Fast Food Nation? The Most Popular Cuisine in Every State

May 29, 2018

Throughout the US, regional specialties abound: New York is known for its pizza, Texas for its barbeque, and Maine for its seafood. We wondered exactly which cuisines were really the most popular in every state around the nation. So, we looked at mobile consumer attendances in more than 200 different restaurant categories – ranging from Argentinian Steakhouse to Vegan Restaurant – to find out. Here’s what we discovered:

Fast Food Nation? The Most Popular Cuisine In Every State

Alaska was the only state in the U.S. where ‘Barbeque’ restaurants received more visits than any other category. What about states known for their barbeque, like North Carolina and Kansas? Barbeque was the 2nd most popular cuisine in both North Carolina and Hawaii. In Kansas and Texas, barbeque came in at #5 and #8, respectively.

Barbeque Chart

‘American’ restaurants are the most popular among diners in just four states – Colorado, New Hampshire, Michigan and Minnesota – plus the District of Columbia. A bit more upscale than other cuisines on the list, American restaurants combine local specialties with international inspiration in a style all their own.

American Chart

Pizza often tops the list of Americans’ favorite foods, but we didn’t expect pizza’s biggest fans to live in the Midwest: ‘Pizza parlors’ were the most-visited restaurant category in Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. Pizza restaurants were also the top choice in Maine, but in Northeast states known for their pizza – like New Jersey and New York – ‘Pizza Parlors’ were runners-up.

Pizza Parlor Chart
Fast Food

In the South, ‘Fast Food – Burgers’ was the most popular restaurant category overall, and fast food of any type was the most popular choice in 10 of 16 Southern states. Note that North Carolina was the only state to have ‘Fast Food – Chicken’ as its most popular fare. ‘Fast Food’ is also the favorite in Western states like Arizona and Idaho – but it wasn’t the top choice for any state in the Northeast.

Fast Food Chart
Family Style

The most popular restaurant style in the US is ‘Family Style’: it’s the top choice in 19 states, representing every region. Yet ‘Family Style’ is especially popular in the Northeast, with 7 of 9 states – including Massachusetts and Pennsylvania – having the highest number of consumer attendances in this category. These fast-casual dining establishments are characterized by quick service and inexpensive fare.

Family Style Chart

What do we know about US restaurant preferences, overall? Americans are all about casual dining: from pizza to fast food to family style restaurants, attendance data shows that US consumers most often choose to dine out in relaxed style, at nominal cost.

Most Popular Restaurants Chart

View the most popular restaurant category in every state, below.

Fast Food Nation U.S. Map

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