Whether you want to venture to a new place in your city or it’s crunch time and you need to dazzle your vacation crew with dinner suggestions (and reservations), these notable Midwestern restaurants are a no-brainer. Taste-tested by the industry’s best and lauded by local foodies, these award-winning establishments have offerings that are as diverse as the people who make up our magnificent region.
6568 Woodward Avenue, Suite 100 Detroit, MI 48202
Husband and wife team Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere honor their Burundian roots with staples from their East African homeland. Their first location is in Detroit’s bustling Cass Corridor neighborhood, just steps from downtown. Mamba recently won an episode of Chopped, a cooking game show by the Food Network, and the pair are looking to open a second location on Detroit’s Far East Side next year.
1420 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309
Crepes and coq au vin line this classic French cuisine menu with some of the frills, but none of the attitude. For a classier evening of private dining, you can book the accompanying Reinhardt Room and host up to 100 guests.
2043 W Howard St, Chicago, IL 60645
After years of being drawn to her mother’s Cambodian cooking, Executive Chef Mona Sang started making traditional meals for her family and selling them to the public as a caterer. As the demand grew, she toyed around with the idea of opening a restaurant. Now, the mother-daughter duo is serving up Southeast Asian cuisine in Chicago’s North Side. They made it to the the James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant lists.
501 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Farm-inspired Spanish and Latin American tapas in Downtown Cincinnati by James Beard-nominated chef Jose Salazar. Salazar also owns restaurants Salazar, Goose & Elder, and Daylily Deli.
815 E Brady St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
From octopus to a classic prime beef burger, The Diplomat is known for its shareable, American fare. The unassuming restaurant built in 1928 has been catering to Milwaukee’s lower east side for decades. Most recently though, chef-owner Dane Baldwin was awarded Best Chef in the Midwest by the James Beard Foundation in 2022.
22171 Main St, Oldenburg, IN 47036
Opened since the late ’60s in what was once a general store, this family-friendly eatery is known for its award-winning, pan-fried chicken.
165 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Young Joni’s celebrated chef and owner Ann Kim draws from her Korean American lineage to create imaginative pizza toppings including Korean BBQ and kimchi. Chef Kim is the first woman and first person of color from Minneapolis to be awarded “Best Chef Midwest” by the James Beard Foundation. Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza, and Sooki & Mimi are under the Vestalia Hospitality umbrella as well.