o you remember life without restaurants? We sure don't. It’s easy to reduce them to places where we go to grab a plate of food when we don’t feel like buying groceries or doing the dishes, but the fact of the matter is that restaurants now feel central to our existence. They’re where we celebrate the small and big moments in life: birthdays, raises, friendships. But they are also where we head during some of life’s tougher moments, when taking solace in a perfect meal is the only antidote.
So it’s not surprising that there are over 1 million restaurants across the United States today. More seem to open by the hour, taunting us with the ostensibly impossible task of keeping track of them all. In recent years, sorting the good restaurants from the great ones has become both an obsession and challenge -- one we take on proudly.
We’ve spent the past year eating through some of the county’s best new restaurants, sending our intrepid (and hungry) Senior Food Features Editor from city to city to find our first-ever Prime 13: the baker’s dozen of restaurants that we consider to be the greatest examples of America’s culinary scene right now. We’ve also been tailing the trends that diners can expect to see everywhere, and spoke with five of the most talented chefs currently helping to bring their respective cities to the forefront of the food world. And finally, our local guides are breaking down the new restaurants everyone needs to know, from Boston to Los Angeles.
If one thing has become exceptionally clear over the course of this yearlong endeavor, it is that restaurants in America are better than they have ever been before, and our collective stomachs are better for it.