Looking for ideas to spice up your company’s lunch breaks and go on a culinary tour of the United States? We've got you covered! Whether you're an HR professional trying to improve the corporate culture of your workforce or an executive seeking to boost employee engagement and camaraderie, this guide will help you understand the diverse tastes by each state and how you can tantalize your team's taste buds no matter where they reside!
Known for its mouthwatering soul food and comforting flavors, Alabama's popular cuisine includes classic Southern dishes like fried green tomatoes, fried catfish, collard greens, cornbread, and ribs with white BBQ sauce. Treat your team to a taste of the south with these hearty and flavorful dishes.
With its abundant seafood offerings, Alaskan cuisine revolves around delectable seafood dishes such as wild salmon, flaky halibut, king crab legs, and Alaskan cod. Employees will appreciate the freshness and unique flavors of Alaskan cuisine, especially if they're seafood enthusiasts. However, if your team is not into seafood, there is also reindeer sausage which can be had as a pizza topping, as a hot dog, or even in an omelet.
Combining Mexican, Native American, and European culinary traditions, Arizona offers a vibrant Southwestern fusion cuisine. From tangy salsas to flavorful Navajo tacos, Sonoran hot dogs, and chimichangas, this cuisine will inject a burst of flavor and spice into your team's lunch options.
Arkansas is known for its beloved comfort food with southern influences. Think fried pickles, hush puppies, hearty gumbos, and a desert known as Arkansas possum pie. Don’t worry though, there are no opossums in this pie. It is named that because there is a hidden chocolate layer that is “playin’ possum” by pretending to be something it is not until it is cut and the chocolate oozes out. So treat your employees to a comforting and satisfying meal that will make them feel right at home (if they are from Arkansas).
California's culinary trends are often at the forefront of the innovative food scene because of the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients with bold worldly flavors. With its diverse population and innovative chefs, the state offers a perfect mix of international flavors. From the iconic California sushi roles and gourmet fusion tacos to farm-to-table cuisine, the options are endless when it comes to catering to your team's preferences.
Colorado's culinary scene is infused with a rich tapestry of flavors that reflect its diverse landscape and cultural influences. Among its most iconic and well-known dishes, green chili reigns supreme. A cherished staple, Colorado green chili showcases a harmonious blend of fiery Hatch chilies, slow-cooked pork or beef, and an array of aromatic spices, resulting in a hearty and soul-warming stew that perfectly encapsulates the state's love for both spice and comfort. Additionally rocky mountain trout and Colorado lamb chops are also popular dishes that highlight the vast amount of natural beauty the state has to offer and allows those native animals to flourish.
Known for its coastal location, Connecticut boasts a rich seafood tradition. From freshly caught lobsters to mouthwatering clam chowder, your employees wanting to try Connecticut cuisine will appreciate their unique take on New England style dishes. Think lobster rolls, crab cakes, and white clam pizza to bring the taste of the coast to their lunch breaks.
Delaware prides itself on its colonial history and close proximity to the ocean, and its cuisine reflects that. Offering delicious dishes influenced by its early European settlers and its rich agricultural history will surely delight your employees. Consider trying options like blue crab cakes, slippery dumplings, and peach pie to give them a taste of Delaware's rich culinary heritage.
Florida's diverse cultural mix has resulted in a mingling of flavors that will leave your taste buds dancing. The combination of Latin American, Caribbean, and Southern influences will be a hit among your employees in and out of the Sunshine State. Consider trying these Floridian favs such as Cuban sandwiches, key lime pie, fried alligator, and jerk chicken to satisfy their cravings for bold and vibrant tastes.
Georgia is synonymous with comfort food that warms the soul. Celebrating the state's Southern culinary traditions will surely be a hit among your employees. From pimento cheese dips to finger-licking BBQ ribs and peach cobbler, Georgia's comfort food options will create a sense of nostalgia and satisfaction during lunch breaks.
Transport your employees to a tropical paradise with meals inspired by Hawaii's bountiful culinary offerings. Island flavors like poke bowls, spam musubi, and shaved ice will give them a taste of the Aloha spirit. Including healthy and refreshing options like fresh tropical fruit platters and acai smoothie bowls will not only improve employee well-being but also give them a taste of the laid back Hawaiian lifestyle.
