The Best Restaurants in the US, According to the “Rachael Ray” Staff

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We are huge foodies here at the show, so as you can imagine, we spend a lot of time trying out restaurants all over the country. We asked some of our staff to share their favorite spots—and their choices should definitely be added to your restaurant must-try list.  

Here are some of the best restaurants our staff has been to:  

Augustino's — Hoboken, NJ 

Our Senior Producer Erin Rose absolutely loves Augustino's. "They have some of the BEST Italian food in town, and that says a lot considering Hoboken is full of great Italian restaurants. Plus, the whole staff really makes you feel taken care of and like family. The only downside is that it's tough to get a reservation, but if you can get one, it's well worth the wait," says Erin.  

Bakehouse by Joe Murphy — New Providence, NJ 

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TWO staffers, Senior Producer Jen Gsell and Supervising Producer Matthew Kells, say Bakehouse is their favorite spot for a sweet treat. The bakery is owned and operated by Joe Murphy, who has been named one of the Top 10 pastry chefs in the country and has earned 4 stars in the New York Times as well as 3 Michelin stars. So you know it has to be good.  

"Bakehouse has become our family favorite in our new hometown! It’s a special stop for treats with our three-year-old daughter Parker, who likes to pick out what she wants to try that day," Jen says. We love that! 

Bogie's Hoagies & Deli — Hawthorne, NJ 

Looking for a good deli spot in NJ? Executive Producer Andrew Goldman can't get enough of Bogie's Hoagies & Deli in Hawthorne, NJ. They have all the classic hoagies you could think of—plus you can also customize your own. And they have pizzas, salads and pastas, too. Definitely a spot to add to your list.  

Cafe Fleur De Lis — New Orleans, LA 

cafe fleur
Rachael Ray Show

If you find yourself in New Orleans, Cafe Fleur De Lis is a go-to breakfast spot for Production Assistant DeAngelo Miller. "I always go here for breakfast when I go to NOLA. They have amazing shrimp and grits," he says. Say no more—we're there! 

Casa Enrique — Long Island City, NY 

"Casa Enrique is one of the best Mexican restaurants in New York City. It is Michelin-star rated authentic Mexican food," says Co-Executive Producer Emily Rieger. "The space is beautiful and serves up a fine dining experience making it perfect for special occasions, but also manages to capture the feel of your favorite friendly neighborhood spot. Do yourself a favor and order a margarita (from their extensive selection!) with guacamole and tacos." You'll be thanking us later.   

Fiorentini Restaurant — Rutherford, NJ 

"Fiorentini is a relative newcomer to the 'burbs of Rutherford, NJ. They have an incredible farm-to-table seasonal Italian menu," says Jill Skinner, who works in on-air promotions. "I love dining there in all 4 seasons to see what kind of delicious menu Chef Antonio has brilliantly thought of! I also love that one of their missions is to keep the restaurant as environmentally conscious as possible through locally-sourced ingredients and materials," she says.  

Freemans — New York, NY 

Freemans on the Lower East Side is one of NYCs hidden gems. Post Producer Julia Giambona says it has a great vibe and incredible food. "You have to walk all the way down an alley to find it. It's a gem," she says. (Plus, it has the best Hot Toddy in NYC, she says!) 

Hometown Bake Shop — Centerport, NY 

hometown bake shop
Rachael Ray Show

"Hometown Bake Shop is appropriately named—it feels like home and heaven on a plate," says Senior Supervising Producer Joanna Parides Sims.  

"Everything is made from scratch and you feel the love in each bite. A lot of people go there for their sweet pies, but I love the savory ones. This old school local place brings the sweet and savory together with effortless ease. This one is memorable for all the right reasons," she adds. 

Imani —Brooklyn, NY

Imani is in the Fort Greene area of Brooklyn and it's a Caribbean soul food restaurant you need to add to your list. "It offers a modern twist on authentic Caribbean food," Associate Producer Rebecca Johnson says. 

"My go-to thing to order at Imani is the Shrimp and Grits. Traditional Shrimp and Grits is a southern meal, so it can be savory or sweet, but because it's a Caribbean spin, they use coconut milk in the grits, so it gives it a smoother texture. Plus, it has that Caribbean seasoning on the shrimp and it's absolutely amazing," she adds. 

Keeper Coffee — Portland, OR

keeper coffee
Keeper Coffee

"It gets rave reviews online and I can confirm it is worth the hype," says Talent Coordinator Lindsey Crocker of Keeper Coffee. "One of their baristas, Morgan (she/they) is award-winning and has gone to many competitions. They also have a huge social following," she says. We always love a cute and cozy coffee shop.  

