Every year since The Daily Meal’s 2011 founding, we’ve set out to compile a comprehensive ranking of the 101 Best Restaurants in America, and in 2015, we published our first ranking of the 101 Best Casual Restaurants in America. In that annual ranking, however, we haven’t featured a restaurant from each of the 50 states, but that’s exactly what we’re doing today. From hot dog shacks to taco joints, from neighborhood hangouts to legendary barbecue spots, we’re pleased to present the best restaurant in each state (and Washington, D.C.) where the food is cheap and you’ll feel right at home in jeans.
With all that in mind, what makes a restaurant casual, exactly? It goes far beyond the dress code. Our main criterion was the price factor: Can two people fill themselves up and get out for less than $50, excluding tip and alcohol? Other factors we took into account were an overall comfortable and relaxed ambiance, a “destination” status (that is, is the place worth traveling for?), and a proven reputation and longevity.
To assemble our ranking, we dug through this year’s ranking of America’s best casual restaurants, as well as our rankings of America’s best purveyors of pizza, burgers, hot dogs, and more, ending up with a vast cross-section of America and the casual restaurants that make it great. So loosen your belt and get ready for a culinary tour of the best that America has to offer. Read on to learn about the best casual restaurant in all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C.