The Best Cafeterias In Every State

There is nostalgia and simplicity to dining in a cafeteria, and the fact that they are not so easy to track down these days makes it all the more poignant. Sometimes you just want to sit with a group of friends and spill the tea like you used to at the high school lunch table, or hang with Grandpa and listen to him wax poetic about hanging out at the local canteen.

When it comes to finding top-notch cafeterias in all 50 states (plus Washington DC), you'll notice that the classic Southern-style steam table still draws crowds. There are plenty of new riffs on the counter-service concept where the atmosphere and menu feel original and modern — some with food you've never tried before. Whether you're on the hunt for a laid-back local spot or are looking for a simple and satisfying meal on a cross-country trip, here are the best cafeterias in every state.

Alabama: Ted's Restaurant, Birmingham, AL

"Where Friendly Gets Downright Fresh" is the slogan of Ted's Restaurant, a farm-to-table cafeteria that's been around since 1973. Ted's does a great job of modernizing while still maintaining the classic cafeteria concept it became known for. Diners line up in front of the steam table to select their "meat and three," a fresh protein and seasonal veggie combo that the farm-to-table ideology is based on. Brunch is all about chicken and waffles, omelets, and more while the lunch line is a scrumptious display of Greek-inspired chicken and specials like country-fried steak.

Alaska: The Crepery, Fairbanks, AK

Ivan Gyaurski and Maria Terziyska run The Crepery at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks, a cafeteria that makes fresh crepes right in front of you. The crepes are made to order with tons of ingredient options to help you achieve the sweet or savory crepe of your Alaskan dreams. Menu items like the crab melt crepe or Nutella and berries crepe are made with love. Gyaurski and Terziyska believe in arranging the ingredients in attractive patterns so that you know The Crepery's made-from-scratch crepes are the best.

Arizona: Café Allegro, Phoenix, AZ

A delightful meal awaits the visitors of the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). Experience Café Allegro, MIM's charming and sophisticated cafeteria with a range of culinary depth and nice selection of vegetarian options. The menu changes regularly — on one occasion you could be treated to Moroccan meatballs, the next, Canadian poutine. There is also a daily soup special, with yummy picks like cauliflower bisque and carrot ginger. Café Allegro prides itself on using fresh, often local ingredients in all of its global dishes whether it be a sandwich or a decadent slice of cheesecake.

Arkansas: Bobbie D's Southern Cuisine, Little Rock, AR

Beautiful soul food — that's what you'll get when you pay a visit to Bobbie D's Southern Cuisine. This cafeteria may not have the historical clout that other establishments do (it was established in 2015), but in a short amount of time, Bobbie D's Southern Cuisine has drawn steady crowds who come to indulge in beloved comfort food like fried catfish, loaded hamburger steak, and smothered cornish hens. You can also get the full Bobbie D's experience brought to you. The restaurant offers event catering that even includes specialty cakes.

California: Philippe The Original, Los Angeles, CA

"The best sandwich in LA" has been tantalizing tastebuds since 1908. It's said that the original owner, Phillipe Mathieu, invented the legendary French dip sandwich by mistake when he dropped a French roll into a pan of jus. The happy accident occurred in 1918 and made Philippe the Original the most famous cafeteria in Los Angeles. Breakfast is served daily, as is a homemade soup special. Meat carvers at the long counter serve tasty meals whether it be a French dip with leg of lamb or a Caesar salad and wine.

Colorado: SAME Café, Denver, CO

The elevated ideology behind nonprofit community dining space SAME Café, which is an acronym for "So all may eat," is that diners who enter only need pay what they're able to — even if that means nothing. There is no set menu, but the donation-based SAME Café aims to nourish the people of Denver with healthy, thoughtful dishes like pizzas piled with veggies, and hearty soups like three-bean stew or chicken noodle with avocado. The good vibes are spreading. In November of 2022, a second SAME Café location was opened in Toledo, Ohio.

