If John Denver were taking to the open road today, he wouldn’t have to settle for gas station food and greasy diner options. With the farm-to-table movement gaining momentum across the country, road trip food options are bigger, better, and healthier. We’ve collected these five restaurants that are reason enough to plan your next trip. With innovative dishes and fresh, local foods, these healthy restaurants give any food lover reason to take to the open road with these ultimate food destinations guiding your route. Whether you’re just passing through or going out of your way to check out one of these spots, they’ll make you (and your stomach) happy you stopped.
FIG in Charleston, SC
Recognized for its creative cocktails, seasonal variety, and sustainable sourcing practices, FIG (Food Is Good) is a must-visit. Charleston is full of Southern character, rich history, and cultural attractions. It’s regularly featured as a food-lovers small city, as many of its restaurants take Southern dishes and recreate them in unique ways. Nonetheless, FIG manages to stand out as an excellent dining option for foodies and healthy food-lovers alike. FIG incorporate timeless Dixie dishes from South Carolina Lowcountry, like sautéed greens, beets, and a variety of local fish that’s nothing short of impressive. Executive chef Jason Stanhope couples flounder, bass, and snapper with flavorful rice. FIG also serves a hearty fish stew that’s a beloved favourite, and there’s a dessert menu if you feel like you’ve earned a reward after your travel. Southern meets local and healthy at FIG.
Inn at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN
Stop at Blackberry Farm for the food, but stay for the scenery. The inn sits on some of the most pristine, open land in all of Tennessee, and guests can tour the area where food is grown. Enjoy casual breakfast and lunch in the main house or wait until dinner to dine in more elegance inside the inn’s beautiful red barn. Breakfast features fresh farm eggs, local bacon, and pecan butter on top of blackberry pancakes. Dinner offers mountain trout, farm-grown veggies, and local meat (like lamb and beef) from neighbouring properties.
The Inn at Dos Brisas in Dos Brisas, TX
The restaurant at the Inn at Dos Brisas is officially the Lone Star state’s only Forbes five-star restaurant. An onsite 7,000-square foot greenhouse and a shade house allow the creative kitchen crew to offer items not normally in season, and they are proud to offer a menu that eliminates foods grown with hormones and pesticides. With 42 acres to grow and forage their produce, you can be sure everything you’re eaten was grown on-site. The restaurant offers a vegetarian tasting menu, with stellar sunflower seed risotto and other inventive veggie dishes that include homegrown potatoes, chard, and cabbage.
Park Kitchen in Portland, OR
Farm-to-table is a way of life in Portland. The super hipster city is crazy about fresh food, and for a restaurant to keep up with the stiff and abundant competition, they have to be a trifecta of local, new, and crafty. Park Kitchen distinguishes itself with its Gluten-Free and Celiac-Friendly menu, and its inventive craft cocktails certainly don’t hurt. Innovative veggie recipes include the sunchoke soup and a dish that pairs the local Brussels sprouts with fried wild rice. The meat dishes, including beef, pork and lamb, are all sourced from Oregon ranches and farms.
Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY
Ithaca is known for its gorges, clean lakes, and endless fields of farmland. It’s also the proud home of both Cornell University and Ithaca College—so you could make a two-in-one trip to take the kids on a college tour and stop at this local restaurant to refuel on some gourmet goodness. A casual environment welcomes all types of guests, especially those with vegan and vegetarian preferences. Fear not—these vegan-friendly items are not raw salads that leave you hungry an hour later. Enjoy a filling and flavorful options, like a black bean and sweet potato burrito, or a walnut tofu burger. Local mushrooms fill enchiladas, and tomato tortilla soup is made with fresh tomatoes.