Take a short day trip excursion from the big cities with these recommendations around the country for everything from roadside barbecue to waterside seafood.
From San Francisco | Marshall, CA
On the east shore of Tomales Bay, about 45 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, is a coastal town called Marshall. Four brothers are credited with getting the town off the ground when they showed up with cattle in the mid-1850s. Originally the area was home to a dairy farms, but today the rugged coastline is dedicated to oysters.
The Marshall Store
Sit outside overlooking the water eating Tomales Bay oysters raw, smoked or barbecued. They also have shrimp and crab and meats from their smoker for sandwiches.
"It's a real find. You sit by the side of the road overlooking the beautiful bay eating BBQ oysters and drinking bubbly. The store sells all of their wine at retail prices. This is really off the beaten path."
FED Pro > Bartender Erik Adkins of Slanted Door, Hard Water
"You can order any number of styles of oysters. They've got barbecue oysters and on the half shell garlic oysters. You sit outside with a ginger beer on their deck overlooking the bay and it's gorgeous. It's relaxing and you feel like you're so far away from everything."
FED Pro > Chef Josh Even of Tosca
Time from San Francisco: 1 hour 23 minutes
19225 State Route 1, Marshall, CA 94940
T: 415.663.1339 | www.themarshallstore.com
Hog Island Oyster Co.
You can either book a picnic table and grill oysters yourself, or stop by their bar for oysters on the half shell. In addition to oysters, they offer local wine and beer, charcuterie from Fatted Calf, and cheese from Cowgirl Creamery.
"It's a beautiful drive and you should probably take written directions, because a GPS will crap out on you since you're in the middle of nowhere. You drive along the most amazing bays and forests and all of a sudden you come to two or three oyster shacks along a half-mile stretch. You can buy a sack of oysters and grill them on the beach. Call ahead, especially during the summer, because everyone who has come here, comes here again."
FED Pro > Chef Brad Farmerie of Public, Saxon & Parole, The Thomas
Time from San Francisco: 1 hour 30 minutes
20215 Shoreline Highway, Marshall, CA
T: 415.663.9218 | www.hogislandoysters.com
From Los Angeles | Malibu, CA
30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles, you'll find this beach town where surfers and celebrities collide. Have lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean and then stroll along the Malibu Pier or Zuma Beach.
Right on the PCH with coastal views and a surf and turf menu with fresh seafood, burgers and dogs. Bikers mix with families and surfers at this seaside shack.
"It's off the beaten path and a drive up to the county line, but it's well worth it. The fish is fresh and the cocktails are great."
FED Pro > Bartender Derrick Bass of Willie Jane
Time from Santa Monica: 46 minutes
42505 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
T: 310.457.3095 | neptunesnet.com
Owned and operated by commercial fishermen and located right on the Pacific Coast Highway.
"When I want to have lunch at the beach, I typically do not want to do anything formal or fussy. I like to stop at Malibu Seafood on PCH in the northern part of Malibu. It is a fish market on one side featuring some of the freshest fish in Los Angeles. On the other side is an uber-casual food outlet where you order at the counter and wait for them to call your number when your food is done. It's the ideal place to have fantastic steamed lobster and addictive fried clams while sitting at picnic tables and watching the surf."
FED Pro > Sommelier Caroline Styne of A.O.C., Luques, Tavern
Time from Santa Monica: 30 minutes
25653 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
T: 310.456.3430 | www.malibuseafood.com
From Portland | Astoria, OR
"Astoria is a really amazing coastal town. It's the most Northwestern town in Oregon, right before you go to Washington. You cross the long four-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge at the mouth of the Columbia River, where it meets the Pacific Ocean. It is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. It's just truly so beautiful here and we always try to go for a couple of nights, especially in the summertime. It's also where the Goonies was filmed and you can go through the Goonies' house."
FED Pro > Chef Jenn Louis of Lincoln
Bowpicker Fish & Chips
"This is a restaurant that's like a food truck, but it's an old wooden boat. They use local albacore for the fish. There are always long lines of people on the side of the road waiting to get their fish and chips. On a hot day, grab a can of cold beer at the gas station across the street and eat fish and chips on the hood of your car on the side of the road. It's super fun."
