The 50 Best Drive-In Restaurants in the U.S.

iStock
iStock

The prime of American drive-ins might be behind us, but there are still plenty of these nostalgic roadside eateries available. Whether you're looking for a quick bite or a more specialty meal, drive-ins offer one benefit that most other restaurants simply can't—fries and floats from the comfort of your own vehicle.

1. ORIGINAL SONIC DRIVE-IN // STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA

sign at the original sonic drive-in
Yelp/Kenneth H.

Sonic might now be America’s largest chain of drive-ins, but it got its start as a single restaurant with a slogan of "Service with the Speed of Sound." The original Stillwater location opened in 1959 and was fully renovated in 2015—it now has TVs to watch sports and an outdoor fire feature, but the the original sign is still on display and the carhops will still roller-skate out to your vehicle to deliver cherry limeades, chili cheese coneys, and tots.

2. MUGS UP ROOT BEER // INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI

Located in the Kansas City metropolitan area, Mugs Up has been serving homemade root beer in old-fashioned frosted mugs since 1956. And with their trademark loose-meat Zip Burgers still only costing $2.15, and a side of onion rings only setting you back $1.75, Mugs Up feels like a preserved slice of mid-century Americana.

3. RED RABBIT DRIVE-IN // DUNCANNON, PENNSYLVANIA

The '50s-style Red Rabbit Drive-In hasn't changed much since Sam and Maggie Snyder opened on Mother’s Day 1964: You’ll still find fried chicken dinners, ice cream, pizzas, made-to-order milkshakes (in regular and thick!), and fries sprinkled in “Bunny Dust” on the menu, and it’s still in the family—Sam and Maggie retired in 1988 and handed the baton to their daughter, Cindy, and her husband. Stop by and sink your teeth into the drive-in’s signature Bunny Burger, a beef patty with smoked bacon, melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, and a special mayonnaise-based sauce on "a special seeded roll." There’s no indoor seating, but hungry diners only have to put on their hazards and a server will come out to their car; they either eat in their vehicles or at picnic tables. Red Rabbit is closed in December and January; plan accordingly!

4. THE VARSITY // ATLANTA, GEORGIA

the varisty drive-in
Ken Lund, Flickr // CC by SA 2.0

If you’re looking for a chili dog in the ATL, the call of Varsity’s signature "What’ll ya have?" is too hard to resist. When it opened in 1928, Varsity was a small hot dog stand located near Georgia Tech University, perfect for college kids to pop in for a cheap bite. Today, it’s a sprawling restaurant that can accommodate 800 people inside and 600 cars, and the carhops still don paper caps while delivering Frosted Orange milkshakes and slaw dogs to the masses.

5. MATT'S PLACE DRIVE-IN // BUTTE, MONTANA

Matt’s Place, opened by Matt Korn in 1930, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. There are plenty of delicious treats to try here, from hand-churned ice cream to a BBQ pork sandwich, but the real stand-out is the Nut Burger. Cooks use an ice cream scoop to toss the ground beef on the grill; it’s flattened into a patty, cooked, and placed on a bun, where it’s topped with Miracle Whip mixed with salty chopped peanuts. There are seats inside this 2016 winner of the James Beard American Classics Award, but car-hop service is also available.

6. CAMERON'S LOBSTER HOUSE // BRUNSWICK, MAINE

When in Maine, stop by Cameron’s Lobster House in Brunswick. This drive-in seafood spot serves fresh-caught crab and lobster with every meal, including breakfast (crabmeat omelet, anyone?). Whatever time you stop by, come hungry: Menu options include a seafood combo appetizer (half a pint of scallops, shrimp, and crabs), lobster stew accompanied by oyster crackers and a grilled biscuit, and a "must try" lobster BLT that comes with chips and a pickle (if you upgrade the sandwich to a basket for an additional $3, you can choose an additional two sides). Park and leave your lights on for car-side service (there are also options to eat inside the restaurant or at outdoor picnic tables).

7. ARDY & ED'S DRIVE IN // OSHKOSH, WISCONSIN

ardy and ed's drive-in
Ardy & Ed's

Ardy & Ed's Drive In has been a summer staple in Oshkosh since 1948. Originally called the Southside A & W Drive In, it served root beer, hot dogs, and chips, before changing names—and owners—and becoming Ardy & Ed's Drive In. Even if you don’t own a vintage convertible, you can still swing by and order a draft root beer and drink it by the shores of Lake Winnebago.

8. DRIVE IN // TAYLORS FALLS, MINNESOTA

Located in the tiny town of Taylors Falls, the Drive-In turns cars into a time machine that transports passengers back to the 1950s. Poodle skirt-clad carhops bring orders of crinkle-cut fries, homemade root beer, and bison—yes, bison—burgers.

9. FENCE DRIVE-IN // MILTON, PENNSYLVANIA

Enjoy the Susquehanna River view with your burger while dining at Fence Drive-In Restaurant, a roadside drive-in located on Pennsylvania’s Route 405. It’s famous for its fish sandwich, but owner Matt Rabb also serves fresh-cut French fries; hand-breaded shrimp, scallops, and chicken; and homemade tartar sauce, red sauce, and cabbage salad, using the same recipes that founders Bob and Elva Reitz used when they first opened the Fence in 1951.

10. WAGNER'S DRIVE-IN RESTAURANT // BROOKLYN PARK, MINNESOTA

wagner's drive in
Yelp/Kohleen L.

