New Indie Restaurants

Some of the most exciting food in America is being served at farmers’ market stands and out of trucks that update their locations on Twitter. Now, some of the best cooks have become so successful they’ve opened brick-and-mortar restaurants and bakeries.
Cherry-Berry Pie

© Tina Rupp

Hoosier Mama Pie Company, Chicago

Paula Haney made pastries at acclaimed Chicago restaurants like Trio before opening her Green City Market stand. She launched her adorable, and adorably named, bakery in March, but still has a stand at the market and buys produce there, including the cherries for her stellar pies.

Cherry-Berry Pie

slideshow Best Places to Eat in Chicago

Mo’s Sticky Ribs

© Tina Rupp

Mogridder’s, New York City

For almost four years, Fred Donnelly’s red Mogridder’s BBQ truck has animated a nondescript section of the Bronx, where it sits in front of his auto repair shop. (The Mogridder’s special—an oil change and brake check plus a platter of slow-smoked ribs—does brisk business.) Last October, Donnelly finally opened a place to sit and eat. He makes the spectacularly sticky ribs below at home. “Anyone you make them for falls in love with you,” he says.

Mo’s Sticky Ribs

slideshow Best Places to Eat in New York

Kogi Dogs

© Tina Rupp

Kogi at The Alibi Room, Los Angeles

When Kogi’s truck first Tweeted its stops last November, no one had heard of Korean short rib tacos. Now hundreds of people line up for them, and for kimchi hot dogs. Credit Roy Choi, who cooked at NYC’s Le Bernardin and recently opened a Kogi counter at L.A.’s Alibi Room.

Kogi Dogs

slideshow Best Places to Eat in Los Angeles

Boucherie, New Orleans

In 2006, chef Nathanial Zimet launched Que Crawl—a purple food truck. He usually parks it outside Tipitina’s nightclub and prepares his take on New Orleans specialties, like fried boudin balls and duck gumbo. Last December, he opened a real restaurant called Boucherie—dishes like blackened shrimp with bacon vinaigrette are more ambitious than those he still serves at his truck, but nothing costs more than $15.

Shrimp with Cheese-Grit Cakes and Bacon Vinaigrette

slideshow Best Places to Eat in New Orleans

Spinasse, Seattle

Chef Justin Neidermeyer perfected his pasta-making at Antica Torre in Italy’s Piedmont region. After returning home to Seattle, he eventually set up a stand at the Ballard Farmers’ Market selling his excellent tagliatelle and gnocchi. Then, last summer, Neidermeyer opened Spinasse, an intimate trattoria with communal tables and pasta dishes like egg-yolk-rich tajarin that he sometimes tops with crisp fried sage leaves and Parmesan.

Pasta with Sizzled Sage

slideshow Best Places to Eat in Seattle

Great Restaurants

More Great Places to Eat in the U.S.

PUBLISHED August 2009

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