Idaho's culinary scene is rooted in its abundant agriculture, making it the perfect state to explore farm-to-table cuisine. Savor the delicious flavors of hearty Idaho potatoes in a variety of preparations, such as creamy mashed potatoes, crispy fries, or comforting potato casseroles. These farm-fresh delights are sure to please even the most discerning palates.
Illinois is renowned for its unique gut busting deep-dish pizza. Additionally, the rich history of Italian and Polish immigrants settling in the Prairie State has made pierogies, Chicago-style hot dogs, and stuffed pizzas classic Illinois staples. Treat your team to these unique dishes and maybe even head to a Chicago Bulls game and indulge yourself to the various iconic concession stands.
Indiana's cuisine is all about comfort food, and what better way to recharge your workforce than with delicious Hoosier fare? From breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches to steaming bowls of corn chowder, these hearty dishes are guaranteed to keep your team satisfied and productive. If you have any room left for dessert, don’t forget to try the infamous yet simple sugar cream pies or Hooiser cakes.
Iowa's abundance of fresh produce and livestock make it an ideal destination for farm-to-table cuisine. With options like ham balls, sweet corn, and homemade rhubarb pie, treating your workforce to these wholesome flavors will take them on a distinctly Midwestern culinary journey. Don’t forget to try the famous Iowain sour cream raisin pie, it will round out your Midwestern culinary journey with a mix of creamy, tangy and chewy detours.
When it comes to barbecue, Kansas knows how to do it right. From slow-smoked meats to tangy sauces, treating your team to an authentic Kansas City inspired barbecue will surely have them licking their fingers and bonding over delicious meals. If anyone has a sweet tooth, then they can eat dirt, well not literally, but they can have Kansas dirt cake. This unique cake is made to look like dirt with the help of crushed oreos and puddings, so dig in!
Kentucky is famous for its southern comfort food, packed with soul-soothing flavors. From crispy fried chicken to buttery biscuits, these classic dishes will leave your coworkers feeling satisfied, appreciated, and ready to conquer any challenges that come their way (after digestion of course). Plus as the official home of Bourbon, it wouldn’t be right to not include the bite-sized Bourbon balls as a tasty nightcap or dessert option.
Louisiana is renowned for its unique and vibrant food culture, and at the heart of it lies Cajun cuisine. With influences from French, Spanish, Caribbean and West African cooking traditions, Cajun dishes are packed with bold flavors and spices. From classics like gumbo and jambalaya to crawfish boils and étouffée, the Cajun culinary experience is a must-try for every food enthusiast.
When it comes to seafood, Maine takes the crown. Known for its pristine coastline dotted with lighthouses and its rich fishing heritage, this picturesque state offers some of the freshest and most delectable seafood dishes. Lobster is undoubtedly the star of the show, whether enjoyed in a buttery roll or as part of a succulent seafood boil. Clam chowder, fried clams, and mussels are other mouthwatering options for seafood lovers.
Maryland is synonymous with crabs, and its signature dish, the Maryland crab cake, is a must-try delicacy. Made with succulent blue crab meat, these cakes are seasoned to perfection (with the help of Old Bay seasoning) and usually cooked with breadcrumbs until golden brown. Other popular crab dishes in Maryland include steamed crabs, crab soup, crab-flavored potato chips and creamy crab dip – all offering a delightful taste of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Bay State cuisine boasts a diverse range of dishes that showcase the region's rich history and proximity to the sea. From creamy clam chowder and succulent lobster rolls to baked beans and Boston cream pie, Massachusetts offers a delightful array of flavors. Don't miss out on trying the iconic Fenway Franks, which are hotdogs split down the middle, then boiled and finally lightly grilled – a true comfort food experience.
Michigan's culinary scene is heavily influenced by its closeness to the Great Lakes, resulting in a wide array of natural and delicious freshwater fish dishes. Lake trout, whitefish, and perch are popular choices, often served grilled, smoked, or fried. Also, you cannot miss out on the iconic Detroit-style pizza, which typically is a square take on deep dish but with caramelized edges and a spongy middle. Moreover, Michigan is also renowned for its mouthwatering cherry-inspired creations, such as cherry pie and cherry-infused sauces, showcasing the state's vibrant agricultural history.