FED Pro > Chef Jenn Louis of Lincoln
Time from Portland: 1 hour 55 minutes
636 Duane Street, Astoria, OR 97103
T: 503.791.2942 | www.bowpicker.com
From Tucson | Three Points, AZ
40 miles southwest of Tucson, you'll find this old western town founded by Ed Keeylocko, where there are more pigs than people. Look for the sign that says "Population 5 - most of the time."
The ranch is a combination of 10 tin and wood buildings with one being the Blue Dog Saloon, which is a tavern with sporadic hours, a dirt floor and cold beer. Often rented for film locations, as well as weddings and parties.
“If you really want to make the drive, seek out the Cowtown Keeylocko. One of the only functioning ranch bars left -- it's as real as it gets."
FED Pro > Bartender Ciaran Wiese of Agustin Kitchen
Time from Tucson: 45 minutes
12230 S Coleman Road, Tucson, AZ 85735
T: 520.429.5778 | Facebook Page
From New York | Dobbs Ferry, NY
This historic town along the banks of the Hudson was named for an 18th-century captain who operated a ferry across the Hudson and worked as a spy for George Washington. Take a walk or bike ride along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail.
"This has become my favorite dinner spot in Westchester. I never tire of eating David DiBari's food. I love everything about the place -- first obviously is the food. But it is just plain fun to have a meal here. The decor (CBGBs meets Roberta's), the music, the beer list, the wine on tap, the movies projected on the back wall -- it all works perfectly. And David's pizza, served whole with kitchen shears, rivals anything I've had in Manhattan or Brooklyn or anywhere for that matter. His lemon pizza with smoked scamorza cheese and chili has to be one of my all-time desert island foods. He does this appetizer with brussels sprouts, Rice Crispies (!!!), sweet chili and parmesan. I could eat a of bowl of that every day. I have so much respect for a chef who is so talented and has such great technique but keeps things totally fun and accessible. I've never not had a delicious meal at The Parlor. I wear my Parlor "Legalize Marinara" t-shirt around town with pride."
FED Pro > Chef Adam Kaye of Blue Hill
Time from Midtown Manhattan: 45 minutes
14 Cedar Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
T: 914.478.8200 | www.theparlordf.com
From Boston | Ipswich, MA
30 miles northeast of Boston, come for the beach and stay for the clams.
The Clam Box
"Da Nort Shoa or more accurately the North Shore section of Massachusetts, hosts a plethora of perfectly respectable clam joints. But The Clam Box kicks it up a notch. The ‘Native Clam Mini Meal’ is- if we are doomed to always have fast food, at its best. If ‘lobstah’ rolls on buttered, toasted hot dog buns are your gig (rookie tourist move), then sure, you’ll find a good one here.
But you really want the clams. I mean, this place is shaped like a clam box for chrissakes, so better to just succumb and become a part of the living heritage that is the finest of North Shore clammeries. Pile it high with crispy (and somehow not greasy) onion rings freshly out of the fryer, a side of ‘tahdah’ sauce (yes, that's for fry dipping too - don't embarrass yourself by squirting ketchup all over the place), and you've got yourself one hell of a summertime snack. Throw in a side of slaw -- or bring your own hot sauce and elevate that slaw to what we Bostonians call 'Muscle Slaw' with a few drops and it's goodnight. Congrats. You have achieved fried clam eating perfection."
FED Pro > Chef Matt Jennings of Townsman
Time from Boston: 45 minutes
246 High Street, Ipswich, MA 01938
T: 978.356.9707 | www.clamboxipswich.com
From New Orleans | Rayne, LA
Located on east bank of the Mississippi River in the heart of Plantation Country. It is nicknamed the Andouille Capital of the World and is where the movie "Monster's Ball" was filmed.
Down a bumpy, dirt road, in the small town of Rayne, LA, is a tin-roofed dining hall named Hawk's. Hawk's is far off the beaten track, but it's world-renowned for serving what is considered the best crawfish in the world.
"I always come here when crawfish are in season. They take their crawfish so seriously; they are only open during the season and only serve crawfish. Hawk’s is one of the main reasons my wife Emily and I will take a weekend with the dogs to head out here to eat crawfish, rent a canoe and do some fishing. "
FED Pro > Chef Alon Shaya of Domenica, Pizza Domenica and Shaya
"Big, beautiful and perfect crawfish. Purged for 24 hours for cleaning. They are life changing even for a native.”