Connecticut: One State Street Cafe, Hartford, CT

Downtown Hartford is full of high rises (they don't call it the Insurance capital of the world for nothing), but within the fifth floor of the One State Street building is One State Street Cafe, a great spot for cafeteria food. This little gem is open to the public despite being the employee cafeteria for Hartford Steam Boiler Company. Enjoy a rotating menu of house-made global favorites like muu bing, Salvadorian chicken, or Polish pąckzi. Just don't let the name fool you. One State Street Cafe's entrance is at 400 Columbus Boulevard.

Delaware: Angelo's Luncheonette, Wilmington, DE

The family-owned staple in Wilmington is a step back in time. Angelo's is a counter-service eatery that keeps the menu simple and satisfying — and makes every guest feel at home. Owner August Muzzi took over his parents' cafeteria-style restaurant, which opened in 1967. Muzzi started cooking there at 17 and told Delaware Online, "We're in it for the friendship." Old-fashioned grub like grilled cheese with ham or scrapple and eggs are the kind of affordable, comforting meals served by friendly people at Angelo's.

Florida: Cafe Pinar, Orlando, FL

Unassuming but wholly authentic, Cafe Pinar serves Cuban food at a steam table where portions are generous, and prices are fair. Awesome breakfast and lunch choices like pollo asado, huevos rancheros, and of course, the Cuban sandwich are featured, plus several rice and bean varieties. Cuban food is deeply woven into Florida's food culture, and eating it at Cafe Pinar in Orlando is a good way to enjoy a freshly cooked cafeteria meal. Oh, and they assure on Facebook that they make "the best Cuban coffee in town."

Georgia: Matthew's Cafeteria, Tucker, GA

Seeing as the very idea of cafeterias is retro, it's not surprising how many have been around for an exceptionally long period of time. Matthew's Cafeteria in the historic district of Tucker, Georgia is a prime example. As indicated on its website, Matthew's has been "Serving great Southern food since 1955." True, much of Southern food is of the comfort variety, but Matthew's Cafeteria pushes it a bit further. Fill your tray with such delicacies as salmon croquettes and various casseroles — yes restaurants still have them!

Hawaii: Ethel's Grill, Honolulu, HI

Ethel's Grill, the famed Japanese-by-way-of-Hawaii diner visited by Anthony Bourdain in 2015 became takeout-only amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and outdoor seating remains the only option. Customers line up to purchase freshly packaged meals that are as unique as they are exceptional. Ethel's Grill was a Semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Award in 2022, which shows that excellent food outshines trendy ambiance every time. With specials upon specials, there's culinary excitement happening daily at Ethel's Grill. Japanese curry, fried ahi belly, tripe stew, and much more are a to-go tray away.

Idaho: The Warehouse Food Hall, Boise, ID

"Boise's culinary & entertainment hub all under one roof" is the lure of the Warehouse Food Hall, a cafeteria-style food hall, where you can fill your tray with culinary goodness. There's artisanal chicken and waffles, savory bao buns, lobster rolls served with potato chips, and made-from-scratch pies. Each vendor is serious about craft and taste, making this cafeteria feel modern and fun. Treat yourself to a fusion-style pizza and a cocktail before heading to the movies or concert hall — both can be found in the Warehouse as well.

Illinois: Valois, Chicago, IL

This Chicago cafeteria has been feeding locals, students, and tourists for over a century. Opened in 1921 by William Valois, the focus here has always been satisfying meals sold at low prices with swift and consistent service. The cafeteria style of Valois has helped it to abide by the slogan "See Your Food" for generations. Diners line up at the counter, trays in hand, ready to enjoy classic breakfast plates like sausage links, eggs, and potatoes or lunch staples such as the hamburger steak with onions.