Minnesota is renowned for its comforting culinary traditions and the heavy Scandinavian heritage. Treat your employees to the rich flavors of the North Star State by offering them delicious comfort food options. From hearty meat dishes like the iconic Juicy Lucy burger to Swedish meatballs, Minnesota's comfort food will surely bring smiles to your team's faces.
Take your entire office on a mouthwatering journey to the heart of Mississippi, where soul food reigns supreme. From deep fried catfish to pressed po’boy sandwiches and mouth watering hush puppies, Mississippi's soul food will transport your team to the land of incredible flavors. Impress your coworkers with this delightful cuisine that truly speaks to the soul.
The state of Missouri is famous for its lip-smacking barbecue. Treat your employees to an unforgettable feast of smoky goodness by offering them a taste of Missouri's world-class barbecue. From tender pulled pork to saucy ribs and tangy burnt ends, Missouri-style barbecue will leave your employees craving for more. Get ready for your team to experience a finger-licking, saucy adventure!
Known for its rugged landscapes and outdoor adventures, Montana's cuisine is deeply rooted in hearty, rustic flavors. Surprise your entire team with a taste of the Wild West by incorporating Montana-inspired dishes into your meal rotation. Explore the state's mouthwatering bison steaks, locally sourced trout dishes, and scrumptious huckleberry treats. Embrace Montana's unique flavors and make eating a memorable experience for the whole office.
Nebraska's cuisine is deeply rooted in its agricultural heritage, leading to a range of hearty dishes that reflect Midwestern flavors and traditions. From succulent Omaha steaks and prime ribs to creamy casseroles and homemade pies, Nebraskans have a penchant for comfort food that fuels a hard day of work. Offering a selection of classic Midwestern dishes, such as reuben sandwiches, chicken fried steak, and delicious cornbread, will undoubtedly please employees and remind them of the comforts of this midwest place some call home.
As a popular tourist destination, Nevada encompasses diverse culinary influences from around the world. With Las Vegas as its culinary epicenter, the state offers a vibrant fusion of flavors, blending Asian, Mediterranean, and American cuisines. From elaborate sushi spreads to tantalizing tapas and mouth watering burgers, everyone who tries these Vegas inspired treats will appreciate the varied selection of international delights. Outside of Las Vegas in the vast deserts of Nevada, Southwestern cuisine reigns supreme. Where you can treat your office to a unique blend of Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Native American flavors.
New Hampshire's proximity to the Atlantic coast and its lush landscape enables a strong farm-to-table culinary culture. With an emphasis on fresh and locally sourced ingredients, New Hampshire offers a delightful array of seafood, maple-infused treats, and classics such as boiled meat and potatoes. Including these items in your next office meal will undoubtedly win the hearts and taste buds of your employees in or from the Granite State.
Known as the "Diner Capital of the World," New Jersey's culinary landscape offers a melting pot of flavors influenced by its diverse population. Classic Italian-American dishes, such as pizza, pasta, and subs, take center stage alongside Jewish deli favorites like pastrami sandwiches and matzo ball soup. Additionally, New Jersey boasts a vibrant Portuguese community and is known for its traditional seafood dishes such as salted cod, shellfish stews as well as desserts such as moles cakes and pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts).
Known for its vibrant food scene, New Mexico takes pride in its Southwestern cuisine. The state's employees delight in the rich and spicy flavors originating from this region. From green and red chile-infused dishes to mouthwatering enchiladas and tamales, Southwestern cuisine warms the hearts and stomachs of employees in the Land of Enchantment. Let your office explore traditional favorites like enchiladas, chiles rellenos, and posole, which are all bursting with authentic southwestern flavors.
As a melting pot of cultures and diverse communities, it's no surprise that New York's native employees can brag about the availability of a wide variety of international cuisines. From Italian pasta and pizza to Chinese stir-fry and Indian curry, the Empire State offers a culinary adventure for every palate. Providing a range of global cuisine options for employee benefits can cater to New York's multicultural workforce, fostering a sense of inclusivity and appreciation for diverse tastes while appealing to everyone's preferences and dietary needs.
