Sometimes referred to as “flyover country” by coastal folks, most people imaging the Midwest as an endless expanse of farmland and small towns.
That’s fair, but it’s also not the whole story.
Some of the smallest Midwest towns offer the biggest flavors for the largest appetites.
If you’re looking for something new to nosh on and want to combine it with a road-based adventure, get the car ready to roll and prepare for a few days of feasting on the road after checking out this selection of tasty destinations for the best Midwest foodie road trips.
Looking for a terrific, juicy burger and want to wash it down with an ice-cold bottle of pop? Check out Fitz’s in St. Louis, MO. The food is great (besides burgers, you can get sandwiches, wraps, and various house specials), and they bottle their own soft drinks on the premises.
Enjoy your meal in Willy Wonka surroundings. Sample every pop—Midwesterners never call it soda—from the root beer to berry pom to key lime to Cardinal Cream, an original to honor the hometown baseball team. Finish it off with an ice cream soda as big as your head!
Related Read: 5 Common Steak Myths That Are Untrue
Ishnala Supper Club
What is a supper club? It’s a Midwest phenomenon of the last century that combined a restaurant with a social club. Such places were often on the outskirts of town in states like Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa, offering tasty, high-class meals and a tasteful atmosphere at affordable prices.
Ishnala Supper Club in Lake Delton, WI, has been serving thousands of customers since 1953, offering cocktails, steaks, seafood, and more. Call to check if they’re open before stopping in; they’re only open seasonally from spring through fall!
Bobkat’s Purple Pie Place
Going to see Mount Rushmore? Then plan a stop in Custer, SD. The food at the Purple Pie Place is pretty darn good—sandwiches, chili, paninis, pot pies, and barbecue—but it’s the fruit and other pies that bring in the locals and tourists.
The Pie Place presents a rotating gallery of pies with flaky crusts and tasty fillings, accompanied by the various ice cream confections the restaurant serves, including the purple cow and orange who who. And no, that’s not a typo.
Skipping the Chicago area while considering the best Midwest foodie road trips? Forget it! While the city is known for many kinds of food, Chicagoans especially love their hot dogs—and if you don’t know it by now, you should never, ever ask for ketchup on a Chicago dog. Don’t worry; you’re not missing out if you skip the red stuff.
A Chicago hot dog is “dragged through the garden,” which means sport peppers, a pickle spear, diced white onions, tomato, sweet relish, celery salt, and yellow mustard. There are plenty of places to get a great Chicago-style hot dog in and around the Windy City, but Paradise Pup in Des Plaines, IL, keeps it real. It’s cash-only and features a walk-up counter. You’ll have to eat your meal at the picnic tables or in your car, but every bite is absolutely worth it.