Coast to Coast Food Guide: Must Try Regional Cuisine

regional food guide

Part of the fun in moving to a new city is getting to know the local food. And with operations in 9 states stretching from the Florida real estate market across to new homes in the Bay Area, Taylor Morrison is familiar with the best grub in every corner of the Land of the Free.

From crispy southern fried chicken in Atlanta to iconic Texas BBQ and famed San Diego burritos, our regional food guide will have your stomach grumbling and mouthwatering.

Bon appetit!

North Carolina | South Carolina | FloridaGeorgiaIllinoisTexasColoradoArizona | California

North Carolina

Characterized by a smoking grill, Carolina barbecue is at the top of the food chain in these parts. Unique for its thin, vinegar and mustard based sauce with a creative use of cayenne pepper, meats roasted in the Carolina fashion are less sweet compared to ketchup and molasses based marinades lathered on elsewhere.

Southern favorites such as buttermilk biscuits or chicken and waffles should also top your culinary to-do list.

Check out this fantastic article at to plan a belly filling east to west North Carolina foodie road trip.


  • Price’s Chicken Coop – Old school style fried chicken and all your favorite sides to boot. From fresh coleslaw to gizzards, hush puppies and potato salad.
  • Rated #1 on TripAdvisor, it’s hard to beat the Midwood Smokehouse for meaty goodness.

Find more bucket list worthy Charlotte dishes at Thrillist.


    • Ready for the best burger of your life? Order up a ‘Dirty South’ at Chuck’s. You might want to wear a bib for this chili-topped treat.
    • When looking for barbecued pork in Raleigh, always ask if it’s whole hog. Clyde Cooper’s has been roasting pigs for nearly 80 years so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing.

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South Carolina

If you’re an implant to the south, warm up your taste buds to try something new.

Shrimp and grits. Frogmore stew. Boiled peanuts. Peach cobbler. And never pass up the opportunity to attend a traditional South Carolina oyster roast.


    • Get to know Lowcountry cuisine. It’s a special form of southern cooking found in South Carolina and northern Georgia: sweet potato and crab soup, gumbo, catfish stew, chicken bog, hoppin’ John and more.
    • Folks in Fort Mill will find authentic southern favorites at Local Dish. Try the pot pies, po boys or chicken and waffles.

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Fresh seafood naturally abounds in Florida. But there’s no maritime treat quite as Floridian as stone crab claws. Learn more about stone crabs at Natural North Florida.

You’ll also find rock shrimp, Apalachicola oysters and tropical fish such as grouper, barracuda and tarpon.

Brave? Tear into a savory bite of gator!


  • Speaking of stone crab. Get your introduction at Stone Crab Weekend, an annual festival hosted by renowned Frenchy’s restaurant.
  • Columbia is the oldest restaurant in Florida and a top spot for Cuban favorites and the ultimate Florida dessert, key lime pie.


  • Get your seafood on with a grouper sandwich or conch fritters.
  • For award-winning key lime pie, head to Sister Honey’s.


Fort Myers & Naples


Sweets lovers go head over heels for Georgia’s signature dessert, peach cobbler. With or without a scoop of vanilla ice cream. There’s a lot to learn about peaches if you want to be an authentic Georgian!

For the main course? It’s gotta be BBQ. Find the top barbecue joints in the Atlanta metro and across the state at the Explore Georgia Barbecue Flavor Tour.

More than just a meal, the barbecue is an integral part of local culture. The Southern Foodways Alliance wrote a great piece on the history of the Georgia BBQ.



Most everyone knows about deep dish pizza and to a lesser extent the Chicago hot dog (don’t put ketchup on your dog unless you want to look like a tourist), but what about a few hidden gems in the Chicago food scene?

We’ve got you covered.


Not going to lie to you here…this stuff isn’t exactly health food!

  • Italian beef sandwich with giardiniera (an Italian-style relish with spicy pickled vegetables). And here’s a hint: If your sandwich isn’t sopping wet you’re not doing it right.
  • Generally seen as a Canadian food, poutine is also popular with Chicagoans. It’s easy to see why. French fries covered in cheese curds and smothered with gravy!
  • It’s snack time and Chicago style popcorn is your go to. Cheese and caramel popcorn sounds strange all the way up until the moment it hits your taste buds. Delish.

Still hungry? Check out Eater’s list of 30-iconic Chicago foods and the best place to give them a whirl.


Texas is another state that claims to be the master of the barbecue pit and rightfully so. But there’s a whole list of other dishes that nobody does better than the Lone Star State.

From Tex-Mex to brisket, chili con carne, pecan pie and all the goodies you find at the State Fair, nobody leaves the table hungry in Texas.


  • If you’ve never heard of a kolache, you’ll want to mosey on over to the Original Kolache Shop. It’s a flaky meat and cheese pastry and a gift to your taste buds.
  • Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland is home to a knock-your-socks-off authentic Texas brisket.
  • Vietnamese food is a big part of the Houston food scene. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the famed banh-mi at Les Givral’s.




For those uninterested in taking the plunge with a basket of fried Rocky Mountain oysters, here are 25 Colorado favorites to order up for your next dinner out.


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Mexican staples like burritos, tamales and chimichangas are part of the weekly diet in Arizona but have you heard of cheese crisps or Navajo tacos?


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California is less a geographical location and more a state of mind. And this laid-back coastal mentality plays into typical Californian cuisine.

A mild Mediterranean climate and eye towards healthy living means fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of fish and seafood on the menu.

Bay Area


  • I know what we said about California and fresh, healthy food. Make an exception, however, for the Eggs Benedict at Bacon & Butter.
  • California has a rich agricultural history. A great way to get to know what the locals eat in Sacramento is to visit a Farmer’s Market.
  • With all that California sunshine, it’s nice to cool off with Gunther’s Ice Cream Shop.

Southern California

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Don’t Forget to Tip Your Server!

We hope you enjoy taste testing all these regional treats. Let us know in the comments which are your favorites.

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