The residents of North Carolina have a deep affinity for Southern staples that comfort the soul. From hearty barbecue to savory fried chicken and collard greens, Southern cuisine reigns supreme in this state. Also BBQ has been a part of North Carolina since the 16th century, but what makes it a proper North Carolina-Style BBQ is the use of vinegar-based sauces, being cooked over hardwood coals and the meat must be pork based!
In North Dakota, locals gravitate towards comforting classics that remind them of home-cooked meals. Uncover the lesser-known culinary treasures of North Dakota, from hearty Scandinavian-inspired dishes to comforting Midwestern favorites. Lefse (a Norwegian flatbread), kuchen (a German pastry), and fleischkuekle (a German-Russian meat pie) are some of the most popular dishes along with freshly caught walleye that are grilled or fried to perfection.
Ohio may be known for its Midwestern charm, but its culinary scene is equally captivating. From hearty comfort foods to delectable sweet treats, Ohio's cuisine offers a delightful blend of influences from German, Polish, and African American cultures. Don't miss out on the iconic Cincinnati chili, pierogies, and the irresistible Buckeye candy!
Oklahoma's cuisine is a melting pot of flavors, combining indigenous Native American elements with classic Southern cooking techniques. Savor the essence of Oklahoma with dishes like Indian fry bread tacos, barbecue, fried okra, and the famous chicken-fried steak. Lastly, there is something that was likely invented during the depression called the onion burger, which lowered the cost by replacing a portion of the expensive meat with onions, without altering the delicious burger taste. An unforgettable culinary adventure awaits you in the Sooner State!
Known for its commitment to sustainable farming practices, vibrant vegetarian options, and sustainably harvested seafood, Oregon offers a farm-to-table dining experience unlike any other. Dive into fresh seafood, organic produce, and artisanal cheeses that have made Oregon a foodie's paradise. Must-tries include Dungeness crab, marionberry pie, hazelnuts, and the iconic Oregon pinot noirs!
Pennsylvania boasts a vibrant culinary scene, especially in its metropolitan cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. From iconic Philly cheese steaks to scrumptious soft pretzels, your teams can explore a fusion of flavors from various cuisines. Pennsylvania is home to the rich and comforting cuisine influenced by its large Dutch and German populations, its cuisine boasts hearty dishes like scrapple, shoofly pie, funnel cakes, and delicious homemade sausages. Embrace the warm hospitality and time-honored recipes that have been passed down for generations!
Rhode Island's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes it a seafood lover's paradise. From clams and oysters to lobsters and Rhode Island-Style calamari, this state boasts an array of dishes that showcase the freshest catches. Even though this state may only be around 1200 square miles, they are quite big on food. Don’t miss out on unique favorites like doughboys, johnnycakes, pizza strips and something called stuffies (which are baked clams served on a half shell).
South Carolina is famous for its vibrant culinary scene rooted in rich Southern traditions. Lowcountry cuisine, heavily influenced by African, French, and Caribbean flavors, is a must-try. Think shrimp and grits, Frogmore stew, and a variety of slow-cooked, flavorful barbecue dishes. There is no shortage of tasty dishes ranging from classic southern favorites to fresh seafood and the infamous mustard infused BBQ.
South Dakota boasts a unique culinary heritage shaped by its Native American population. Traditional dishes such as buffalo burgers, chislic (deep-fried meat cubes), and wojapi (a berry-based dessert) are beloved staples. By incorporating South Dakotan cuisine into your meal rotations, you'll not only showcase the cultural diversity of this state but also support local Native American communities and businesses.
No culinary journey through the South would be complete without a stop in Tennessee, where soul food and barbecue reign supreme. From Nashville's hot chicken to Memphis-style ribs and pulled pork, Tennessee offers a tantalizing mix of smoky, saucy, and savory flavors. Tennessee's cuisine is a true melting pot, combining Southern, Appalachian, and Memphis influences to create a unique culinary experience. And of course, a visit to Tennessee wouldn't be complete without savoring some mouthwatering pecan pie or a slice of heavenly banana pudding.
