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The Best Fort Lauderdale Restaurants

The LocalEats onslaught of the state of Florida continues (previously we covered Tampa-St Petersburg), as we've revised and expanded our list of the best locally-owned Fort Lauderdale-area restaurants. In other news, the James Beard Foundation announced its  chef and restaurant semifinalists for 2012. Among Fort Lauderdale-area restaurants and chefs receiving nominations were Clay Conley from Buccan in Palm Beach (Best Chef: South) and Café Boulud (Best Service: National). Fantastic local restaurant we've added to our Top 100 list include ...

15th Street Fisheries


Café Boulud

D'Angelo Pizza Wine Bar and Tapas


Egg & You Diner


The Grateful Palate

Le Patio

Market 17

Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House

Rok Brgr


Sunrise Pita & Grill



Fort -lauderdale -500

The Best Local Tampa-St. Petersburg Restaurants

We've revised, updated and expanded our list of the best restaurants in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. Award-winning restaurants new to our Top 100 list include Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club (Best Gastropub), The Lobster Pot (Best Lobster), The Independent Bar and Grill (Best Burgers), The Refinery (Best Farm to Table) Taco Bus (Best Late-night), TC Choy's Asian Bistro (Best Dim Sum) and Cafe Largo (Best French).

Other great locally owned restaurants added to the list include 220 East, Alesia, Bernini, Columbia Cafe, Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe, Habana Cafe, La Tropicana Cafe, The Laughing Cat Bistro, Queenshead Eurobar, Maritana Grill, Parkshore Grill, The Pearl, Red Mesa Cantina, Restaurant BT, Sunday's Fine Dining, Walt'z Fish Shak. and Wood Fired Pizza Wine Bar

In addition to hand-selecting the country's best independently owned restaurants, we also like to highlight the best food and dining restaurant blogs. The new additions to our blog family from the Tampa-St. Petersburg area are Lekas Eats, Carlos Eats, Dena Loves Food, Scallywag Journeys Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Food Monster, and Taylor Eason

Tampa _01

Pee-Wee Herman on Bravo's Top Chef + 5 Great Moments in the Kitchen with Pee-Wee

Last night, Pee-Wee Herman, aka Paul Reubens, left the confines of the Playhouse and Puppetland to be a celebrity judge on Bravo's Top Chef - when your furniture won't stop talking and Laurence Fishburne keeps showing up at your door unannounced, you need a break once in awhile. Apparently, it's the first time Reubens has returned to San Antonio since filming the cult classic Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. He even pays another visit to the Alamo, which everybody knows, has no basement. Padma Lakshi interviews Pee-Wee and asks if he has any advice for the contestants. His Paula Deenesque response: "More butter." Pee-Wee samples an assortment of pancakes and judges chicken dishes from the contestants, proving to be a surprisingly tough critic. The secret word(s) is chicken skin (aaaah!). It's hardly shocking that Pee-Wee is a man of refined tastes. Anyone who's kept up with his show is familiar with his snack time segments and kitchen-related hijinks. In honor of his Top Chef appearance, I give you 5 of Pee-Wee's most memorable moments in the kitchen. First up, Pee-Wee declares his love for fruit salad. The Playhouse gang expectedly responds "so why don't you marry it?" And then we have our astonishing plot twist, as Pee-Wee agrees to marry the fruit salad.

And here we have Pee-Wee making ice cream soup for snack time. Randy does his usual jerkface routine of trying to ruin everything, but in the end it all works out. Plus, we learn a valuable cooking lesson about balancing ingredient ratios.

In Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, our protagonist starts his day with pancakes, bacon and eggs in the form of a face (so that he can make it talk with bacon lips, naturally). But the culinary delight is not complete until a large serving of Mr. T Cereal is poured on top. (Start at 3:30)

The best meals start with the best ingredients. Here we have Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne) opening the fridge to a variety of foods doing Pee-Wee's signature "Tequila" dance. Vegetarians might struggle in Puppetland, where every food has a face.

And finally, from The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway, we have Pee-Wee deep-fat frying some onion rings. We all learn how dangerous deep-fat frying can be, thanks to a horrifying accident involving a new character. Alas, Shamwow, we hardly knew ye. 