Twin Cities residents with classic cars can show off their rides at the family-operated Wagner’s Drive-In Restaurant, which hosts a Monday Night Cruise Night where a group of motorheads called "The Wag-Niters" meet to enjoy fast-food favorites, admire other vehicles, and enjoy one another’s company. (Just don’t get any ketchup on their seats.)

11. SUMBURGER RESTAURANT // CHILLICOTHE, OHIO

Opened in 1953, Sumburger Drive-in in Chillicothe, Ohio was originally housed in a trailer and fittingly named "Trailer Drive-in." The following year, the restaurant moved to its present-day location, expanded, and changed its name to Logan View Drive-in. But since customers referred to their burgers as "some burger," they changed their name to its present moniker in 1974. Enjoy bourbon-fried chicken, fresh strawberry pie, and burgers smothered in a special "sumburger sauce" delivered carside, or drive across town to Sumburger’s newly opened sit-down restaurant for an indoor meal.

12. THE CHATTERBOX // AUGUSTA, NEW JERSEY

Settle in outside the Chatterbox or in its cozy, circular dining room for good food, classic cars and motorcycles, and great conversation. Expanding on the traditional drive-in’s all-fast-food menu, The Chatterbox offers wraps and seafood, too, although you can’t go wrong with a hefty half-pound Angus burger.

13. SUPERDAWG DRIVE-IN // CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

superdawg drive in
Jondoeforty1, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A Chicago institution for almost 70 years, Superdawg brings only the best in all-beef hot dogs and classic, kitschy culture. Don’t miss the gift shop for t-shirts, key rings, and wedding cake toppers, all emblazoned with the drive-in’s lovable dancing hot dog mascots. "From the bottom of our pure beef hearts," the slogan goes, "thanks for stopping."

14. SKYWAY DRIVE-IN // AKRON, OHIO

Love fast food but hate feeling guilty about where your food comes from? The Skyway is the place for you. All of the drive-in’s burgers and sandwiches are made with fresh, locally sourced food. Dig in to their signature double-decker Sky Hi burger with cheese, pickles, and their special house Ski Hi sauce.

15. ED WALKER'S DRIVE-IN // FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS

The oversized neon sign outside of Ed Walker's may advertise their French dipped sandwiches, but according to reviews, the real showstopper is the Giant Cheeseburger—5 pounds of beef on a homemade sourdough bun, which comes with a pie server for dishing up slices of burger. Rumor has it that when Ed's first opened in 1943, they served a side of moonshine to those in the know. Though that’s likely no longer the case today, customers can still legally get a beer delivered to their cars.

16. BAR-B-Q KING DRIVE-IN // CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

There will be no multitasking here; the fare at Bar-B-Q King is sit-down-and-focus food that requires both hands and a lot of napkins. Guy Fieri of the Food Network is partial to the eatery’s barbecue fried chicken. Add some onion rings and a cherry lemon SunDrop and you’ll be good to go.

17. SYCAMORE DRIVE-IN // BETHEL, CONNECTICUT

sycamore drive in
Janine Lamontagne

Once a week during the summer, the sleepy little town of Bethel becomes a hotspot of rock and roll. Sunday cruise nights at the Sycamore drive-in draw chromed-up classic cars, leather jackets, and laughter from all over the local area. Be sure not to miss their root beer float with homemade root beer.

18. STEWART'S // VARIOUS LOCATIONS

You might know the name for their root beer—invented by Ohio teacher Frank Stewart in the 1920s—but Stewart's has evolved to include about a dozen drive-ins scattered across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia (they also have sit-down restaurants). Customers rave about the chili dogs, crinkle-cut fries, vast menu, friendly service, and of course, the root beer floats.

19. DICK'S DRIVE-IN RESTAURANTS // SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

One of the few Northwest drive-throughs left, Dick's is a nostalgic throwback in a city experiencing rapid change; several of the five Seattle locations date back to the 1950s or early '60s. Although the simple burgers (with locally made buns) don’t offer any customization, they're a great deal and a beloved late-night eat. Fans especially swear by the cheeseburgers.

20. FRISCO'S CARHOPS // CITY OF INDUSTRY, CALIFORNIA

frisco's drive in
Yelp/Brenda A.

Frisco’s carhops serve more than just burgers. The Carhops—who are decked out in pink skirts and roller skates—will deliver your food with a side of song and dance. The house specialty is the parmesan sourdough bread, which they swap for the buns on their burgers, but the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in case you need a pancake pick-me-up in the morning.

21. AMMONS DRIVE-INN RESTAURANT AND DAIRY BAR // WAYNESVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

If you want an old-timey meal at an old-timey price, you can't go wrong at Ammons, where a hamburger still costs less than $2. The menu has more than just burgers, though. You can also pick up some fried seafood, barbecue pork, a whole cheesecake, or one of their handmade shakes. The nearby Asheville Press recommends the cobbler, which comes in various flavors that rotate throughout the week.

22. MAC'S DRIVE-IN // WATERLOO, NEW YORK

Mac’s Drive-In has been operating every summer since 1961, when it was one of the first fast-food joints in its area and the first to offer curb service. Locals and tourists visiting the Finger Lakes have eagerly awaited the hamburger stand’s opening day ever since. In 2015, they served up 1500 pounds of French fries—all cut fresh on-site—on the first day of the season alone. Don’t leave without a frosty mug of Richardson’s beer, which they pour from a mini-keg that’s been a fixture on the front counter since the restaurant first opened.