Indiana: MCL Restaurant & Bakery, various locations

Homestyle tastes of the Midwest are found at MCL Restaurant & Bakery, a cafeteria with a more than 70-year legacy, and numerous locations throughout Indiana and Ohio. MCL was started by Charles "Mac" McGaughey and has been in his family since. Wondering what Midwestern cuisine is? It's classic American fare: Roast beef, baked fish, and assorted vegetable sides. Monday through Wednesday, up to two kids can eat free with the purchase of an adult dine-in meal, or you could stop in on Thursday for a .99-cent slice of pie.

Iowa: Canteen Lunch in the Alley, Ottumwa, IA

Canteen Lunch in the Alley was the inspiration behind the Lanford Lunch Box restaurant from the television sitcom "Roseanne." It's even more famous for the deep rectangular steamer postured behind the horseshoe counter that holds pounds of soft, crumbled beef used to make the Canteen's signature loose-meat sandwich — called a Canteen — which is basically a not-so-sloppy Sloppy Joe. Canteen Lunch in the Alley has been around for over 95 years; back then, Canteen sandwiches cost a dime. Don't forget to try the homemade pie.

Kansas: Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que, Kansas City, KS

Jeff and Joy Stehney turned a winning streak on the barbeque contest circuit into an unlikely cafeteria locale — they opened up shop in a Kansas City gas station in 1996. As one of three Joe's Bar-B-Que locations, Kansas City's is the most unique. Visitors flock to the no-frills eatery for pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, flavor-packed sides, and seasonal desserts. Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que has had a lot of media recognition over the years — it was even featured on an episode of Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations."

Kentucky: Kentucky Native Café, Lexington, KY

Residents of Lexington are likely aware of Michler's Florist and Greenhouses, an institution of the city since 1901. There's also a cool cafe that is similar to a cafeteria, behind the counter, on Michler's grounds called Kentucky Native Café. Lovers of nature can feast on food and drink made with care in the designated "urban oasis," that churns out an ever-changing lineup of beers (some house-brewed!), wines, and a seasonal rotation of dishes. Mainstays of Kentucky Native Café are Bavarian pretzels, local gelato, and gorgeous surroundings.

Louisiana: Victor's Cafeteria, New Iberia, LA

Since its inception in 1969, Victor's Cafeteria has been a Cajun tradition in New Iberia. Victor's has a legacy of from-scratch cooking, impressive Southern-style breakfast spreads, must-try savory pies, oh yeah, and a six-layer red velvet cake (which actually has mysterious origins) come holiday season. You don't have to dine at Victor's Cafeteria to enjoy the food there. Frozen versions of some of its most popular specialties are sold as takeout items, including quarts of gumbo and gourmet puff pastry pies.

Maine: Dutch's, Portland, ME

When you enter Dutch's cafeteria, you won't feel like you've wandered into a blast from the past with worn stools and fading wallpaper. Dutch's is bright and energetic, doesn't shy away from social media, and embraces fusion and fun with menu highlights like carrot cake and pineapple upside-down donuts as well as the spanakopita croissant. Homemade biscuits and English muffins are just the start of a strong menu at this cafeteria-style restaurant that boasts easygoing counter service in foodie-centric Portland.

Maryland: Ruby's Southern Kitchen, Bowie, MD

When it comes to celebrating the origins of soul food while showcasing some good old Southern hospitality, Ruby's Southern Kitchen in Bowie, Maryland is the real thing. Menu highlights include braised oxtail and banana pudding for dessert, but this popular cafeteria-style restaurant known for its ties to the local community has so many enticing options to choose from it might be a struggle not to overload your plate. Ruby's also bottles its own lemonade and iced tea.

Massachusetts: Brothers Restaurant & Deli, Peabody, MA

Made from scratch soups, scrumptious breakfasts, fresh salads, and a slew of traditional Greek foods are ready for the taking at Brothers Restaurant & Deli in Peabody. Home-cooked Greek and American specialties are accounted for at this New England cafeteria-style restaurant where diners can choose from daily-made muffins or killer sandwiches like chicken souvlaki or a B.L.T. club. Fresh New England seafood has its own section on the menu and entrees like moussaka and spinach pie are packed with Greece's native flavors.