The Best Indianapolis Restaurants: Super Bowl Edition

With Super Bowl XLVI just around the corner, we've revised and expanded our list of the best locally-owned Indianapolis restaurants. While it remains unclear whether the New Jersey Giants or the Patriots of the greater Boston area will prevail on the gridiron, Super Bowl attendees will no doubt require sustenance before the big game. And they need not settle for fast food chicken wings or mediocre burgers at a chain restaurant thats walls are covered with sunglasses-wearing jackalopes and other kitschy crap. There are plenty of great locally-owned restaurants near Lucas Oil Stadium from which to choose. 

New additions to our Top 100 Indianapolis restaurants include The Ball & Biscuit, Black Market, Bynam's Steakhouse, Charlie Brown's Pancake and Steak House, Edwards Drive-In, The Friendly Tavern, Historic Steer-In, The Libertine Liquor Bar, Murphy's Steakhouse, Mesh, The Northside Social, Oriental Inn, Ralph's Great Divide, The Ripple Inn, Sensu, Tavern on South

In addition to listing the best local restaurants, we also collect the country's best food and dining blogs. New Indianapolis additions to our blog family include City Nom Noms, FloEats Indy and the Indianapolis Restaurant Scene blog, which compiled an excellent Super Bowl restaurant guide

Eli Manning

Go with a LocalEats restaurant, or else risk making the "Manning face" at the table.

Updated: The Best Raleigh-Durham Restaurants

When we envision the Raleigh-Durham area, we think of lush rolling hills, tobacco fields, rampant college basketball fanaticism, Cheerwine out of the bottle, and of course, fantastic Carolina cuisine. Some of the country's best barbecue and Southern cooking can be found at the likes of iconic restaurants such as Clyde Cooper's and Mama Dip's. The region is also producing some of America's most dynamic and well-regarded chefs, including Andrea Reusing of Chapel Hill's Lantern (winner of the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: Southeast in 2011), and Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner in Raleigh, who recently threw down with Bobbly Flay on Iron Chef. Christensen just recently opened two adjoining casual Raleigh restaurants,  Beasley's Chicken and Honey and Chuck's. We've revised and updated our list of the Top 100 Raleigh-Durham restaurants.

Among the new additions to our list are Acme Food & Beverage Co., An, Bella Mia, Blu Seafood and Bar, Coquette, Federal, Kitchen, Glasshalffull, Mez, Mint, Neal's Deli, Queen of Sheba and Revolution


Chicago's Best Restaurants

We've updated and revised our list of the best locally owned restaurants in the Windy City and the greater Chicagoland area. Offering everything from Italian beef, hefty hot dogs and decadent deep dish pizza to fantastic Greek fare, innovative Mexican food and trendsetting contemporary cuisine at some of the country's most recognized restaurants, Chicago is not a city for feeble appetites. But there are few places in the world we'd rather go to put on ten layers before putting on ten pounds in a weekend.  

The latest additions to our Top 100 list include Girl & the Goat, GT Fish & Oyster, Longman and EagleMaude's Liquor Bar, Piece Brewery & Pizzeria, Purple Pig, Ria, Ruxbin, Sprout, and Takashi. We've also added another 40 restaurants in the city and suburbs and designated them as local favorites. 

Chicago City

Just Eat it: 8 Great Songs about Restaurants and Food

Our favorite artists and musicians draw inspiration from all over: childhood memories, heartbreak, the plight of the angry suburban teenager, et al. But some artists aren't shy about singing about what's literally fueling them: food. Here's a heapin' handful of songs about food and restaurants.


Hank Williams is powerless to resist the temptation of Cajun food, "big fun" and the general debauchery of the Bayou. Who among us can stand in judgment? 

"Alice's Restaurant"

Arlo Guthrie's 18-minute epic protest song is a Thanksgiving tradition on many radio stations. The monologue describes a real-life incident in which Guthrie was arrested for littering on Thanksgiving Day and is subsequently turned down by the draft board for his criminal record and attitude. Guthrie offers the following advice if you find yourself in this sort of situation: Demand to see the shrink and say, "You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant." Then walk out. 