23. CHUCK-A-BURGER // ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Chuck-A-Burger's '50s-style burger and shake experience doesn't end with the food: On the last Saturday of each month through September, the drive-in hosts a classic car show featuring customs and hot rods.

24. DARI-ETTE DRIVE IN // ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA

dariette drive-in
Jerry Huddleston, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The Dari-ette Drive In goes beyond the normal burger-and-fries fare of most diners, serving up Italian specialties, too. Operating since 1951, they claim to serve the best meatballs in the Twin Cities and were featured on the first season of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. If you can’t give up the idea of having a burger at a drive-in, you can order the Pizza Burger, a patty melt made with Italian seasoning and homemade red sauce.

25. THE BEACON DRIVE-IN // SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA

It may not be great for up-close conversing—the place goes through three tons of onions a week—but the seven-decade-old Beacon is worth the drive for its Chili-Cheese-A-Plenty, a burger drowning in chili and French-fried potatoes.

26. DOG HOUSE DRIVE IN // ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO

In general, walking in the footsteps of Breaking Bad's Jesse Pinkman is a terrible idea. Hitting up Dog House along Route 66, as he does several times in the AMC series, is one of the exceptions. Dog House is known for its spicy chili dogs, but patrons also say Dog House makes the best Frito Pie around.

27. KING TUT DRIVE-IN // BECKLEY, WEST VIRGINIA

You can get your burger fix here, but King Tut's menu is more than beef: Stone-baked pizza is served daily, and all of their breads are made in-house. Opening daily (save for Wednesdays) at 11 a.m., workers get there early to start making pies from scratch.

28. PEPPERMINT TWIST // DELANO, MINNESOTA

Gourmet burgers attract the adults, but it's the adjoining teddy bear-themed playground that keeps the kids occupied at Peppermint Twist, a favorite of Delano locals. The location was painted hot pink in the 1980s to make sure they stood out against a nearby Hardee's. It worked, and the Twist is a regular fixture of Minnesota "best of" lists.

29. KELLER'S DRIVE-IN // DALLAS, TEXAS

Keller's is one of the few places in America you can drive up, order a beer, and sip it in your car. If suds aren't your thing, you'll still get a buzz from their famous No. 5 burger—two patties on a poppy-seed bun.

30. BILL'S HOT DOG STAND // YPSILANTI, MICHIGAN

Famous for their chili dogs, Bill's also offers up a little bit of performance art. When patrons pull up to the bright yellow shop, car hops take their order instead of a speaker system. The servers then relay the menu items to workers inside via hand signal.

31. BOOMER'S DRIVE-IN // BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON

Homemade milkshakes are practically a prerequisite for any self-respecting drive-in, but Boomer's goes a step further by sourcing from a local dairy farm. The custom is to order one of their regular or monthly special shakes and then use it as a dip for their trademark waffle fries.

32. CORRAL DRIVE-IN // GUYMON, OKLAHOMA

The menu at this drive-in movie theater goes beyond popcorn. The Corral is home to a full-kitchen pizzeria and grill serving up specialties like calzones and Philly cheesesteaks, but customers who don’t have the appetite for a full meal can find more typical movie theater concessions like hot dogs, nachos, and chili cheese fries as well.

33. GEORGE THE CHILI KING // DES MOINES, IOWA

george the chili king signage
Yelp/David D.

George the Chili King opened in the 1950s when drive-ins were a popular option for hungry motorists. A lot has changed since then, but their carhop service and all-American menu remains the same. The restaurant serves drive-in classics like burgers and fries, but (obviously) it's the chili that made it a local institution.

34. BOBO'S DRIVE IN // TOPEKA, KANSAS

Located on 10th Avenue in Topeka, Kansas, Bobo’s Drive-In is hard to miss. Hungry travelers can recognize it from the neon tubing poking out from the roof or the vintage 7-Up sign overlooking the road. Inside and in the parking lot, Bobo’s serves specialties like onion rings, apple pie, and burgers topped with their signature Spanish sauce.

35. MURDO DRIVE-IN // MURDO, SOUTH DAKOTA

Murdo Drive-In has been serving comforting roadside fare to locals for over 30 years. Every May, the restaurant reopens and fires up the grill for customers dining inside, on the front patio, or in their cars. But note that they close for the season on August 31, so you'll have to go elsewhere for burgers and soft-serve during the fall and winter months.

36. FROSTOP DRIVE-IN // VARIOUS LOCATIONS

You can't miss Frostop—it’s the drive-in with the giant rotating mug of creamy root beer perched on top of the building (or on a pole). The first Frostop opened in Springfield, Ohio, in 1926, serving classic soda fountain fare like burgers, shakes, and, of course, frosty mugs of root beer. Frostop had 350 locations across the U.S. at its peak in the early 1960s, but now they're down to just a handful in Louisiana, Illinois, Idaho, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Utah. You'd do well to find one, whether for the nostalgia factor or for the cold-brewed root beer made from the original recipe.

37. RAINBOW DRIVE-IN // HONOLULU, HAWAII

Rainbow Drive in
Eugene Peretz, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

When Rainbow Drive-In first opened in 1961, the menu included $.25 hamburgers and $1 steak lunches. Prices have inflated a bit since then, but the owners still pride themselves in serving classic Hawaiian lunch plates—with plenty of mahi mahi and spam options— at affordable prices.

38. MAC'S DRIVE-IN // MCCOOK, NEBRASKA

For homemade pies and tarts, thick shakes, and perfectly crispy fries, look no further than Mac's in McCook, Nebraska. Customers can order from their cars or opt for an inside booth, where they place their orders using phones at each table. And if that’s not kitschy enough for you, you can always order the Jell-O salad for just $1.60.

