Along with providing enough fodder for three full Springsteen/Mellencamp collaboration albums (make it happen, boys!), America’s small towns are home to some serious culinary action. Like a championship track team from the ‘70s or a native who went on to become a featured actor on a now-canceled sitcom, they are often the pride of the town for generations, and often exist as the very thing that puts a village on a map. 

The restaurants on this list represent the absolute best small-town restaurants in the country, ranging from fine dining experiences in historic farmhouses to roadside diners, BBQ pits, and seaside shacks. Some are part of vibrant small communities far from cities (no, we’re not talking suburbs). Others are outposts doing business seemingly at the end of the world, stretching the concept of “town” all the way down to one resident. They’re all destination-worthy. And who knows -- maybe you’ll fall in love with the towns themselves over a gigantic plate of something unforgettable. 


Cross Village
Population: 294

Look, it's unlikely that you've ever sat down and dreamed of hanging out in a Polish hobbit house whose owners are weirdly obsessed with stove legs. But that very, very specific fantasy scenario is what you get in this little upper-lower Michigan oddity, a stone/log building overlooking the glorious Lake Michigan whose roof is lined with stove legs like some sort of folk-art rampart. Inside, you'll find the best Polish food north of Hamtramck, with massive platters of sausages and pierogies served in the indoor beer hall or on the garden veranda, and hunter's stew bringing warmth on cold nights (the massive array of Polish vodka helps there, too). And since you'll never want to leave, the place has cabins near the beach, meaning you have no excuse to not eat and drink to your heart's content. Weird, yes. But once you enter, you'll never look at the legs of your appliances again. -- AK (Published On 02/16/2018)

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