Top 5 Cities with the Most Vibrant Food Culture, and a Surprise at Who Didn’t Make the List


A city’s culinary scene significantly influences its economic vitality and its ability to attract residents. Rankings like this one have the potential to drive investments and lure talented chefs, thereby boosting the city’s overall appeal.

In their assessment, Datassential evaluated 158 U.S. cities based on the extensive range and variety of their dining establishments and the level of interest and awareness among residents regarding a wide array of foods.

Food-Forward Thinking Brings Economic Health

golden gate bridge.
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The report from food consultancy Datassential has named San Francisco as the top “food-forward” city in the United States. While this doesn’t necessarily mean it has the best food (though many might argue that), it highlights the city’s impressive variety of cuisines, numerous emerging food trends, and a large population eager to explore new culinary experiences.

California is King – NY is Not

San Diego.San Diego.
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California cities, including somewhat unexpected choices such as San Diego and Monterey, dominated the top of the list. Notably, renowned culinary hubs like New York and Chicago did not make the top 5.

The Midwest Needs to Diversify

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Conversely, the bottom 5 were primarily located in the Midwest, with Sioux Falls, South Dakota; La Crosse, Wisconsin; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Fargo, North Dakota; and Wausau, Wisconsin trailing behind.

How Was Data Assessed

Analysis.Analysis.
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Datassential’s methodology involved tracking 1.4 million food-serving establishments in the U.S., with 680,000 of them being restaurants, and maintaining an extensive menu database. They developed a metric known as “the race to 90,” which measured how many cuisines were needed to encompass 90% of a city’s total restaurants. A city with a high number of required cuisines to reach this threshold earned a higher “food-forwardness” ranking.

Consumer Preferences Matter

two young women eating in restaurant.two young women eating in restaurant.
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For instance, Miami, ranked third on the list, required 29 cuisines to encompass 90% of its restaurants, whereas Wausau had only 11 cuisines achieving this coverage. The openness of residents to new tastes and foods, which Datassential tracked through its consumer preference program, played a significant role in the rankings. It factored in how often emerging food trends appeared in local restaurants, highlighting a city’s role in shaping new culinary movements.

Who Didn’t Make The Top of the List?

Chicago view.Chicago view.
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Some notable cities that didn’t make the top 10 included Dallas (#14), Phoenix (#16), San Antonio (#26), Chicago (#28), and Philadelphia (#38). Chicago’s lower-than-expected ranking was surprising, considering its acclaimed restaurants and chefs.

Other rankings, such as WalletHub’s 2023 list of the “best foodie cities in America” and U.S. News & World Report’s rankings, utilized different criteria and offered different perspectives on food-centric cities.

How Tastes & City Offerings Change

celebrity chef.celebrity chef.
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In recent years, cities have made significant strides in their culinary offerings, largely due to the influence of television food networks, celebrity chefs, and a spotlight on diverse cuisines. This has given rise to what Datassential’s Jack Li referred to as the “exposure effect,” a psychological phenomenon where familiarity breeds fondness, encouraging residents of diverse culinary cities to be more open to trying new foods.

What’s Coming Soon to Your City

bao.bao.
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Looking ahead, Datassential predicts that trending items and ingredients in “food-forward” cities will include lavender, bao (Chinese steamed buns), nectarines, pistou (a garlic-and-basil condiment), and mixed dessert plates, which are akin to charcuterie boards but feature a variety of sweet treats.

6 Gas Station Chains With Food So Good It’s Worth Driving Out Of Your Way For

Sheetz Store 1.Sheetz Store 1.
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We scoured the Internet to see what people had to say about gas station food. If you think the only things available are wrinkled hotdogs of indeterminate age, and day-glow slushies, we’ve got great, tasty news for you. Whether it ends up being part of a regular routine, or your only resource on a long car trip, we have the food info you need. Let’s look at 6 gas stations that folks can’t get enough of and see what they have for you to eat. Read 6 Gas Station Chains With Food So Good It’s Worth Driving Out Of Your Way For

18 of the World’s Deadliest Foods: How Many Are You Eating?

mushroom.mushroom.
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Whether you eat to live, or live to eat, let’s make sure you live to see another day! These are some of the world’s deadliest foods. They can bring on extreme symptoms, ranging from paralysis to seizures, choking and even death, so don’t go tucking these into your lunchbox. Click for 18 of the World’s Deadliest Foods: How Many Are You Eating?

