your new favorites.

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You’ll find everything from random doll heads lying around to a massive ball of mannequin bodies, but it’s actually pretty impressive when you think about it. The locals are also quite colorful, which only adds to the experience. In a world lacking in creativity, Papermoon Diner is a true oasis.

30. Massachusetts – Redbones

Some places are all about the art, and that’s certainly the case at Redbones, where some of the most incredible abstract art we’ve ever seen waits downstairs.

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You’ll see everything from pirate-themed paintings to tribal masks all over the place, but even the food is a form of art to the chefs. Redbones is well-known in the area for their ribs, and we can attest to the fact that they’re both savory and delicious, and they fall right off the bone every time.

29. Michigan – Clara’s Lansing Station

How many train stations have been made into a restaurant? We can think of one, and it even comes complete with a train for you to dine in as well.

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A lot of the original woodwork has been preserved, and you won’t get a chance to eat in a train car too often these days, so the experience is one that can’t be missed if you’re in Michigan. Make sure to take in the design of the original station. The dim lighting gives it a very homey feel, too. Making this a comfortable dining experience.

28. Minnesota – Donny Dirk’s

Just when you thought that you’d seen it all in a bar, there’s now a full-scale, zombie-themed bar to take things over the top. Everything from the cocktails to the decor is centered around zombies, and, as you can imagine, Halloween is a special time of year at this spot.

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Hundreds gather to show off their zombie costumes, and the results are impressive. You have to complete the experience by ordering a zombie cocktail. They’re loaded! Don’t worry, though, they have tasty pizza to absorb as much as you want.

27. Mississippi – Mammy’s Cupboard

Yes, people can actually fit in there, and it’s a lot bigger on the inside than it looks. This restaurant, based in Natchez, is one of the strangest designs that we’ve ever seen, but the Americana vibe is hard to beat.

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Sure, you won’t find fancy, high-class dining inside, but you’ll find many traditional eats that remind us of grandma’s cooking. Everything from pot pie to Banana Caramel Cake is served here, and you’ll always leave feeling satisfied.

26. Missouri – Cave Restaurant

Alright, you cave-dwellers, it’s time to go back to our ancestral heritage and resort to eating in a cave. Don’t worry, you won’t have to eat with your bare hands, and the food is actually cooked over a flame, so you won’t have to go back to the stone age, but there’s certainly something unique about eating in a cave.

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Candles are lit everywhere, and they flicker off the various surfaces in the cavern in a way that mystifies and intrigues. Fine dining in a cave may not seem too fun at first, but this spot has found a way to make a fantastic experience out of it.

25. Montana – Chico Hot Springs Resort

We’d be lying if we said there was a surplus of interesting restaurants in Montana, but at least you can go for a dip in a hot spring after eating at Chico Hot Springs Resort. You might as well make a weekend out of it, too.

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The Montana winters may be bitterly cold, but at least you can warm up in a spot like this, and it’s perfect after a long hike in the nearby wilderness. There’s nothing like gorging yourself on food and then floating around lazily afterwards.

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24. Nebraska – Brother Sebastian’s Steakhouse

Can a steakhouse be holy? That’s debatable, but Brother Sebastian’s definitely goes above and beyond to give you an interesting experience. Not only do you sit in pews next to stained-glass windows while you eat, but the staff dresses up in both nun and friar outfits.

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Yeah, it’s kind of strange, but definitely worth the experience. After you try one of the steaks, you may be convinced that they were blessed, too. These steaks are easily the juiciest in Nebraska. Don’t forget to load up on some wine, either, as their cellar has quite the expansive collection.

23. Nevada – Heart Attack Grill

We’re at a loss for words after seeing this spot. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes this place so interesting. Maybe it’s the fact that the waitresses dress up as sexy nurses, or maybe it’s the fact that the Quadruple Bypass Burger has close to 10,000 calories, but this is easily one of the most interesting places we’ve ever been to.

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The kicker is that if you weigh over 350 pounds, you get to eat for free. They say being chubby never pays off, but Heart Attack Grill is out to prove the world wrong. Oh, and they serve wine in IV bags. Yeah, you need to get there.

22. New Hampshire – Castle in the Clouds

It’s hard to decide what’s more impressive about Castle in the Clouds. Sure, we could point out that it has the best view in New Hampshire, but then we’d be missing the impressive architecture and the inside has a cozy feel to it, complete with a fireplace.

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With a view as impressive with this one, they don’t have to go too far out of their way with the food, but they go the extra mile, and even the Pub Burger is impressive. It’s a little out of the way, but the trip is so scenic that it won’t even matter.

21. New Jersey – Morey’s Breakfast in the Sky

The Ferris Wheel has been at amusement parks for over a century at this point, but no one has ever decided to create what Morey’s has. Instead of just letting you on for a short ride in a circle, you can actually have the option to enjoy breakfast on the thing!