Odd Duck — Austin, TX 

The Odd Duck in Austin, TX is a favorite from the culinary team. "The atmosphere here is so laid back — it feels like you're eating on a Southern front porch with 50 of your friends and family," says Kate Bennert, Associate Culinary Producer.  

"We would always start off by buying a round of beers for the kitchen staff (which is listed as an option on the menu) and a round of their draught palomas. The palomas have this amazing salt foam garnish instead of a salt rim," she says.  

"They change their menu seasonally, but everything they serve is a wildly creative spin on traditional southern and Texas cuisine," she adds.  

Razza — Jersey City, NJ

"Razza is an Italian eatery most known for their pizza. Their pizza is more Neapolitan-style, so it is really thin and made in a wood-fire oven," explains Food Stylist Ben Perez. "I think what makes their pizza so special is the ingredients they use—fresh, seasonal and local, even down to the flour they use in their dough," he says. 

"All their cheeses are local New Jersey cheeses, seasonal produce from farms around New Jersey," he adds. 

He recommends going for the Santo, which is the sausage pizza, but he's never had a bad thing there, so you can't really go wrong!

Restaurant X — Congers, NY 

"Chef Peter X. Kelly has the best restaurant in Rockland County, New York," says editor Richard Kronenberg. "Restaurant X is a fine dining restaurant that serves amazing steaks as well as a wide variety of great dishes," he says.  

River Grille — Chatham, NJ 

Looking for great bar food? River Grille in Chatham, NJ is the spot. "It's small and kind of feels like a dive bar but it is always packed with a fun local crowd," says Production Secretary Jacqueline Gray. 

"The food is absolutely amazing. My friends and I love to get a bunch of apps to share. Our favorites are their disco fries, wings, buffalo chicken dips, cheeseburger sliders and pretzels (when they have it as a special!). You also can never go wrong with any of their entrees or sandwiches," she says.  

"The bar features rotating on-tap beers (including local breweries!). But, if you're not a beer drinker, the bartenders can whip up your favorite cocktail as they have a full bar. It's a great gathering spot to watch a game and they have weekly karaoke, open mics, and live music," Jacqueline adds.  

St. Joe's Cafe — Scarborough, ME 

We always love a great breakfast spot and Production Assistant Kate Rigazio found one in Scarborough, ME. "St. Joe's is an unassuming little spot that serves the most fantastic breakfast I've had in my 25 years on this planet," Kate says. 

"Their unique, omelet-style egg sandwiches are made to order on biscuits they make in-house. Their menu is extensive and features smart starts, indulgent lunches, and locally roasted coffee. They're probably most well known for their ‘bennies,’ delicious and fresh beignets covered in powdered sugar that you can order with a variety of dipping sauces (blueberry is the best). This restaurant is always the first place I stop when I'm in the area and a favorite of all my family and friends," she explains.  

Sugarfish — Los Angeles, CA & New York, NY 

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If you're looking for simple, but fresh and tasty sushi, Sugarfish is the spot, according to TWO staffers: Digital Supervising Producer Nicole Cherie Jones and Associate Producer Hayley Gershon. “It’s the best value sushi in NYC,” says Nicole. “Although you can order items a la carte, the omakase-style menus (called the “trust me” options because the chef chooses) are most popular and the price even includes the tip so you don’t have to think or stress—just enjoy. Basically you just choose between small, medium and large based on how hungry you are and the edamame and sushi is delivered in multiple courses,” explains Nicole. 

“Plus they're great about making substitutions if needed," adds Hayley.  

It started in Los Angeles, but they now have multiple locations in LA and NYC. So, whether you find yourself on the west coast or the east coast, it's a spot to add to your list. “Their pick-up and delivery is great too,” says Nicole.

The Apple Pan — Los Angeles, CA

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"It's a tiny diner right smack in the middle of bustling LA. It's been around since the 40s—and it feels like you're sucked right back into that time period. It has super old wallpaper, the stools around the counter are red leather," says Segment Coordinator Olivia Prunier Herman. 

As far as what's on the menu—she says it's typical diner food. "Burgers, sandwiches on the grill, soft drinks, and the best pie in the world," she says. Specifically the Banana Cream Pie—Olivia got it as her birthday cake every year when she was growing up!

Olivia also recommends the Hickory Burger—lettuce, tomato, pickles, their secret sauce and a slice of cheddar cheese. What's not to love?! 

