These Restaurants Are America's Classics, According To The James Beard Foundation

Anyone who loves exploring the United States restaurant scene may be familiar with the James Beard Foundation and its namesake awards. According to the organization's website, the nonprofit was founded to "celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America's food culture," honoring innovative chefs who have elevated the art of cooking across the country. The foundation grants awards to individual chefs each year, but it also recognizes the restaurants that have shaped the country's food culture through its America's Classics awards.

According to the James Beard Foundation, the organization established this award category in 1998 to honor restaurants of particular cultural importance. It has now announced its 2022 winners, consisting of six restaurants across the nation that are each "beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of its community." Here are the winners, which will be celebrated this summer at the foundation's yearly awards ceremony in Chicago.

The winners serve butter burgers, Chinese-American cuisine, and soul food

The James Beard Foundation gave restaurants in California, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Georgia, New York, and Oklahoma its America's Classics awards this year. Los Angeles' family-run Casa Vega helped introduce Mexican cuisine to the area back in 1956, serving diners staples like enchiladas and tostadas. Corinne's Place in Camden, New Jersey, has been a soul food destination for fried chicken, turkey wings, black-eyed peas, and more for the last 30 years. Milwaukee's Solly's Grille popularized the iconic butter burger — served in a small pool of Wisconsin butter — nearly 90 years ago. In New York City, the owner of Chinese-American spot Wo Hop said it's still serving the same "old-fashioned, chop suey-style food" it did in 1938.

Atlanta's Busy Bee Café opened in 1947 and has fed soul food classics, from catfish and collard greens to ham hocks and mac and cheese, to civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. Lastly, Florence's Restaurant in Oklahoma City has dished out "good country food for the soul" since 1952. Florence Kemp, the namesake owner who was born in 1931, continues to oversee the kitchen with her daughter. These historic tastes of Americana, according to the James Beard Foundation, have helped define what it's like to eat in the U.S.