The NCAA’s March Madness is about to kick into overdrive, with the Final Four competing for the 2015 championship. The Kentucky Wildcats, Michigan State Spartans, Wisconsin Badgers, and Duke Blue Devils are facing off in a race to the finish, and, as is often the case with March Madness, it’s anyone’s game. But when it comes to the best burgers, college bars, and local specialties, is there a winner? We rounded up the best of each of the competing states, and will let you decide for yourself.
Burgers are one of the great American foods, and there are plenty of prime examples to be found in Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. While you can get a solid burger at plenty of local restaurants and bars, the heartland is full of old-school institutions that are turning out burgers that put them on the map decades ago. But that doesn’t rule out great burgers near Duke, either, as you’ll see.
Where there are colleges, there are bars, and there’s no shortage of great bars near the competing schools. They’ll be packed with their team’s rabid fans this weekend, and from old-timey dive bars to friendly neighborhood spots with killer food menus, we’ve tracked down the best near each campus.
As for local culinary specialties, there’s no shortage of those, either. Every state has regional foods that it’s proud of, and there’s no exception when it comes to these four. Often imitated, but never replicated out of state, these foods are all something to be proud of.
So read on for the best burger, college bar, and local culinary specialty in Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. No matter who you’re rooting for this weekend, I think we can all agree that the offerings in each of these states are pretty darn good! Have fun, enjoy the games, and good luck with your bracket!
Best Burger: The Tolly-Ho, Tolly-Ho Restaurant; Lexington, Ky.
Since 1971, this burger joint has been racking up accolades for their delicious burgers. The original Tolly-Ho burger is simple and perfect: a four-ounce patty on a sesame seed bun, topped with special Ho sauce, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and onions. And best of all, it only costs $2.89!
Best Bar: Winchell’s Restaurant and Bar, Lexington, Ky.
One of the finest sports bars you’ll ever encounter, this classic University of Kentucky bar is loaded with televisions, craft beer served by the pitcher (including local beers like West Sixth and Country Boy), and really good pub grub. Don’t miss the wings, barbecue pork, Kentucky beer cheese, and spicy beef nachos.