Let's be honest: Juneau isn't just one of America's best small food cities. It's Alaska’s best, period. It could have been a contender based on seafood spot Tracy's King Crab Shack alone. That joints like The Rookery Cafe, Panhandle Provisions, the hyped In Bocca al Lupo, and fine-dining destination SALT exist in a place just as notable for smaller mom-and-pop shops, like breakfast fave GonZo, just adds more proof that even a town of 33,000 can bring a world-class touch to its food game.
Step aside, Phoenix, your little compadre Tucson has officially emerged as Arizona's top dining destination -- and I'm not just talking about the abundance of Sonoran hot dogs (though, truth be told, they're game-changers). Located in the Southwest's deep south, the Old Pueblo has long been a crossroad for many different cultures, making the city of just under half a million an ideal place to stuff your face.
James Beard Award-winning chef Janos Wilder pays homage to his city's diverse roots with his Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, where multi-ethnic cuisine is prepared with locally grown (as in, from a garden around the way) ingredients. Offering over 25 fusion-friendly tamales at any given time, Tucson Tamale Company's sunny patio also tops the list (especially after a few daytime Tecates). Serial Grillers, a semi-terrifying food truck serving sandwiches, salads, and inventively topped pizza worth facing your fears for, is a cult favorite (of course). And for a slightly more refined taste of Tucson, pop into the eclectic, family-owned Cafe à la C'Art inside the Tucson Museum of Art, book a table at the legendary, Iron Chef-led Primo at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass, or try the Coronado Hotel's timeless Coronet. Phoenix is great. But Tucson, well, that's how you rise.