39. MOON LIGHT DRIVE IN // TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA

The Moon Light Drive In is appropriately named—it’s just a five-minute drive from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. When the owners opened the now-iconic establishment in 1964, they had the Apollo missions in mind. Locals and NASA tourists alike rave about the perfectly cooked burgers and creamy milkshakes, which one Yelper declares "the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my entire life."

40. DOUMAR'S DRIVE-IN // NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

Doumar's Drive-In.
iStock

After introducing the first waffle cone at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, Abe Doumar turned his sweet invention into a business. Doumar's still uses Abe’s original waffle iron to make their ice cream cones 100 years later. Ice cream isn’t the only item you’ll find on the menu of this Virginia drive-in. They also serve burgers, hot dogs, and barbecue.

41. KING LOUIE'S DRIVE-IN // WOOD RIVER, ILLINOIS

This St. Louis-area burger stand is enough of a local fixture that when the owners of 18 years made the recent decision to start closing the restaurant each Sunday, they posted their personal cell phone number for patrons to call them with questions and comments. While you're there, make sure to try the homemade root beer, which you can buy by the gallon, and if you dare, try the King of the Jungle Challenge—if you can finish a 2-pound burger, loaded potato planks, and a 32-ounce soda in under 30 minutes, you’ll win a t-shirt and eternal glory.

42. RODEO DRIVE-IN // BREMETON, WASHINGTON

Built in 1949, the Rodeo Drive-In now claims to be largest drive-in movie theater north of California (they can hold about 1000 cars) as well as one of the oldest in the country. But they’re also known for having a great food selection, including Philly cheesesteaks, "mega-pizzas" with all the toppings, fish and chips, and distinctive pizza dogs. The use of a pager system means you can watch the movie in your car (they have a selection of latest releases, not just old favorites!) while you wait for your food, instead of standing in line.

43. WAYNE'S DRIVE INN // LAWTON, OKLAHOMA

Locals love the juicy burgers, steak fingers, ice cream, onion rings, and endless drink combinations at Wayne's (they've got 12 homemade flavors for mixing; the cherry limeade is a particular specialty). The servings run large, and so does the nostalgia—the business has been open since 1950.

44. AVI'S SCREAMERS // WICKENBURG, ARIZONA

avi's screamers drive in
Yelp/Rob P.

People drive from out of town just for their green chili burgers and chili cheese fries at Screamers, and leave raving about the taste and low prices. More than just a novelty stop, the hand-pressed burgers won’t disappoint.

45. JERRY'S CURB SERVICE // BEAVER, PENNSYLVANIA

Jerry's Curb Service has been flipping burgers and delivering fries and shakes to your car window since 1947. As legend has it, the Steak Salad was invented at Jerry's in the 1960s when an unnamed patron ordered a steak sandwich, hold the bun, with fries and salad dressing. According to Jerry’s, "Not one to disappoint a customer, [Jerry's wife] Donna Reed placed the order. She noticed the man cut up the steak, mixed in the fries and poured the salad dressing on top. Curious about this rather odd concoction, Donna decided to try it for herself, but with one small change. Donna placed her sliced steak, fries and salad dressing atop a fresh bed of lettuce." Today you can order Donna’s version as well as the man’s original order.

46. DON'S DRIVE-IN // TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN

With its neon sign, red banquettes, and summertime carhop service, Don's Drive-In is a delightful 1950s throwback. The menu is chock full of American diner classics—burgers and dogs (cooked "the way you like 'em," chicken fingers, patty melts, onion rings, and hand-dipped milkshakes and malts—and has barely changed since Don’s opened its doors in 1958 (although we’re guessing the veggie burger is new).

47. THE PARKETTE DRIVE-IN // LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY

Originally opened by Joe Smiley in 1951, the Parkette underwent a renovation and restoration in 2008. New owners Jeff and Randy Kaplan may have given the kitchen and dining room a makeover, but the car port call boxes, carhops, and landmark 40-foot-tall sign remain. Order a Poor Boy—a double-decker burger with all the fixings invented by Smiley—a Hot Brown Burger, or some Kentucky fried chicken for a gut-busting meal. The Parkette also hosts regular "cruise ins," or classic car showcases, in its parking lot.

48. THE DONUT HOLE // LA PUENTE, CALIFORNIA

The donut hole
Yelp/Indah K.

If you’re the kind of person who is afraid of driving through tunnels, the Donut Hole might be the place that helps you get over the phobia. Drive into short tunnel that’s capped by two 26-foot fiberglass doughnuts. The landmark, founded in 1968, is open 24 hours and boasts flavors ranging from the classic cake doughnut to ones covered in Fruity Pebbles.

49. FALAFEL'S DRIVE-IN // SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA

In 1966, Anton and Zahie Nijmeh moved to San Jose and opened a drive-in, where they sold typical American fare like burgers, hot dogs, and onion rings. But that was just the beginning. The couple slowly started to introduce falafel and other middle eastern foods into the mix. Where else do gyros, kabobs, tabbouleh, and delicious "yogurt drink" share menu space with fries and shakes?

50. CHARLIE'S DRIVE-IN // HORTONVILLE, WISCONSIN

When it comes to Charlie's Drive-In, Elvis has never left the building: For less than three bucks, the King of Rock can serve you a classic burger. Each Tuesday, the restaurant, which has been operating for 1965, hosts a classic car night where anybody driving a classic Chevy or Caddy will get a free mug of root beer with a sandwich.

