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The famed Berghoff Restaurant in Chicago

California, Georgia, Illinois, New York

Ask a Chef: Emeril Lagasse’s Favorite Restaurants in the USA

By: James Beard Foundation

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  • States:
    California
    Georgia
    Illinois
    New York

Let internationally known Chef Emeril Lagasse help plan your culinary itinerary.

Known for his eclectic take on New Orleans-style Creole cuisine, the James Beard award-winning chef shares his favorite iconic food establishments that have helped shape the country’s culinary landscape. Below are a few of his favorite places to eat in the USA.

1. The Berghoff Restaurant

Located at the heart of Chicago, Illinois, just a few blocks from famous sites like the Willis Tower and Millennium Park, The Berghoff Restaurant serves up hearty German cuisine that is sure to make your mouth water. “This German restaurant is home to the best corned beef Reuben and apple strudel in Chicago,” Lagasse said. “And amazing schnitzel, too!”

James Beard award-winning Chef Emeril Lagasse

James Beard award-winning Chef Emeril Lagasse
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2. Apple Pan

If you’ve come to the USA in search of the perfect burger, you’ll find it at the Apple Pan, a humble, diner-style restaurant west of downtown Los Angeles, California. “This L.A. hamburger joint is known for its tasty hickory burger and steak burger,” Lagasse said.

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3. Busy Bee Cafe

When it comes to flavors of the Southeast, Lagasse couldn’t get enough of the delicious fare at the Busy Bee Cafe, which has been serving local favorites like barbecue spare ribs and fried chicken in Atlanta, Georgia, since 1947. “Oh baby, the Southern and soul food favorites at Busy Bee Cafe will make anyone want more,” Lagasse said. “From meat loaf and pork chops to the Joe Lewis Ham Hock and Ol’ Fashioned Banana Puddin,’ these guys know what they are doing.”

Fried chicken among Southern and soul food favorites served at Busy Bee Cafe

Fried chicken among Southern and soul food favorites served at Busy Bee Cafe
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4. Swan Oyster Depot

Hungry San Franciscans line up around the block to get their hands on the fresh seafood served at the Swan Oyster Depot in central San Francisco, California. “The Swan has a seafood-only menu, consisting mostly of fresh fish straight from the ocean,” Lagasse explained. “Its oysters are out of this world – the most popular are the Miyagi and Kumamoto.”

Juicy oysters found in San Francisco

Juicy oysters found in San Francisco
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5. Il Vagabondo

Il Vagabondo on the East Side of New York City, New York, has been satisfying New Yorkers’ cravings for Italian food for decades. “This is where you go in NYC for authentic Northern Italian food,” Lagasse said. “I loved the veal Parm and gnocchi.”

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