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The gondola fits up to four comfortably, and the view of the ocean at the top is fantastic. Not only that, but the food is pretty phenomenal as well. Just make sure not to rock the gondola. The food won’t be as good on your lap.

20. New Mexico – Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen

The margarita’s are the main attraction at Maria’s, where you’re likely to find the best margaritas in the entire country. Sure, you may think that it’s hard to mess up margaritas, and that may be true, but it’s definitely not easy to make them as amazing as these, either.

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Not only are they high-quality, but the selection can’t be beat either. You can pick up a copy of their expansive margarita book there, but it’ll always be hard to recreate what they’ve mastered, and that’s saying something.

19. New York – Ninja

How many times in your life will you have a knife held inches from your face while you eat? Well, hopefully not many. Don’t worry, you’re not going to get stabbed, but you are guaranteed an interesting experience at Ninja, where the entire staff dresses the part.

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You can expect magic, disappearing acts, and plenty of surprises throughout your dinner, but that’s all part of the show. Whoever designed the decor in this place definitely deserves an award, because this is quite the impressive recreation for a restaurant.

18. North Carolina – Pisgah Inn

It’s no secret that North Carolina is one of the most beautiful places in the country, but few restaurants allow you take in that amazing view like the Pisgah Inn. The panoramic view at sunset is one of the most impressive sights we’ve ever had the pleasure of taking in.

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This spot definitely makes for a perfect date night, as a candle-lit dinner is sheer bliss. Afterwards, you can step outside and take in some fresh air. We definitely recommend an overnight stay. Ah, nature.

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17. North Dakota – Space Aliens

People get pretty bored in a state like North Dakota, but that’s exactly why someone decided to liven things up with this interesting spot. It’s not the bar food, the alcohol, or the arcade that makes this spot so different, it’s the fact that the whole place is themed with aliens all over the place! Not even Roswell has an alien-themed restaurant!

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Sure, it’s a little out there, but it provides a ton of entertainment once you’ve had a few drinks. Who doesn’t want to take a selfie with a rubber alien, after all?

16. Ohio – Tony Packo’s

Yeah, you may never be cool enough to sign a hot dog bun at Tony Packo’s, but at least you can admire the unbelievable collection that’s already there. Hey, whose idea was it to get people to sign a hot dog bun, anyway?

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Regardless, the result is impressive, as there’s a whole wall full of the signed, encased buns. After checking out all of the signatures, you have to chow down on some chili dogs, too. There’s a reason why this is a hot spot for the rich and famous, and it all stems back to their delicious dogs.

15. Oklahoma – Pops

So. Much. Soda. If there’s any kind of random soda you’ve been dreaming of concocting lately, have no fear, because Pop’s most likely already has it in stock. With over 600 different varieties of the stuff, there’s not much that Pop’s doesn’t have.

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Plus it’s right off of Route 66! So, whenever you get around to taking that road trip out West, you definitely need to grab a bite and try a flavor you may never get to see again!

14. Oregon – Voodoo Doughnuts

Surely it must be some form of Black Magic that gets these doughnuts to be so good! Well, maybe that’s the case, and maybe it isn’t, but these doughnuts are, without a doubt, the best in the entire country. Some of the doughnuts have delicious cereal on top, while others are loaded full of chocolate, but every one of them is beautiful in their own right.

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Not only are the doughnuts amazing, but they’re even making beer these days; some of which are based off of the doughnuts they make. Our personal favorite features hints of raspberry, pretzels, and chocolate. Yep, it’s as amazing as it sounds.

13. Pennsylvania – Conflict Kitchen

It seems like every day that the U.S. is getting involved with some kind of heated conflict around the world, but many parts of American life go unaffected by it. That’s the furthest thing from the truth at Conflict Kitchen, where the fare is constantly evolving based on the conflicts that we get involved in.

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They’ve recently featured Iranian and North Korean cuisine, and the store’s design changes to match every region. This is easily one of the most creative restaurants in the entire country.

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12. Rhode Island – The White Horse Tavern

How long has the White Horse Tavern been serving Americans? Well, before America was even an independent country. You’ll have a hard time finding a restaurant older than this anywhere in the world.

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Since 1637, White Horse Tavern has been providing drinks and food to weary travelers from all walks of life, and it’s pretty wild to consider the fact that the first Independence Day was celebrated here. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Let’s hope this spot is preserved for years to come.

11. South Carolina – The Original Benjamin’s

So, you think you like seafood? Well, you’re never going to find another seafood buffet as expansive as this one. With over 170 unique items, The Original Benjamin’s Calabash is a sight to behold.

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You’ll see plenty of the usual suspects, but you’re sure to stumble upon something you’ve never had before, too. That goes without talking about their impressive collection of model boats, too. The details of those boats are really impressive.

