There’s a new way to dine out in America, and it has nothing to do with fancy restaurants. It almost has nothing to do with restaurants. It’s all about great food in odd, incongruous, or just plain cool settings. The problem is, these places can be a little hard to find. Great news! We found them for you.
The Place That Seems Like It Doesn’t Want Your Business
To find the best catfish in Mississippi, you drive deeper into the Hill Country than seems right (the best restaurants in the South are always a little terrifying to get to) until you reach the no-stoplight town of Taylor (pop. 372). You’ll know Taylor Grocery by the crowd milling around the front porch of an old general store that looks like a set for The Road. That unlikely congregation sipping brown-bagged bourbon and waiting for tables is what tips you off: Something interesting is happening here. (The walls, blanketed in graffiti like a folk-art CBGB, reinforce the point.) As a general rule, if you see people tailgating before dinner—especially if they’ve descended upon a nondescript storefront—go see what all the fuss is about. Because they’re probably there for really good food. In Taylor, that food is catfish, which is battered in cornmeal and crisped in oil to a deep golden crunch. Order more than you think you can eat. —Nick Marino
How To Spot A Great Southern Restaurant? Look for loiterers. For Gabrielle Langholtz, who traveled to all 50 states in search of the food in her new book, America: The Cookbook (Phaidon, out October 9), the rule is: “If there is a group of people smoking outside…yes! Construction workers, farmers, and so forth, yes! That’s the place.”
Read more at GQ.