FED Pro > Chef Donald Link of Herbsaint, Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Calcasieu, Peche Seafood Grill and La Boulangerie
Time from New Orleans: 2.5 Hours
415 Hawks Road, Rayne, LA 70578
T: 337.788.3266 | www.hawkscrawfish.com | Open Seasonally
From Atlanta | Ellijay, GA
Located in the Appalachian foothills, you'll find miles of trails for hiking, biking, and camping. In May they host the Georgia Apple Festival.
Opened as a roadside shack in 1989, this barbecue restaurant is now a kitch-filled modern cabin. The Pig Hill of Fame has become a North Georgia landmark with thousands of cutouts of pigs bearing the names of people who've eaten there, making a porcine shape on the side of a mound.
"Probably the best barbecue I've ever eaten. You pay like $5 or $10 and you get a pig, you write your name on the pig and you put it in a mound outside of the restaurant with other people's pigs (not live pigs). Something you push into the ground like a stand."
FED Pro > Chef Harold Dieterle
Time from Atlanta: 1 hour 19 minutes
164 Craig Street, Ellijay, GA 30540
T: 706.635.4100 | www.poolesbarbq.com
From Orlando | Cocoa, FL
Located on the St. John's River, this fish camp has been a tourist destination since the 1940s. After lunch and an airboat ride, journey a bit further to Cocoa Beach, home to the flagship Ron Jon Surf Shop and the Kennedy Space Center.
Lone Cabbage Fish Camp
"It's right off the St. John's River and has been here for well over 50 years. You can take an airboat ride there to watch alligators. Or better yet, you can eat fried alligator, frog legs, and catfish here. No need to dress up."
FED Pro > Chef Matt Hinckley of Hinckley's Fancy Meats
Time from Orlando: 37 minutes
8199 West King Street, Cocoa, FL 32926
T: 321.632.4199 | www.twisterairboatrides.com/fishcamp.html
From Miami or Naples | Everglades City, FL
35 miles south of Naples, this is old school Florida. It's a small town located between the Barron River and the waterways of the 580,000-acre Big Cypress National Preserve. Take an airboat tour through the mangroves to see gators, egrets, and snakes.
Camellia Street Grill
The food they serve is either delivered by boat or grown in their own organic garden. Located waterside overlooking the Barron River. The décor is Florida kitsch and they often have live music.
"Order swamp cabbage (hearts of palm) salad with stone crabs."
FED Pro > Chef Brandon McGlamery of Prato, Luma on Park
Time from Miami: 1hour 53 minutes
Time from Naples: 46 minutes
208 Camellia Street West, Everglades City, FL 34139
From Charleston | Edisto Island, SC
About 45 miles south of Charleston, this is a laid back area on the Atlantic Ocean. There isn't a lot of nightlife, but there is a lot of wildlife. Visit Edisto Beach State Park to go swimming and then stop by Geechie Boy Mill to buy heirloom grits.
Geechie Boy Mill
Greg Johnsman makes his grits the old fashioned way. He took over a old mill, restored the building and now grows his own heirloom seeds and grinds them using antique machinery. You can find his grits in many area restaurants and you can buy them on his farm three days a week.
"He uses all 1950s and 1930s milling equipment that he restored himself and he mills grits and rye flour. Right in front of the farm, they have a big general store where he sells all his greens and his grits and anything they produce in the farm. A lot of people bring things to him that they want to sell. So there's always a lot of honey and things raised in the Edisto area that people don't have an outlet for selling."
FED Pro > Chef Josh Keeler of 492 Charleston
Time from Charleston: 50 minutes
2995 Highway 174, Edisto Island, SC 29438
T: 843.631.0077 | www.geechieboymill.com
There isn't much to see in Hemingway, but chefs make the pilgrimage here just to eat pitmaster Rodney Scott's whole hog, smokey barbecue.
Pitmaster Rodney Scott barbecued his first pig on his own when he was 11 years old. His whole hog BBQ is now legendary and fans make the pilgrimage from miles around to come to his place in Hemingway, SC.
"Hands down, my most favorite place to eat in the entire world and obviously the South. This shit will blow your mind. Oh my God! It's food that makes you say that. I can't believe how wonderful this is. I'm so jealous of what he does. He is a force to be reckoned with."
FED Pro > Chef Sean Brock of Husk, McCrady's, Minero
Time from Charleston: 1 hour 47 minutes
2734 Hemingway Highway, Hemingway, SC
T: 843.558.0134 | www.thescottsbbq.com
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