10. South Dakota – Wall Drug

Yep, that’s a jackalope. As you can imagine, many people get creative with their pictures when it comes to this and the other bizarre statues in the area, but it makes for a fantastic roadside oddity.

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The city of Wall is a little out of the way, but this store has grown from a small-time operation to the center of the community, and it has a lot to do with the little cafe that does things best by keeping it simple. Just a little ice cream and taking photos with the sculptures make for a great time.

9. Tennessee – Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede

Dolly Parton is definitely known for having a lot of pride in her state, and she’s not afraid to get flashy with it, either. The Dixie Stampede will not only feature world-class dining, but you also get some high-quality entertainment while you’re at it.

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You can expect impressive stunts and reenactments all the time, and the show changes on a pretty consistent basis. So, even if you’ve been before, you’re sure to notice something different every time. Pigeon Forge is one of those towns that just knows how to provide a good time, and Dixie Stampede reflects that.

8. Texas – Big Texan Steak Ranch

Sweet mother. Everyone knows that everything’s bigger in Texas, but you’ve got to be kidding us right now. At The Big Texan Steakhouse, you’ll get the chance to attempt a feat of gluttony that most would consider to be extremely impossible. Yes, you can take on a 72 oz. steak at this spot.

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Sure, you may need to take a whole bottle of aspirin to keep your arteries from clogging if you can eat the whole thing, but you may be among the elite few on the planet who can take it on. Whether you win or not, you’ll probably hate your life after taking on this challenge. Hey, at least you’ll get it for free if you make it, right?

7. Utah – The Viking Yurt

Dining at the Viking Yurt isn’t a short, simple experience. In fact, it’s all going to last you about 4 hours. First, you take a 23 minute ride 1,000 feet up the side of a mountain in a giant sleigh; taking you to over 8,000 feet in elevation.

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Afterwards, you cram into a yurt that fits only 40 guests each night. While there, you’ll get some of the finest gourmet dining in America, all while cozied up next to a wood fire. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it’s one you’ll never forget.

6. Vermont – Grafton Inn

When you want to take a step back to colonial times with your eating experience, there are few places that can compare to the Grafton Inn’s Old Tavern Restaurant. It’s been an inn since 1801, and the history shows in every one of its rooms.

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The most amazing thing to consider in this spot is the amount of people who have eaten in the same place, and how many historical figures ate there at some point. With a history like that, this place has seen a lot.

5. Virginia – Doumar’s

Traditional diners are hard to come by these days, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a select few that are keeping the history alive. There are certain things that make Doumar’s stand out, though.

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To start with, they still use the first ice cream cone machine to make their ice cream cones every day. That thing was first commissioned in 1905! Plus their shakes are incredible. You may feel like you’ve headed back in time when you walk in, and you have to respect them for keeping the tradition alive.

4. Washington – Bob’s Java Jive

Did you think this was a nice little coffee shop? Well, you’ve been misled. Sure, it looks like a cute little teapot, but Bob’s Java Jive just so happens to be one of the best bars in the area, and it’s also a hot spot for some pretty hard-rocking bands.

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Whether you want to rage the night away to some Punk Rock or just knock back some craft beer, this spot will give you what you’re looking for. Just don’t go in asking for tea. You’ll get some funny looks.

3. West Virginia – Hillbilly Hot Dogs

Yeah, that’s quite the setup, huh? You certainly won’t see this mashup anywhere outside of West Virginia. Well, maybe you will, but we can guarantee that they probably won’t be serving food. You’ll spot legs sticking out of a toilet, and plenty of other oddities, and it literally looks like a piece of hillbilly heaven out there.

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This place isn’t just about the display, though. Those weenies are delicious! They’ve been featured on lists all over the country for having some of the tastiest dogs in America, and a few bites will show you why.

2. Wisconsin – International Exports LTD. (Safe House)

Looking for a place to disappear for a while? The Safe House may be just the spot for you. While you may not be a spy, you have to appreciate the complexity of this spy-themed restaurant.

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Featuring everything from hidden passageways to plenty of cleverly placed spy-themed signs; this spot is an experience you won’t soon forget. Would it be cliché to order a Martini? Nope. You should definitely go for it.

1. Wyoming – The Granary

Sure, there might not be a truly strange restaurant in Wyoming, but with views like the one from The Granary, who needs one? Whether you’re looking for the perfect spot for a date night or just wanting to take in a beautiful view, this spot has what you’re looking for.

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This is easily the best restaurant with a view in Wyoming, and puts up a case as one of the best in the entire country. Oh, and make sure you go at sundown, because it makes the magic complete.

Know of any other interesting spots that you want to give a shout out to? Let everyone know in that comment box below!45