Michigan: Z Chef's Cafe, Frankenmuth, MI

The legendary Zehnders of Frankenmuth has a secret in the basement: Z Chef's Cafe. It's the same quality food served in the dining room upstairs, accompanied by the same friendly service. But Z Chef's Cafe sets itself apart with a cafeteria setup and guest favorites like the seasonal fish fry buffet. If you don't require the traditional ambiance of the main dining room but love old-world dishes, head downstairs and have a meal in a more informal setting for half the price!

Minnesota: Cafe Latte, Saint Paul, MN

Cafe Latte in Saint Paul, Minnesota is yet another example of cafeteria dining with high-quality ingredients. This awesome cafeteria has 12 sandwich choices — including customizable options — pizzas made to order, and several soups and salads. You must save room for dessert at Cafe Latte. The beautiful sweets are baked daily, and the general consensus is that they are to die for. Enjoy a quick bite in this friendly and attractive atmosphere. Noteworthy elements include high ceilings and community-focused service with an emphasis on sustainable dining.

Mississippi: Bully's Restaurant, Jackson, MS

Grab a retro lunch tray and get full on some of the most authentic soul food you'll taste in The Magnolia State. What stands out about Bully's is the heart and soul of its humble beginnings. In the early 1980s, Co-owner Tyrone Bully and his father manually laid the bricks that would become the physical structure of the restaurant. Daily meat and threes are cooked in Bully's signature pork broth and patrons range from musicians laying tracks at the nearby Malaco Records Studio to political leaders. In 2016, Bully's Restaurant received a James Beard Award.

Missouri: PeachTree Cafeteria, Kansas City, MO

At PeachTree Cafeteria, seafood and hand-carved steak join a strong roster of cafeteria staples like macaroni and cheese, collard greens, candied yams, scalloped potatoes, and the holy grail of Southern-style comfort food, fried chicken. With two locations in Kansas City, Missouri, PeachTree Cafeteria adheres its focus to customer satisfaction, offering specialized menus in each location with distinctive entree options like pork neck bones and smothered chops to accompany the daily sides and desserts. Don't miss out on the peach cobbler or sweet potato pie.

Montana: Silver Bow Pizza Parlor, Butte, MT

Bloody Mary bar with skeeball? Yes, please. Silver Bow Pizza Parlor is a cafeteria-style joint that is known for its pizzas, but it sells a plethora of salads and sandwiches too. Everything is available in a quick-service format and enjoyed in a rustic dining room. Situated behind the natural beauty of Butte's landscape, Silver Bow Pizza Parlor has one of the best curb appeals of any cafeteria. It also has fun. After your meal, venture to the game room for a few rounds of arcade games.

Nebraska: Inner Rail Food Hall, Omaha, NE

Omaha's Aksarben Village advertises on its website that there's "always something fun" to be had, and Inner Rail Food Hall is part of the amusement. The former horse racing track is now home to a group of top-tier vendors whose culinary prospects provide some of the chicest cafeteria eats you'll find in the States. Inner Rail Food Hall brings international goodness to the table. Yes, there are burgers, pizza, and salads, but sushi, Indian food, and a lobster roll stand have also set up counter-style service in this vast space.

Nevada: Nevada Chicken Cafe, La Vegas, NV

Dining options in Sin City are endless, but if you're in the mood for chicken, why not stop in at Nevada Chicken Cafe? With cafeteria-style ambiance and service, Nevada Chicken Cafe has established itself as a comfort food go-to in Nevada since 2005. There are two locations in Las Vegas where nothing on the menu has been frozen, and the rotisserie chicken is as yummy as it gets. Online ordering, combos, and lunch boxes make enjoying a meal here easy and delicious.