"My Bologna"

"Weird Al" Yankovic could perform a 2-hour set of songs about food alone and still likely have material left over. Often self-deprecating about how heavily he relied upon food early in his career, Weird Al scored big hits with the likes of "Eat it", "Fat", "I Love Rocky Road" and "Lasagna." In a recent interview, Al mentioned that he failed to clear the rights to a parody of Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die" -- wait for it ... "Chicken Pot Pie." McCartney, an outspoken vegetarian, couldn't let it slide, though apparently he was quite cordial on the matter and offered any of his other material up for parody. 

"Tom's Diner"

Suzanne Vega sings about the first real eatery on our list, Tom's Restaurant, a Brooklyn classic. Between choruses of "do-do-do-do", she describes a particularly eventful day consisting of reading her horoscope, drinking coffee and creepily watching other patrons and people out the window. Rest assured at the real Tom's Restaurant, the man behind the counter will never fill your coffee "only half-way" and gaze out the window before you can argue. 

"She Don't Use Jelly"

Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips apparently knows some eccentric people. One friend wipes his nose with magazines, and a girl who reminds him of Cher often changes the color of her hair with tangerines. But the manic pixie dream girl whom the song is titled after has some strange dietary habits. She's kindly enough to make you breakfast, but you'd better be prepared for Vaseline on your toast.


Beck has his fair share of songs about food, from "Satan Gave Me a Taco" to "Peaches and Cream." In Debra, Beck drops a memorable restaurant reference while singing about romancing an employee of JC Penney with an afternoon in Glendale: "Like a fruit that's ripe for the pickin'/I wouldn't do you like that, Zankou Chicken." Zankou, of course, being a small chain of Armenian eateries in LA specializing in delicious rotisserie chicken with a tangy garlic sauce. 

"Magic Chicken"

Keeping with the fast food chicken theme, The Aquabats sing about a lifetime of fried chicken addiction. Be it Roscoe's, Popeye's or Golden Basket, these ska-punk super heroes ladle on the gravy. In an ill-advised rap/dance breakdown, they encourage the audience to "do the popcorn chicken/do the KFC/do the buffalo wing."


"Bread and Butter"

The Newbeats smash hit of 1964, "Bread and Butter" tells the tale of a man with fairly simple tastes, and the woman who loves him enough to accommodate them. That is, until she runs off with a man willing to eat more than just two things. 

Charleston's Best Restaurants

From unparalleled white tablecloth low country cuisine to fried seafood shacks and beachside burger joints, Charleston, SC is one of the country's hottest dining destinations. For your consideration, here is our revised and updated list of Charleston's best restaurants. Just try to avoid completely succumbing to the vortex of southern charm and dining bliss on your next visit -- the amount of restaurants and bars per capita in Chucktown can wreak havoc on waistlines and livers alike.

New Top 100 additions to our list include Glass Onion, Husk, Closed for Business and Bursa Tapas, Lounge & Bar. Other new local favorites include Atlanticville, Cork Neighborhood Bistro, Ernie's, The Gin Joint, Graze, The Macintosh, Three Little Birds Cafe, Tomato Shed Cafe, Triangle Char & Bar, Wild Olive and Woodlands Dining Room.

Whole Fish

Fried whole tilapia from Dave's Seafood Carry-O ut

Food Pics 028

The Old Village Post House, home to one of Charleston's most definitive renditions of shrimp and grits. 

TV Dinner: 7 Great Television Restaurants

Apparently fictional characters get hungry, too. More importantly, television shows often need a central, non-domestic location where the cast gathers to hatch zany schemes, discuss relationships and even perform ill-advised musical numbers. And seeing as multiple sets for multiple restaurants could get expensive, shows tend to have their characters frequent one particular coffee shop or restaurant. Though not a comprehensive list, here's a few of the most memorable restaurants on TV. 

The Peach Pit, Beverly Hills 90210: Perhaps the most malleable restaurant in TV history, The Peach Pit serves many purposes for the students of West Beverly High (and the writers of the show). It's an employer for those saving up for a '65 Mustang, an after school hangout for gossiping over a milkshake, and even a suddenly quiet spot for a late-night study session -- don't stay too late Brenda: it's a sketchy neighborhood. And as the cast matures, they suddenly uncover an abandoned warehouse behind the Peach Pit, which becomes The Peach Pit After Dark, a club-like venue where the characters participate in more adult-themed dramatics. Unfortunately there's a stage for the showcasing of Brian Austin Green's musical "talents." We'll opt for the sweet harmony of Color Me Badd instead. 

