Your Hidden Secret Restaurant?

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Do you have a “Hidden Gem” eating establishment in your community?

I travel a lot, in a lot of different states, and no matter where I go, I always run into at least one person who will tell me that if I visit their county or city, I have to go to a specific restaurant, because it is a “hidden gem”; no one knows about it, they tell me, or the tourists don’t, but local residents know that it is the best.

Sure, I may have heard from travel magazines or websites about other places to go, but this hidden gem is certainly where I need to go.

I thought: hey, this has to be easy, I’ll just go to google and type in “Hidden Gem restaurants (city)” and see what turns up. Well, Google certainly doesn’t get it, as it suggested “Steak & Shake”, “Chili’s” and “Culvers”. Maybe not terrible food, but chains certainly aren’t hidden gems.

The best hidden gem restaurants I’ve found anywhere in the country certainly were hidden gems, that is to say I had a hard time finding whether or not they even existed without the help of local residents.

Small, cozy restaurants though have their own take on good food, and sometimes the food is truly incredible, enhanced by the experience. Walking into a small Missouri town to eat Indian food sitting on pull out mats placed on the floor with a table that rose maybe 18 inches off the ground — definitely unique for the small community where I found it.

A Korean BBQ restaurant in a population 600 town where the only Korean resident was the restaurant owner? I admire their bravery and really enjoyed the food.

Some restaurants off the beaten path are exclusive, expensive, invite only affairs — like El Carajo in Miami, Florida. Some of the off the beaten path restaurants though are open to anyone with cheap but incredible food, just in locations you may not often visit.

Some locations caught me by surprise, like the Bed, Breakfast and restaurant of sorts at, others you could only find with a fair drive, like the Outlaw Grill in New Mexico.

For whatever reason, I try to keep track of all of the restaurants I go to that are off the beaten path, a little bit different or just provide a unique experience that is hard to replicate. Since I love to support local business and small business, it feels good to support the local community by eating at these locations, and taking in the experience makes it even better.

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