New Hampshire: Rice and Beans 603 Salem, NH

Salem, New Hampshire's Rice and Beans 603 (that's the area code) began as a cafeteria serving Dominican cooking, but in recent times, the Caribbean eatery has branched out to include Puerto Rican classics as well, like mofongo, which is a must. New owner Tony Elias, a veteran of the food truck scene, knows a thing or two about Puerto Rican street food. Elias brings his flair to Rice and Beans 603, a place that has maintained a faithful following thanks to its flavorful cafeteria-style Latin cuisine.

New Jersey: Cafotteria Modern Eatery, Lakewood, NJ

Cafeterias are synonymous with comfort food, so why not consider getting lunch at Cafotteria Modern Eatery, a Kosher Dairy restaurant with a sophisticated cafeteria layout in Lakewood, New Jersey? The stylish dining room is a great palace to enjoy a meal whether it be a straightforward breakfast of an omelet and potato hash or a sushi-grade poké bowl. Prices will be steeper here than at other cafeterias (it's New Jersey), but it doesn't skimp on creativity — dessert picks include an oven-fired s'mores pizza.

New Mexico: La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe, Albuquerque, NM

La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe is a well-regarded, cafeteria-type of chain where visitors can order all kinds of French-influenced food. There are pastries, cakes, sandwiches (try the croque monsieur — not to be confused with a croque madame), and of course, crepes. All-day breakfast is a crowd-pleaser, as is the respectable list of espresso drinks. One visit to La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe will have you living la vie en rose right in the heart of the American Southwest.

New York: Johnny's Reef, Bronx, NY

In New York City, where you can eat pretty much anything and everything day or night, it may not have occurred to you to head up to City Island in the Bronx, but we suggest you do. The small island is home to Johnny's Reef, a seasonal cafeteria serving top-notch fired and steamed seafood of all kinds. The best part of Johnny's Reef is definitely the expansive outdoor patio where you can enjoy a frozen piña colada and a seafood platter with waterside views of Long Island Sound.

North Carolina: K&W Cafeteria, various locations

Since 1937 K&W has been bringing sought-after cafeteria fare to hungry patrons in North Carolina. K&W definitely brings the vintage vibes (baked spaghetti and beef liver are served here), but there's no doubt it has modernized. Those who aren't keen on waiting in a lunch line can place an online order and pick it up. K&W can also cater your next event. Ten locations can be found in North Carolina; there is one in Roanoke, Virginia as well.

North Dakota: Taquería El Guerro, Mandan, ND

These carne asada nachos can be yours in a North Dakota cafeteria. Modest yet mighty, Taquería El Guerro has counter service and a dining hall atmosphere, and its big flavors and fresh ingredients do not disappoint. Eggs and chorizo or a zesty breakfast burrito are a great way to start the day, but lunch plates of rice and refried beans paired with choice items like biria, empanadas, or enchiladas are not to be missed. 

Ohio: Mehlman Cafeteria, St. Clairsville, OH

Ohio's Mehlman Cafeteria brings a taste of wholesome country fare to the small city of St. Clairsville where it has reached near-landmark status. The patterned wallpaper in the accent-lit dining room gives it an old-school look, and the low prices of the cafeteria items also harken back to an earlier time. Mehlman Cafeteria makes no bones about serving classics (cole slaw and tapioca pudding are present) on the steam table line. Diners seeking comfort food will enjoy the fried chicken and sides.

Oklahoma: Nelson's Buffeteria, Tulsa, OK

Nelson's Buffeteria is a Tulsa landmark that's been in business since 1929. Nelson's is open Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch only, which starts at 10:30 a.m. and ends just after 2. The menu here is intentionally old-fashioned; you can pile your cafeteria tray with comforting fixtures like chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak, or maybe you'd like to take a gamble on a weekly special — standard or a blue plate variety. Special entrees could consist of barbeque ribs, liver and onions, or blue plate specials like Salisbury steak.

