Best destinations for farm-to-table dining: Middle America


Related Articles

Last week, we checked out farm-to-table dining destinations on the West Coast — you know, places that emphasize buying locally sourced ingredients, usually from smaller-scale producers.

Farm-to-table restaurants are popping up across the country, with chefs devoting their menus to local, sustainable ingredients. Part two of our three-part series explores the best places for farm-to-table dining in Middle America.



It’s not all hot dogs and deep dish in The Second City. Renowned for its vibrant food scene, Chicago has a cadre of chefs who are innovative, quirky and experimenting with whatever ingredients are locally available, including meat, produce and dairy. 

Farm-to-table restaurants continue popping up all over the city, from cozy Farmhouse to critically acclaimed Longman & Eagle. While the Chicagoland area certainly has its fair share of farms, the city’s proximity to prime farming land in Michigan and Wisconsin gives chefs a steady stream of seasonal offerings.   


Boulder, Colo.

OK, so we admit Colorado more qualifies for the West Region list, but we had to squeeze it in somewhere. The environmentally conscientious residents of Boulder have been doing the farm-to-table thing for a while now, with fabulous dining results. 

The region produces lots of livestock in addition to regular farming fare, with some chefs maintaining their own farms to get unfettered access to their desired ingredients. In recent years, Boulder has experienced nothing short of a farm-to-table restaurant boom, and many chefs take a minimalist approach to fully highlight the freshness of ingredients.


New Orleans

New Orleans is a city that takes its dining seriously. This Bayou city remains one of the most uniquely eclectic culinary scenes in the country, featuring an abundance of seafood and a host of international influences. 

With urban farming on the rise, it’s no surprise that New Orleans is seeing increasingly more chefs focus on using local ingredients in the kitchen. Just how entrenched is New Orleans in the farm-to-table movement? The city recently hosted the first ever Farm to Table International Symposium — there’s just no better place to hold a conference on food. 



One of the “it” cities right now, Nashville has a lively music scene, tons of young people and a thriving farm-to-table movement. This smaller city is a newer convert of the trend — an interview with one of Nashville’s star chefs reports that 10 years ago, there were perhaps two farms servicing local restaurants; today, there are more than 100. Whether you crave tacos or barbecue, burgers or salad, don’t miss the local cuisine in Music City.



No, this is not a typo. Say what you will about Cleveland, but this old industrial city has a bounty of excellent restaurants with local-minded chefs making the most of what’s readily available. The first city to zone for community gardens, Cleveland makes it relatively easy for residents to farm. Plus, buying local helps boost the economy — a must for this Rust Belt relic trying to reinvent itself in the new millennium. Be sure to check out Lucky’s Café in the Tremont neighborhood — it’ll rank as one of the best breakfasts you’ve ever had. 


Next week: Don’t miss our coverage of the best farm-to-table destinations on the Eastern Seaboard.