What makes a great foodie city? Hint: It’s not a proliferation of fancy restaurants, nor is it the number of times Food Network has blown through town. According to a WalletHub study naming 2017's best foodie cities in America, it’s a mix of accessibility, affordability, and quality.
The study compared 182 American cities, considering factors such as affordability of meals, ratio of full-service restaurants to fast-food joints, and the number of restaurants and specialty food businesses.
The good news is that three Texas cities made it into the top 25. The bad news: Dallas and Fort Worth did not.
Austin fared best in Texas, coming in at No. 7. The Capital City scored high on several metrics, including average beer and wine price (36th in the nation), gourmet specialty food stores per capita (27th), and restaurants per capita (20th).
Houston came in next at No. 16, scoring high on grocery stores and food trucks per capita, as well as placing 15th on overall restaurants per capita — the highest restaurant density of any Texas city.
This restaurant density issue is bad news for Dallas, where it's a local myth, oft-repeated, that it has more restaurants per capita than any city in the country. That honor goes to New York, and Dallas isn't even in the top 5.
Dallas came in at a sad No. 36, and Fort Worth was No. 66. Other DFW cities on the list included Garland (150) and Grand Prairie (169). Poor Grand Prairie made two "worst" lists: the fewest amount of gourmet stores, and fewest coffee shops.
San Antonio made a good showing at No. 25, a ranking helped dramatically by its affordability: It boasts the lowest cost of groceries in the nation (Laredo, Corpus Christi, and Brownsville were also in the top five), and the second-lowest average cost for a restaurant meal.
According to the study, the top five foodie cities in the country are, in order, San Francisco, Portland, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.