Oregon: Jackson's Corner, Bend, OR

In 2008, the century-old Delaware Grocery & Ice House in Bend, Oregon was revamped into Jackson's Corner, a market with a cafeteria that also cooks up brunch and dinner seven days a week. Jackson's Corner bakes a variety of housemade bread — all made with organic flour. The most popular items are the artisan pizzas that utilize local ingredients. Jackson's Corner works with several local farms to bring to life a cafeteria that strives to bring an array of in-season ingredients to its counter while supporting the community.

Pennsylvania: Black Forest Deli & Catering, Bethlehem, PA

Authentic Eastern European delights served in a simple setting are what BlackForest Deli & Catering has become famous for. Owners "Mama" and her daughter Vica bring rich flavors of their roots — which lie in Kiev — to the 18-seat communal space in Bethlehem. Pierogies stuffed with ingredients to suit any taste (fillings include blueberry, farmer's cheese, cabbage, and more), borscht, rassolnik (that's pickle soup, and yes you should try it), and blinis. BlackForest also hosts exclusive five-course Kiev dinners, a family-style affair eaten at a long table in the dining area.

Rhode Island: Livi's Pockets, Providence, RI

If you're looking for a straightforward, cafeteria-esque eatery in Rhode Island, check out Livi's Pockets located within Providence's Westminster Arcade Shopping Galleria. Humble yet impactful, Livi's has exacted the science behind serving consistent, flavorful gyros and wraps to its many admirers. The Middle Eastern restaurant has built a solid reputation for its hospitable service, pillowy falafel, and made-to-order wraps. Faithful customers of Livi's Pockets rave about the consistency, variety, and affordability of its well-rounded menu items.

South Carolina: S&S Cafeterias, various locations

S&S has two South Carolina locations: one in Charleston and the other in Greenville. There are also three in Georgia, and another in Knoxville, Tennessee. S&S has been serving classic Southern cafeteria fare for more than 85 years and makes all of its dishes from scratch, heaping portions of fried and baked chicken, turnip greens, macaroni and cheese, and daily specials. The consistent quality of the food at S&S Cafeterias has clearly stood the test of time for a reason.

South Dakota: Feel Good Cafe, Custer, SD

It's breakfast only at Feel Good Cafe, located inside the Bavarian Inn! South Dakota's Black Hills is a place of monumental beauty (no really, Mount Rushmore is there), and enjoying a bite to eat at Feel Good Cafe is a pleasant addition to your visit. You can choose from delectable oatmeal bowls, rows of breakfast sandwiches, slices of gluten-free quiche, and a proper espresso menu. Be sure to grab a mini kuchen — South Dakota's official dessert — on the way out.

Tennessee: Belle Meade Meat & Three, Nashville, TN

Craving the unexpected? Nashville's Belle Meade Meat & Three, located on the grounds of the Belle Meade historic site, is a cafeteria where the meat and sides change every day but you can always count on getting something good to eat. Belle Meade Meat & Three frequently serves catfish, pulled pork, or smoked meatloaf along with sides like black-eyed peas, green beans, and mashed potatoes. It is open seven days a week from 11 to 3 and has a spacious covered patio.

Texas: Cleburne Cafeteria, Houston, TX

A big, space brimming with history is Cleburne Cafeteria's claim to fame. Cleburne Cafeteria was established in 1941 and was later run by a Greek immigrant (and the cafeteria's resident artist) named Nick Mickelis and his wife Pat. The couple used to live above the cafeteria and treated employees and patrons like family. Over 85 years later, Cleburne Cafeteria is visited by regulars who come for the country-style entrees and hand-selected seafood that's filleted in-house. Despite twice being destroyed by fires, Cleburne's remains a family-oriented cafeteria and a cherished part of Houston's history.

Utah: Summit at Snowbird, Salt Lake County, UT

If a cafeteria with a view is what you're after, check out The Summit at Snowbird, the popular ski resort in Salt Lake County, Utah. The grandiose convex windows give way to unparalleled views of the Rocky Mountains while the food options stretch from three-cheese paninis to vegan meatloaf, rotisserie chicken with sides, and brioche bread pudding. Snowbird is a tourist attraction, and The Summit is one of the pricier cafeterias on the list, but the meals here are a quick and comforting option after a day on the slopes.

