How we chose the menu

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When food writers eat together, sharing is the rule. Before anyone digs in with their own order, dishes are placed around the table so everyone can try a bite or two.

It's this love of sharing that motivated us to create our 2024 USA TODAY Restaurants of the Year list.

We know there are other “best restaurants” lists out there. This idea is not new. So what makes our product special? While other organizations deploy teams of writers to parachute into places and try the food, our journalists live in the communities they cover.

The restaurants on our list are places we recommend the most, and places we take friends and family. These places are so loved, we often plan our next visit while sitting at the table to finish dinner there.

“Our food writers live here, work here, and eat here,” said project leader Liz Johnson, a senior director at The Record and and a former food writer. “They know their rhythms. These may not be the fanciest restaurants in the United States, although some of them are. These are the restaurants we want to eat at again and again.”

How much did you go to? Learn about the best restaurants of 2024 according to USA TODAY magazine.

You'll notice that our list doesn't go beyond the upcountry, as many do. Yes, you can have a great meal in Los Angeles or New York (by the way, we have restaurants from those cities on our list), but you can also enjoy excellent dining experiences in Goshen, KentuckyAnd (Shreveport, Louisiana).

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With more than 200 locations in 42 states, the USA TODAY network's roots run deep. We tapped into that experience and asked our writers to share their favorites, and the best of the best, from the towns and cities they cover. We received more than 150 nominations.

A team of seasoned editors and writers pulled the list down to 47, searching for places that offer consistently great service, a unique atmosphere, and food that never fails to delight.

We also searched for a buffet rich in flavour, and we found it – from A A third generation counter-service seafood shack in Cortez, FloridaTo the A Laotian restaurant in Oklahoma City run by a James Beard Award-winning chef.

Our standards for USA TODAY Restaurants of the Year 2024

“For me, reading this list was like a delicious journey across America,” said Todd Price, who writes about restaurants throughout the Southeast and is a former member of the James Beard Award nomination committee. He's one of the writers who helped select and edit our restaurants of the year. “Restaurants in places big and small show how diverse dining is today in this country. Many other national menus rarely do more than dip their toes outside of big cities, and they miss a lot of how people eat and how good their food is.” Today in the U.S. “United States of America.”

The majority of the restaurants we highlight are located in the communities we cover, although there are a few restaurants outside of the city. When they're not covering their ground, our writers love to travel in search of food. If we didn't, how would we know how amazing our hometown sites are?

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Now, we invite you to dive in and enjoy USA TODAY's Best Restaurants of 2024.

Susie Fleming Leonard He is a prominent journalist with more than three decades of experience. Find her on Facebook: @Susie FlemingLeonard Or on Instagram: @SusieLeonard.

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