Arnold's, Happy Days: For all of the time Richie Cunningham and the gang spent at Arnold's, the diner's burger and shakes deserve Smithsonian status as much as Fonzie's jacket. Before Fonzie and Happy Days made history by Jumping the Shark, Arnold's provides the parking lot where he jumps 14 garbage cans before wiping out a short-lived Arnold's Fried Chicken stand. 

Monk's Diner, Seinfeld: Second to Jerry's apartment, Monk's (referred to simply as "the coffee shop") is the most frequented locale for the show about nothing's cast members to "pore over the excruciating minutia of every single daily event." Menu staples include some of the city's best pie (some refuse to even try it) and an unparalleled "big salad," the likes of which cannot be found at the coffee shop's bizarre-o counterpart, Reggie's. Various schemes, breakups and life-changing decisions occur in these booths, one in particular predicated on a switch from tuna on toast to chicken salad on rye. 

The Olympia Restaurant, Saturday Night Live: SNL has given us a lots of restaurant and food-related fodder to chew on over the years, from Samurai Delicatessen to Hub's Gyro's (you like-a the jus??) and even the "awesome" Taco Town 15-flavor, deep-fried, tortilla-crepe-pizza-pancake-wrapped taco. Taking the cake is the famed "Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger" sketch. Patrons of the Olympia Restaurant will not be receiving breakfast foods, fries, tuna and certainly not Coke (No Coke. Pepsi!)

Central Perk, Friends: An inevitability on lists such as these, Central Perk is an integral part of one of the most watched shows of all time. You'd think such a diverse group of friends would want to experience all the restaurants and nightlife the Big Apple has to offer, but rather these 6 people opt to spend their lives mostly between two apartments and one coffee shop. Are we to believe they are really this vapid, or should we just acknowledge that the show was shot in Los Angeles, rendering outside excursions expensive and inconvenient? Central Perk manager Gunther -- a fan favorite -- supposedly landed this role when he was the only extra on set that could operate the real espresso machine. You never know when those barista skills will come in handy. 

Bob's Burgers, Bob's Burgers: A relative newcomer, Bob's Burgers offers a hilarious look into the world of an independent, family-owned-and-operated burger joint. Bob's wife and three deranged kids serve as employees. Keep an eye out for the oft-changing chalkboard burger specials, bearing titles such as The Roquefort Files Burger, Last of the Mo-Jicama, and the Poblano Picasso Burger. 

Elzar's Fine Cuisine, Futurama: Pretty much a dead-ringer for Emeril Lagasse -- except purple and four-armed -- Elzar is a triple threat as a TV chef, restaurateur, and author of Cooking Slugs for Dinner and Cooking Dinner for Slugs. His go-to move? Knocking it up a notch with his trusty spice-weasel. BAM! 

LA Weekly Releases Jonathan Gold's 99 Essential L.A. Restaurants

LA Weekly's Jonathan Gold has announced his list of the 99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011. Gold, the first food writer to win a Pulitzer for criticism, has acquired legions of fans and immeasurable influence as he seemingly leaves no corridor of Los Angeles dining unexplored. Few critics are as adept at appreciating the merits of the highest and the humblest cuisines. And he's clearly not afraid of ingesting just about anything, say, lethally spicy fried corn turnovers with black corn fungus or  live octopus at a Korean seafood restaurant. Here's a sampling of the restaurants new to the list this year.


Antojitos Carmen

Bottega Louie


Dae Bok


Fab Hot Dogs



Mother Dough



Pollos a la Brasa


Red Medicine

Sea Harbour

Son of a Gun


Spice Table

Tsujita L.A.

La Weekly

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Since 1995, "Where The Locals Eat" and LocalEats dining guides have featured locally owned restaurants across America. From the finest steakhouses and sushi bars, to classic burger joints and roadside barbecues, LocalEats recommends unique restaurants to suit every taste and price range. More
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