Vermont: Pioneer Lakeshore Café, Colchester, VT

The Burlington area of northern Vermont has a prominent street food scene, but Pioneer Lakeshore Café in Colchester, a former food truck that transformed into a cafeteria, is making a name for itself. Mega-sized sandwiches stuffed with local ingredients, hand-cut french fries (with varieties like truffle and gravy), and the alpaca burger are just a few things to look forward to at Pioneer Lakeshore Café. Line up at the counter to get your food, and there's also beer, wine, cider, and housemade lemonade.

Virginia: Cafe Right Angle, Fairfax, VA

Sometimes you just want a really straightforward, good club sandwich — or a quick meal that doesn't involve a bunch of processed food. Cafe Right Angle in Fairfax is the place to get exactly that. It's a simple, pleasant place with discounted prices and wholesome menu items. One of its biggest selling points is the daily roasted turkey. Plus, there's a hot food bar, a full breakfast menu, and a catering service. Just be advised that Cafe Right Angle is closed on the weekends.

Washington: Uwajimaya Village Food Court, Seattle, WA

You could throw a rock and hit a trendy cafe in Seattle, but cafeteria-inspired grub isn't the easiest to come by. Still, if you're looking for a fast-paced, hot-off-the-counter institution in Washington state, stop for a meal at Uwajimaya Village Food Court, located inside the Uwajimaya grocery store. This place is a treasure trove of unique food stalls serving some seriously delicious Asian delicacies like Japanese takoyaki. Korean BBQ, soba noodles, and baked goods are steps away from each other in a cafeteria-style experience.

Washington DC: Mitsitam Native Foods

Mitsitam Native Foods is located at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, in Washington D.C. Mitsitam means "let's eat" in the language of the Delaware and Piscataway native peoples, a sentiment you'll be happy to take literally in this cafeteria. At the food stations, you'll get to see and taste traditional Native American items like fry bread, bison, and fish cooked on cedar planks. Sweet offerings can also be found at Mitsitam, like pretty-as-a-picture glazed fruit tarts, rice pudding, and cherry fennel whoopie pies.

West Virginia: Tamarack, Beckley, West Virginia

The Tamarack Marketplace is a cafeteria-style establishment where art, wellness, and social happenings thrive. If you visit, have lunch at the cafeteria where sandwich specials are in abundant supply. You could enjoy regional classics like the hot Kentucky brown, fried green tomato, or a fusion-inspired twist on an old-school favorite like the catfish Rueben. Chicken pot pie, meatloaf with gravy, and a West Virginia rainbow trout are among the lunch and dinner options. Brunch enthusiasts should not snooze on Tamarack where all-day brunch is a Sunday ritual.

Wisconsin: Downtown Kitchen, Milwaukee, WI

Downtown Kitchen in Milwaukee is a mess hall-style cafeteria with an elegant twist. The cafeteria lines in the expansive space stay orderly due to a multitude of stations that include categories like subs, salads, bakery, taco and burrito fare, and pizza of course! Downtown Kitchen's versatility makes for an easy and satisfying meal whether you work in the area and want to make your lunch break count, or you're looking for a flexible dining option with a group of friends.

Wyoming: Pitchfork Fondue, Pinedale, WY

In Wyoming, it makes sense to have a food assembly line with jaw-dropping mountain views. Pitchfork Fondue does this perfectly. The best cafeterias serve authentic, heartfelt food, and when you attend a Pitchfork Fondue cookout, you'll feel the love in every bite. Pitchfork Fondue is an open-air cafeteria that kicks it cowboy style. To get the full effect, you'll need to get in touch with your carnivore side — hunks of wood-fired sirloin steak served on pitchfork tines are arguably the main event, but you can also sample chicken, trout, and vegetable skewers.