When it comes to culinary delights, Texas takes the crown with its flavorful Tex-Mex cuisine and world-renowned barbecue. Dive into a plate of sizzling fajitas, loaded nachos, or cheesy enchiladas. And if smoky goodness is your weakness, don't miss the chance to sample Texas-style brisket, slow-cooked ribs, and succulent pulled pork. Be sure to enjoy these dishes with a side of tangy BBQ sauce and a slice of homemade pecan pie for the ultimate Texan experience.
Utah might not be the first state that comes to mind when thinking about food, but it's a hidden gem for culinary delights that you shouldn't overlook. Indulge in a fusion of flavors that blend Native American, Mexican, and European influences. Treat yourself to mouthwatering fry sauce, a savory blend of ketchup and mayo, served with crispy fries or onion rings. Savor some delicious Navajo tacos, which is fry bread loaded with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. And don't forget to try Utah's unique take on scones, which is deep-fried puffy flatbread that is covered in powdered sugar, honey, and butter.
Known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant farm culture, Vermont boasts a delectable farm-to-table cuisine that emphasizes fresh, locally sourced ingredients. From hearty Vermont cheddar to maple-infused delights, this cuisine type offers a harmonious blend of traditional New England fare with a modern twist. Don’t forget to try sugar on snow, which is another unique treat of Vermont which is simply maple syrup and butter poured over fresh snow, resulting in a delicious taffy-like substance.
Virginia's culinary scene thrives on Southern comfort food that warms the soul. Think mouth watering peach cobbler, mac and cheese, and buttery Virginia Country ham biscuits. By including popular Southern comfort dishes for your next office meal, companies can capture the essence of hospitality and create a sense of home away from home for their employees (even if that home isn't within Virginia).
The Pacific Northwest is a melting pot of global flavors, making Washington a culinary adventure. From fresh seafood like salmon and oysters on the half shell to Asian-inspired dishes bursting with flavors, the fusion cuisine in Washington is an exciting treat for the taste buds. Due to the massive Pacific coastline and fertile farmland the Evergreen State has something for everyone.
West Virginia's cuisine is a celebration of Appalachian comfort food and heritage. Traditional favorites like pepperoni rolls, ramps, and buckwheat pancakes showcase the state's unique culinary traditions. Whether you goto a roadside dinner or a luxury resort you are sure in for a treat and likely won't be able to avoid the number breakfast item, the celebrated and time honored biscuits ‘n’ gravy.
Wyoming may be known for its breathtaking landscapes, but its food scene is equally impressive. From hearty Western fare to international flavors, we've rounded up the best dishes to try in the Cowboy State. You can’t go wrong with bison steak, prime rib au jus, fresh trout, but do be careful of the rocky mountain oysters. As they are not made out of high-altitude seafood but from a pair of unique parts of a bull.
Wisconsin is famously known for its thriving dairy industry, so it's no surprise that cheese is a cornerstone of their cuisine. From creamy cheese curds to flavorful cheese plates, your teams will love exploring the diverse range of local cheese options during their lunch breaks. Additionally, Wisconsin's sausage-loving culture offers a variety of mouthwatering bratwursts, perfect for a hearty lunch or company picnic. And let's not forget about the beer – Wisconsin breweries serve up delicious craft brews that pair perfectly with these local delicacies.
As the capital of the United States, Washington DC offers a melting pot of cuisines from around the world. From Ethiopian fares to Chesapeake Bay crab cakes, it is worth checking out the diverse culinary landscape of the nation's capital. Half-smokes, pupusas and mambo sauce are the most iconic foods of the nation's capital and things you wouldn't want to miss out on.
Transport your whole office to the enchanting island of Puerto Rico through its vibrant and rich cuisine. Puerto Rican food is a fusion of Spanish, African, and Taíno influences, creating a unique flavor profile that is sure to please any palate. From savory mofongo (a dish made from mashed plantains) to succulent pernil (roast pork), Puerto Rican cuisine offers an explosion of flavors. Don't forget to include tempting desserts like flan and tres leches cake to round off the Puerto Rican culinary experience.