Written by Erika Berlin, Stacy Conradt, Michele Debczak, Kirstin Fawcett, Shaunacy Ferro, Kate Horowitz, Bess Lovejoy, Erin McCarthy, Lucas Reilly, Jake Rossen, and Abbey Stone.

McDonald's Shamrock Shake Is Back—Here's How to Find One

Todd Van Hoosear, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY SA 2.0
Todd Van Hoosear, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY SA 2.0

While most people were still thinking about Valentine's Day, McDonald's quietly added a seasonal favorite to its menu in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day on March 17. The Shamrock Shake, a pale green, whipped cream-topped milkshake that tastes like mint, returned to McDonald's the week of February 11, Business Insider reports.

As was the case in past years, the shake is only available at select locations, but 2019 marks the first time that McDonald's has added a Shamrock Shake locator to its app. If you log in to the McDonald's app and enter your zip code, you'll be shown a map of the restaurants in your area that are selling the item.

Since it first appeared at McDonald's in the 1970s, the Shamrock Shake has grown into one of the chain's most successful special offerings. It's been sold under different names (like the St. Patrick's Day Green Milkshake), and it's inspired different promotional gimmicks (from Uncle O'Grimacey to a straw designed by aerospace engineers), but the minty milkshake itself hasn't changed much over the decades.

The Shamrock Shake comes in small ($2.19), medium ($2.59), and large ($2.99) sizes. It's now available at select McDonald's restaurants while supplies last through March 24.

[h/t Business Insider]

The Best Chocolate Shop in All 50 States

iStock.com/TorriPhoto
iStock.com/TorriPhoto

Chocolate is one of life's sweet, simple pleasures. And luckily, there are plenty of chocolatiers across the country who are happy to help you indulge your chocolate cravings. Whether you have a hankering for truffles, handmade chocolate bars, or chocolate-covered marshmallows, here are the best chocolate shops in all 50 states.

1. Best Chocolate Shop in Alabama: Peterbrooke Chocolatier

chocolate-covered popcorn in a bowl
iStock.com/LauriPatterson

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Take a bite out of one of the chocolate treats at Peterbrooke Chocolatier, and you'll quickly realize why this shop is a step above the rest. The most fun, decadent confections here are the chocolate-covered popcorn, pretzels, and Oreos.

2. Best Chocolate Shop in Alaska: The Alaskan Fudge Company

Location: Juneau, Alaska

Founded in 1980, The Alaskan Fudge Company makes killer fudge and chocolate treats ranging from Husky Paws (chocolate, pecans, and caramel) to cappuccino truffles. For something lighter, try the white chocolate-dipped apricots.

3. Best Chocolate Shop in Arizona: Chocofin Chocolatier

Location: Fountain Hills, Arizona

This bean-to-bar craft chocolate shop treats the humble cocoa bean with the utmost care and respect. Try their small-batch, handmade chocolate bars, nut barks, and banana macadamia chocolate, in which banana ganache is topped with a salted macadamia nut.

4. Best Chocolate Shop in Arkansas: Sweet's Fudge Kitchen

blocks of fudge on a plate
iStock.com/pamela_d_mcadams

Location: Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Established in 1969, Sweet's Fudge Kitchen focuses on fresh ingredients to make the absolute best chocolates. Besides almond and cashew turtles, the shop also sells a mouthwatering fudge, hard candies, and licorice.

5. Best Chocolate Shop in California: Edelweiss

Location: Beverly Hills, California

Since opening in 1942, Edelweiss has served Hollywood legends including Frank Sinatra and Katharine Hepburn. The shop's assembly line even inspired the famous chocolate factory scene in I Love Lucy's episode "Job Switching." Today, Edelweiss's chocolate-dipped marshmallows (available in flavors such as mocha, mint, and coconut) are super-popular.

6. Best Chocolate Shop in Colorado: Chocolate Lab

Location: Denver, Colorado

For anyone curious about the chemistry of food, Chocolate Lab might be the coolest place ever. Pick up an assortment of their hand-crafted chocolates and uniquely flavored truffles, or stay for lunch and dinner. The menu features soups, sandwiches, and salads that thoughtfully incorporate chocolate. Try the fantastic chocolate balsamic glaze and chocolate barbecue sauce.

7. Best Chocolate Shop in Connecticut: Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe

outside view of Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe

Frank Di Martino, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Ridgefield, Connecticut

Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe has plenty of homemade ice cream, candy, and fudge, but the chocolates are truly the star at this lovely store. Wondering what to get? Start with the chocolate-covered strawberries, then see where your taste buds take you.

8. Best Chocolate Shop in Delaware: Sweet Serenity Chocolates

Location: Seaford, Delaware

Owned by a husband and wife team, Sweet Serenity Chocolates is all about building community through chocolate. The store's most tasty items include the hand-dipped buttercream truffles and cookies and cream bark.

9. Best Chocolate Shop in Florida: Key Largo Chocolates

Location: Key Largo, Florida

This fun, bright shop in the Florida Keys serves truffles, bark, fudge, and cake pops enveloped in luscious chocolate. The handmade chocolate truffles are, appropriately, available in tropical flavors such as coconut rum, key lime, and banana daiquiri.

10. Best Chocolate Shop in Georgia: Chocolat by Adam Turoni

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Savannah's charming historic district has two Chocolat by Adam Turoni locations, to the delight of locals and visitors alike. The whimsical stores serve artisan truffles, caramelized chocolate covered hazelnuts, and an amazing Savannah honey chocolate bar, which is made with 72 percent dark chocolate, local wildflower honey, and 24k gold dust.