10 Of The Worst Tasting Drinks People Pretend To Like

tops of soda cans.tops of soda cans.
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Hold onto your taste buds, because we’re about to embark on a flavor-filled adventure through the realm of beverages! Sure, we all need water to survive, but let’s be real – drinks are so much more than just basic hydration. Recently, the question of which beverages people secretly think taste awful sparked a fiery debate. Boozy elixirs, non-alcoholic refreshments, and everything in between were thrown into the mix. Brace yourself as we unveil the truth behind the drinks we pretend to love. Get ready for a wild ride of taste revelations! Read 10 Of The Worst Tasting Drinks People Pretend To Like

12 Of The Worst Tasting Foods People Find Disgusting

woman disgusted at food.woman disgusted at food.
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Food. We all have foods we love, foods we cannot stand – and then there are the foods that have people deeply divided. While wandering about an online forum we came across a discussion about foods that people find disgusting.

READ: 12 Of The Worst Tasting Foods People Find Disgusting

Alive or Dead? You Be The Judge… 15 Famous People Rumored To Be Alive After They Were Reported Dead

Elvis Star.Elvis Star.
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There are many celebrities who have been rumored to be alive after they were reported dead, either because of false reports, hoaxes, rumors or conspiracy theories. 

You be the judge…. Are they really alive or dead as claimed? Read: Alive or Dead? You Be The Judge… 15 Famous People Rumored To Be Alive After They Were Reported Dead

14 Of The Craziest Hacks People Use Mayonnaise For – Even In The Bedroom!

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After you click through this slide show you will never look at a jar of mayo the same way again. Trust us. Click for 14 Of The Craziest Hacks People Use Mayonnaise For – Even In The Bedroom!

Take Back Control: How to Identify and Tackle Medical Gaslighting

Graphic of doctor not listening.Graphic of doctor not listening.
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What is medical gaslighting? Medical gaslighting refers to a situation in which healthcare providers dismiss or diminish the symptoms that an individual is experiencing, attempting to persuade them that the symptoms are attributed to an alternative cause or are mere figments of their imagination. Medical gaslighting can leave you questioning your own experience. And at worse can lead to undiagnosed serious illness.

Learn the signs and the ways in which you can take back control if this happens to you. Read: Take Back Control: How to Identify and Tackle Medical Gaslighting

Don’t Fall For These 17 Foods That Pretend To Be Healthy

coconut oil.coconut oil.
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Have you heard the term “Dr. Google”? That’s when you turn to search engines and the Internet to provide health and medical information – and unless you know how to vet sources, it is a mine field of faulty information. Here are 17 foods that you might have heard are “healthy”, but we have the whole story. PS: the moment a food becomes a trend, research carefully. We’re looking at you bulletproof coffee!

Click for Don’t Fall For These 17 Foods That Pretend To Be Healthy

17 Of The Most Expensive Foods In The World: Would You Pay This Much To Eat Any Of These?

white truffle.white truffle.
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These days our food budget is not going very far, even for everyday foods. And yet, there are still those who seek out extravagant foods, regardless of price. I guess we can live vicariously through these pictures. Maybe someday someone will bestow a 4-pound white truffle upon us, but until then, this will have to suffice.

Click for 17 Of The Most Expensive Foods In The World: Would You Pay This Much To Eat Any Of These?

19 Of The World’s Most Overrated Foods

flamin' hot Cheetos.flamin' hot Cheetos.
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We have foods we love, and those we won’t touch. We all have our own likes and dislikes, but what are the most overrated foods? That was the question posed on this Reddit thread by Even_Cause_3478. There were a lot of opinions. Some made sense to us, and some were things we had never thought of before!

What is the most overrated food in your opinion?

Click for 19 Of The World’s Most Overrated Foods

Miracle at 30,000 Feet: What Happens When a Baby is Born During a Flight?

pregnant women in airport in from of departure signpregnant women in airport in from of departure sign
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Have you ever wondered What Happens If You Give Birth On a Plane? Who delivers the baby? Where do you deliver the baby? What is the child’s citizenship, and do they get free trips for life?

Is Cash Still King In Your Life? 13 Reasons People Still Carry Cash

woman holding cash.woman holding cash.
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Cash. It never used to be controversial, but these days it appears that there are those on both sides of the coin (so to speak). For those of us of a certain age we can remember our mothers always telling us to keep a $20 bill in our shoe or bra, in case of emergencies. Now many of us struggle to find a coin to put in the meter.

Cash lovers, and those who never carry it. What’s the reasoning, either way? A Redditor was thinking the same thing, and asked the question, Do You Still Carry Cash? These are the answers they got. Read Is Cash Still King In Your Life? 13 Reasons People Still Carry Cash

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