Fork & the Road // Heritage Restaurants
By Andrew Zimmern, Delta Sky Contributing Editor
In the latest issue of Sky, I sing the praises of the following American “heritage” restaurants—i.e., iconic spots with cult followings.
Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn, NYC
Domenico DeMarco has been churning out pies since 1964. Pizza fanatics, tourists and locals alike spend as much as two hours in line and seem to forget the wait after taking their first bite. Skip the slice and get a whole pie for $28—it boasts a killer San Marzano tomato sauce, perfectly crisped thin crust and fresh buffalo mozzarella.
John’s Roast Pork, Philadelphia
Owned by the Bucci family since 1930, John’s is always at the top of “best of” lists. You can’t argue with the sliced rib eye, piled high on crusty Italian bread. But that’s only the second-best thing on the menu. A freshly baked torpedo roll filled with thinly sliced slow-roasted pork butt, “gravy” and spicy greens steals the show.
Mama Jo’s, Oxford, Mississippi
Before opening this humble restaurant, Mama Jo cooked at a fraternity, creating meals for students missing mom’s comfort food. You can taste the love in each bite at this classic meat-and-three diner. Go for the smothered pork chop.
Willie Mae’s Scotch House // New Orleans
It makes the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. The seasoning is fantastic, and the crunch reminds me of breaking glass. Now in her 90s, Willie Mae recently hung up her apron, passing on the business to her great-granddaughter Kerry Seaton. Like many heritage restaurants, Willie Mae’s serves as a de facto community center, so talk to your neighbors and soak up the place. It’s a life changer.
Russ & Daughters, NYC
My grandmother used to buy the exact same pickled lox with onion and cream sauce that’s still available there today. I can’t be within 20 blocks and not steer by for a fix. To me, it’s the taste of New York.
Zimmern is the James Beard Award-winning host of Bizarre Foods America on the Travel Channel and a Delta Medallion traveler.
Photo: Russ & Daughters’ bagels and bagel with lox photos by Jen Snow/Russ & Daughters.