11. Best Chocolate Shop in Hawaii: Manoa

Location: Kailua, Hawaii

This bean-to-bar chocolate factory and retail store uses single origin cacao from around the world to make a variety of dark chocolate confections. The shop's most popular chocolate bar is made with roasted cacao nibs and coffee beans, but don't overlook the incredible lavender bar, which is made with 60 percent cacao and Ali'i Kula lavender.

12. Best Chocolate Shop in Idaho: The Chocolat Bar

Red and gold-flecked bonbon
iStock.com/TorriPhoto

Location: Boise, Idaho

Customers at The Chocolat Bar can find creative, artistic chocolate treats ranging from orange slices dipped in dark chocolate to hand-painted chocolate footwear. The exquisite chocolate shoes (for eating, not for wearing) include dark or milk chocolate high heels decorated with flowers, polka dots, leopard print, and more.

13. Best Chocolate Shop in Illinois: KC Chocolatier

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Fans of Belgian chocolate should stop what they're doing and head to KC Chocolatier, stat. This East Lincoln Park chocolate shop creates beautiful gift boxes containing all types of chocolate, from truffles and hazelnut creams to cordials and caramels.

14. Best Chocolate Shop in Indiana: The Sound Bend Chocolate Company

Location: Multiple locations, Indiana

This chocolate factory, museum, and retail store in South Bend (with chocolate cafes in multiple other locations) gives visitors a comprehensive overview of chocolate: its history, how it's made, and (most importantly) what it tastes like. The cashew caramel patty and chocolate peanut butter logs will no doubt tempt you, so don't put up a fight.

15. Best Chocolate Shop in Iowa: Chocolate Storybook

chocolate-covered bacon
iStock.com/dirkr

Location: West Des Moines, Iowa

Two words: chocolate bacon. At Chocolate Storybook, you'll find chocolate covered bacon strips, maple bacon chocolate caramels, and plenty of non-porcine chocolate treats. The shop's many holiday-themed gift options include elaborate Valentine's baskets, platters of fancy chocolate-covered strawberries, personalized chocolate Easter rabbits, and, for Christmas, a plate chock-full of chocolate-covered caramels, pretzels, animal crackers, and cookies.

16. Best Chocolate Shop in Kansas: Annedore's Fine Chocolates

Location: Westwood Hills, Kansas

This award-winning chocolate shop specializes in European truffles and holiday-themed chocolate treats. Some of their most delectable chocolates include the vanilla bean, the heart-shaped port wine, and the Irish creme.

17. Best Chocolate Shop in Kentucky: Cellar Door Chocolates

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

With two locations in Louisville, Cellar Door Chocolates makes a lot of amazing chocolate. You can't go wrong with any of the shop's truffles, but the absolute best might be the green chili coconut truffle. It's made with a smooth white chocolate ganache and spicy New Mexican green chili.

18. Best Chocolate Shop in Louisiana: Southern Candymakers

Sign for Southern Candymakers in New Orleans.
rosefirerising, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Southern Candymakers has been famous for its praline and toffee offerings for 27 years, but the shop's chocolate is also top-notch. Order the hand-dipped, chocolate-covered Queen Anne cherries or the chocolate pralines, which are made with jumbo pecans.

19. Best Chocolate Shop in Maine: Wilbur's Of Maine

Location: Multiple locations, Maine

Located in Freeport and Brunswick, Wilbur's of Maine is a welcome sight for anyone with a serious sweet tooth. The shop excels at making classic, simple treats, evidenced by the perfectly flavorful chocolate-covered blueberries.

20. Best Chocolate Shop in Maryland: SPAGnVOLA

Location: Gaithersburg, Maryland

The chocolatiers at SPAGnVOLA cultivate and process organic cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic to make small-batch chocolate bars, truffles, and bonbons. Dark chocolate lovers will absolutely relish the Dominican 75-percent chocolate bar for its nuanced flavors and rich depth.

21. Best Chocolate Shop in Massachusetts: Phillips Chocolates

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Established in 1925, Phillips Chocolates is Boston's oldest chocolatier, and the shop still makes small batches of chocolate treats by hand. Oprah Winfrey proclaimed the store's basket of turtles to be one of her "favorite things" in 2015. Even the basket itself is edible, and it's filled with milk, dark, and white chocolate turtles.

22. Best Chocolate Shop in Michigan: Alpine Chocolat Haus

Chocolate-covered apples
iStock.com/Imagesbybarbara

Location: Gaylord, Michigan

Gourmet hot chocolate, decorated candy apples, sea salt caramel corn, and chocolate covered potato chips are favorites at The Alpine Chocolat Haus, which has three other locations in Michigan. If you're feeling adventurous, try their ghost pepper caramel corn—it comes in three levels of heat.

23. Best Chocolate Shop in Minnesota: Mademoiselle Miel

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Mademoiselle Miel is famous for its terrific honey bon-bons. These treats are filled with local honey, enrobed in single-origin chocolate, and topped with 23-karat edible gold leaf. The shop also sells tantalizing housemade chocolate that is sweetened with local maple sugar.

24. Best Chocolate Shop in Mississippi: Margarete's Fine Chocolates

Location: Tupelo, Mississippi

It's hard to decide between the chocolate cremes, truffles, and nuts at Margarete's Fine Chocolates. Luckily, you can order a basket and fill it with a bit of everything. The triple-dipped chocolate covered strawberries—made with milk, white, and colored white chocolate—are one of their specialties.

