5 Small-Town Dining Destinations That are Worth the Drive
These destination restaurants have folks trekking out of the Big City to get their fine-dining fix
Vaudeville Bistro and Supper Club
Fredericksburg, Texas, Closest big city: San Antonio (71 miles)
"Texans are well traveled, so we kept upping our culinary game," chef-owner Jordan Muraglia says of the boundary-pushing supper club held three times a week at Vaudeville Bistro, which he opened in 2012 with his partner, artist Richard Boprae, in the Texas Hill Country. "We didn't dumb it down at all." Diners from near and far descend on the supper club for seasonal fusion plates like flash-smoked toro tartare.
The Barn at Blackberry Farm
Walland, Tennessee, Closest big city: Knoxville (21 miles)
Blackberry Farm has charmed guests with its Smoky Mountains setting since 1976, but it didn't have a food-and-drink program to match its picturesque estate until the late proprietor, Sam Beall, built a massive wine cellar and used his training at the French Laundry in Napa Valley, California, to turn the barn into a restaurant. Three James Beard Awards later, people come for the food (think fermented squash with green tomato consommé) and stay for the not-too-shabby backdrop.
Winters, California, Closest big city: Sacramento (31 miles)
Throw open the doors of the barn on this Yolo County farm and you won't find hay barrels. Instead, you'll find a rustic-swank dining room where chef Gabriel Glasier hosts seven-course tasting menus that spotlight produce grown in the small NorCal town. We're talking strawberry-chamomile caprese and a dish of carrots and radishes plated to look like the sweetest little garden. Take that, Napa!
Earlton, New York, Closest big city: Albany (28 miles)
Simple math led Damon Baehrel to open his namesake restaurant in the 1980s. "This was the only property we could afford!" he says of the 12-acre farm, where he hand-makes every single component (pine flour, acorn oil) in his 20-plus-course dinners. Word of mouth and high-quality eats, such as Scottish salmon brined in sycamore sap, have kept his doors open for 30 years.
The High Lonesome Ranch
De Beque, Colorado, Closest big city: Denver (212 miles)
Matt Chasseur, the former chef at Michelin-starred Alinea in Chicago, wanted to raise his kids outside of the city—way outside. So his family moved to the High Lonesome Ranch, where his monthly dinners—with dishes like lobster pudding—have a yearlong wait list.