The Chicago Diner — Chicago, IL 

An unexpected favorite for Associate Producer and vegetarian Meredith "Mack" Mackey.  "I've been a vegetarian for over 10 years now, but this isn't at all what comes to mind when most people think of vegetarian cuisine — it's a place where a meat-lover could still have the best meal of their life," she says.  

"Chicago Diner makes comfort food classics like chicken pot pie, wings, and reubens with plant-based ingredients and all of the greasy nostalgia of the originals. They always have great specials but the country fried steak is my go-to, and you can't miss their vegan milkshakes (the Cookie Dough Peanut Butter is my favorite). I've taken all of my friends and family here and even if they enter skeptical, they always leave a superfan," Mack adds. Yum!  

The Columbia — Tampa, FL

"The Columbia Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in Florida. It was opened in 1905 and is a mix of Cuban and Spanish cuisine," Senior Supervising Producer Stephanie Davis shares. 

"The entire interior is covered in colorful tiles, beautiful artwork, and everything feels so feel like you're stepping back in time," she says. 

As far as food recommendations, Stephanie says the Cuban Sandwich is a must—it's world-famous. "They also have this incredible salad—it's called the 1905 salad, it has olives, delicious cheese, veggies and their special Columbia dressing," Stephanie explains. 

"It's an incredible restaurant filled with lots of tradition, amazing Cuban dishes, lots of fresh fish and a beautiful, fun, historic atmosphere."

The Court of the Two Sisters — New Orleans, LA 

court of two sisters
Rachael Ray Show

Another New Orleans favorite from our staff is The Court of the Two Sisters. "This spot has Cajun and Creole cuisine, and maintains a long history of New Orleans traditions," says Mike Grimes, who works in the music & clearance department. "I always try to get a table in the enchanting outdoor garden. One of the gems of New Orleans," he adds.  

The Eagle — Columbus, OH 

Looking for some more comfort food? Then, it's time to take a trip to Columbus, OH and stop by The Eagle, according to Segment Coordinator Danielle Broomes.  

"If you're like me and love a comforting, Southern meal, look no further than The Eagle in the Short North area of Columbus, OH. They have great fried chicken. Plus, the sweet potato crock and mac & cheese are to die for. You'll leave full but wanting more," she says.  

The Laundrette — Narrowsburg, NY 

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Executive Producer Meredith Weintraub is a self-proclaimed pizza expert (born and raised in Chicago and having lived in NYC for 24 years). And it turns out the best pizza she ever had is actually at The Laundrette in the Catskills. "The Laundrette has wood fired pizza with the most incredible sourdough crust. It is a must visit when in the area. Plus, the owners and people who work there are the best!" she says.  

"If spicy soppressata with hot honey or a bacon cheeseburger topped pie sounds good to you (not to mention inventive salads with loads of local ingredients), this will be your new fave spot," Meredith adds.   

Tio Pepe — Baltimore, MD 

Tio Pepe has been a family-favorite for Senior Coordinating Producer Rebecca Soldinger since before she was born. "My parents had their first date there, met each other's parents there, and got engaged there," she says. How sweet! 

"It's incredible Spanish food. The restaurant itself is made up of lots of little cave-like rooms. It's completely unassuming from the outside...there's just a little awning and a stairwell to go down to get into the basement space," Rebecca explains.   

Although she loves so many things on the menu, her favorite dish is the dover sole topped with bananas. It may sound weird, but she says it's amazing. And we know we can trust her! 

Via Locusta — Philadelphia, PA

Senior Producer Brittany Tori absolutely loves Via Locusta. "It's very romantic—and feels like you're transported in the middle of Philadelphia," she says. 

"Their menu is incredible. Everything about it is just very special and unique—and it's kind of like something you've never had before," Brittany explains. "Their ravioli is to die for—it's handmade, the filling always changes, it's so fresh, it melts in your mouth, it's a must-have," she adds. 

Brittany also says you're going to smell their homemade focaccia as soon as you walk in—and you're definitely going to want to get that too.  

Vincentown Diner — Southampton, NJ 

"New Jersey is famous for its seemingly endless supply of greasy spoon diners, and while Vincentown Diner is able to supply patrons with classic staples like pancakes, eggs, and burgers made with locally sourced ingredients from South Jersey farms, they've also become known for their Mile High Meatloaf, which was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," says Associate Producer Lauren Zmirich.   

"And as a former Vincentown Diner waitress during my college years, I can say with confidence that customers should also not miss out on the cheesesteak spring rolls, the Bourbon BBQ Burger, or even the locally sourced wines from the nearby Valenzano Winery," she adds.

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