25. Best Chocolate Shop in Missouri: Chip's Chocolate Factory

display case of hand-dipped chocolate treats
iStock.com/Luca_Daviddi

Location: Kansas City and Independence, Missouri

Chip's Chocolate Factory is the home of Kansas City Fudge, which is available in over 40 flavors. Visitors can watch chocolatiers make hundreds of chocolate treats in the shop's factory; some of the sweetest include Tiger butter (a combination of peanut butter and Swiss chocolate that melts in your mouth), vanilla caramel turtles, and cinnamon roasted nuts.

26. Best Chocolate Shop in Montana: La Châtelaine Chocolat

Location: Bozeman, Montana

La Châtelaine Chocolat is a whimsical shop inspired by French chocolatiers. The polka-dotted dark chocolate caramel brulé typifies the intricate, artistic designs you'll find on the chocolates. The flavors, including sea salt caramel espresso and strawberry balsamic, are also outstanding.

27. Best Chocolate Shop in Nebraska: Candy Wrappers

Box of cherry cordials.
iStock.com/alpaksoy

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

Candy lovers will find plenty of delightful bulk candy, fudge, and caramel apples at Candy Wrappers, but the handmade chocolate is truly heavenly. Choose between chocolate turtles, cherry cordials, and the popular sea salted dark chocolate caramel swirl popcorn.

28. Best Chocolate Shop in Nevada: Sierra Nevada Chocolate Company

Location: Reno, Nevada

At Sierra Nevada Chocolate Company, you can order chocolate and wine that pair perfectly with each other. If wine isn't your thing, get a bunch of crazy truffles—they come in flavors as wild as watermelon and champagne.

29. Best Chocolate Shop in New Hampshire: Byrne & Carlson

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Named after founders Ellen Byrne and Christopher Carlson, this sophisticated chocolate shop is what all artisanal chocolatiers should strive to emulate. The store's stunning, handcrafted sweets contain a range of unique ingredients and toppings, including dried fruits, milk chocolate "pearls," crystallized flowers, and dark Belgian chocolate seashells.

30. Best Chocolate Shop in New Jersey: Enjou Chocolat

Location: Morristown, New Jersey

This chocolate shop sells stuffed animals, ice cream, and plenty of chocolate gifts perfect for special occasions and holidays. Some of the best treats here are the pretzel platter—filled with chocolates, chocolate covered popcorn, and, of course, chocolate-covered pretzels—and the milk chocolate-covered potato chips.

31. Best Chocolate Shop in New Mexico: Theobroma Chocolatier

assorted molded chocolates
iStock.com/AnnaPustynnikova

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Theobroma Chocolatier makes an impressive variety of boxed and molded chocolates. Truffles are available in a variety of flavors, including cappuccino, black forest, champagne, Key lime, and butter pecan. You can also find molded chocolate in the shape of pandas, dinosaurs, business cards, dreidels, and cell phones.

32. Best Chocolate Shop in New York: Aigner Chocolates

Location: Forest Hills, New York

When it comes to chocolate, New York City is a competitive place. But Aigner Chocolates is a step above the rest, as evidenced by the shop's long history. Opened in 1930, Aigner sells (and ships) chocolate barks, cordials, and marshmallows that are made using the kitchen's original kettles and spoons.

33. Best Chocolate Shop in North Carolina: French Broad Chocolates

French Broad Chocolates in Asheville, North Carolina
confusedbee, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Location: Asheville, North Carolina

French Broad Chocolates makes and serves exquisite truffles, chocolate caramels, and hot sipping chocolate. Our menu recommendation: Knock back some dark sipping chocolate and munch on a strawberry balsamic chocolate truffle. Too much chocolate? No such thing.

34. Best Chocolate Shop in North Dakota: Carol Widman's Candy Co.

Location: Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota

Four generations of the Widman family have crafted handmade candy and chocolates, beginning with William Widman in 1885. Although Carol Widman's Candy Co. is well-known for its Chippers (chocolate covered potato chips), the turtles, truffles, and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds are among its many other stellar delicacies.

35. Best Chocolate Shop in Ohio: Wittich's Candy Shop

Location: Circleville, Ohio

Wittich's Candy Shop is one of America's oldest family-operated confectioners—and it shows in the vintage charm of the shop, which is home to an old-school soda fountain. Since 1840 the company has prided itself on creating handmade chocolates with high-quality ingredients and paying tribute to its home state with its Buckeyes, a local chocolate treat (available in milk, dark, or white chocolate) with a peanut butter center.

36. Best Chocolate Shop in Oklahoma: Omega Chocolate

Location: Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Omega Chocolate has been open for just over three years, but the exceptional shop has earned plenty of accolades for its gorgeous, hand-crafted offerings. Coffee lovers will adore the dark chocolate covered espresso beans, and fun creations like their milk chocolate cinnamon roll truffles can practically double as breakfast in bed.

37. Best Chocolate Shop in Oregon: Woodblock Chocolate

chocolate bark with various toppings
iStock.com/digihelion

Location: Portland, Oregon

Husband-and-wife duo Charley and Jessica Wheelock founded Woodblock Chocolate to transform simple cacao beans into delectable chocolate bars. The store sells single-origin bars that come from Peru, Madagascar, and Trinidad, but the most unique option here might be the Japanese-inspired toasted sesame bar.

38. Best Chocolate Shop in Pennsylvania: Pierre's Chocolates

Location: New Hope, Pennsylvania

All of the treats at this sweet chocolaterie are handmade in-house. Swiss chocolatier Jean Pierre Meyenberg opened his eponymous shop in 1970 and ran it with his family until 2011, when the shop was purchased by chocolatiers Tom Block and Justin Zaslow. They spent more than a year learning Meyenberg's techniques and recipes, and they've added their own spin, too, creating artisan chocolates that are made in small batches from single-origin cacao grown at family farms around the world. Try the Swiss truffle, the Mint Cookie—which features dark chocolate and crushed mint cookies—or the shop's New Hope Collection, four sweet treats that pay tribute to the town's history.

39. Best Chocolate Shop in Rhode Island: Sweenor's Chocolates

Location: Wakefield and Cranston, Rhode Island

Sweenor's Chocolates first opened in 1955, and the family owned and operated chocolate shop has stayed true to its origins by focusing on fresh ingredients and eschewing preservatives. And, they offer a number of sugar-free chocolates, which are often recommended for anyone with diabetes.

40. Best Chocolate Shop in South Carolina: Christophe Artisan Chocolatier

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Christophe Paume, a third-generation French chocolatier, founded this charming chocolate shop. Visitors to the shop's two locations in downtown Charleston and West Ashley can sample the brightly colored, hand-painted chocolates and truffles.

41. Best Chocolate Shop in South Dakota: Mostly Chocolates

Location: Rapid City, South Dakota

At Mostly Chocolates, you can sip on something strong from the espresso bar while you choose between truffles, fudge, and other gorgeous confections. You can't go wrong with the chocolate-dipped espresso creme or the Oreo cream truffle, but if you want some added fruit flavors, their truffles also come in peaches and cream, raspberry, and strawberry cheesecake.

42. Best Chocolate Shop in Tennessee: The Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar

The Goo Goo Cluster Shop in Nashville.
Brent Moore, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Since its debut in 1912, the Goo Goo Cluster candy bar has delighted kids and adults with its tantalizing combination of milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel, and marshmallow nougat. And you can celebrate all things Goo Goo Cluster at this shop and dessert bar, which serves chocolatey cheesecakes, sundaes, and shakes inspired by the candy bar.

43. Best Chocolate Shop in Texas: Cacao and Cardamom

box of decorated chocolates
iStock.com/digihelion

Location: Houston, Texas

Eating chocolate at Cacao and Cardamom feels like taking a food trip around the world. Stop to sample blends of flavors and spices like their Szechuan peppercorn milk chocolate ganache, garam masala pistachio, black sesame ginger, pineapple fennel caramel, lychee basil, or a caramelized cashew and Vietnamese cinnamon praline.

44. Best Chocolate Shop in Utah: Ritual Chocolate

Location: Park City, Utah

Before you come to Ritual Chocolate, you'll probably want to skip your morning cup of joe. The bean-to-bar chocolate shop serves espresso, sipping chocolate, and a 100 percent pure cacao bar that will jolt you awake with its bitter, nutty taste.

45. Best Chocolate Shop in Vermont: Daily Chocolate

Location: Vergennes, Vermont

The chocolatiers at Daily Chocolate excel at flavor experimentation. Besides the black rum caramel (house made caramel in 72 percent dark chocolate), the coconut and cherry clusters will satisfy even the strongest chocolate craving. Fans of white chocolate should try the lemon lavender almond bark, made with lavender buds and lemon oil.

46. Best Chocolate Shop in Virginia: Gearharts Fine Chocolates

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

Launched by chefs Tim Gearhart and Bill Hamilton in 2001, Gearharts Fine Chocolates uses "the world's finest chocolate with local sweet cream and pure butter" to create its confections. The shop's signature chocolates include pistachio toffee orange, malted milk hazelnut, and mint julep (which is made with fresh mint Kentucky bourbon). The chocolates are available for purchase online.

47. Best Chocolate Shop in Washington: Oh! Chocolate

Lightly colored truffles in rows
iStock.com/kobeza

Location: Mercer Island, Washington

Since 1985, Oh! Chocolate has earned a reputation as the top chocolate destination in Washington. Chocolatiers make small batches of delightful truffles in flavors such as champagne, mango habanero, and Pacific NW blackberry.

48. Best Chocolate Shop in West Virginia: Holl's Chocolates

Location: Vienna and Charleston, West Virginia

Before immigrating to the United States in 1958, Fritz Holl worked as an apprentice to his uncle in a pastry and chocolate shop in Zurich, Switzerland. Today, Holl's Chocolates—the company he founded in 1986—is still family-owned (Fritz's son, Dominique, runs it with his wife, Michelle) and still sells authentic Swiss chocolate. The store's chocolate lollipops (which come in milk, dark, and white chocolate varieties) are melt-in-your-mouth spectacular.

49. Best Chocolate Shop in Wisconsin: Wilmar Chocolates

Location: Appleton, Wisconsin

Chocoholics rejoice in the staggering selection of chocolate covered caramels, truffles, and butter toffee at Wilmar Chocolates. The shop's confections, which are made with authentic Wisconsin butter and cream, regularly win awards at the Wisconsin State Fair.

50. Best Chocolate Shop in Wyoming: Donells Candies

Location: Casper, Wyoming

Donells Candies has been a Wyoming staple since 1956, selling handcrafted confections such as dark chocolate cherry cordials and milk chocolate coconut clusters. Nut lovers rave about the dark chocolate peanut and pecan clusters.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER