There are currently more than 600,000 restaurants in the United States. Most of these are owned and operated by families and small business owners. They range from fast foods and cafes to pizza chains. Their popularity depends on the region in which they are in. It is common to find Mexican restaurants popular near the Mexican border and seafood restaurants in coastal areas.

Most popular restaurant types in the U.S. By State

1. Fast Food

Fast food restaurants are a favorite among many Americans. They offer food on-the-go. This could be on a counter or at a drive-through. While there is space provided to dine in, most customers prefer to grab their choice of food and leave. There are plenty of well-known franchises and food chains across the country with the largest having a global presence. Items offered on the menu typically include crispy fires, greasy burgers, creamy milkshakes, tacos, etc.

2. Fast Casual

Fast casual restaurants offer a healthier alternative to fast food restaurants. They have plenty of options for health-conscious customers who need a meal they can grab and go. This is mostly based on a counter service but with slightly higher prices for higher-quality ingredients. Items offered include spinach wraps, sushi, chopped salads, smoothie bowls, etc. Customers are continuously growing fond of being able to get highly flavored yet light meals.

3. Casual Dining

The most distinct characteristics of casual dining include a sit-down meal and table service. This can be found in a lot of other restaurant types available in the industry. Your local spot could have one and so could the big franchises that boast of numerous branches worldwide. The dining experience may have special features such as a unique theme, ambiance, and special décor. Food items offered vary widely and may include anything from a waffle, pancake, breakfast, meatballs, spaghetti, chicken, etc. There are casual dining establishments nearly in all cities in the U.S..

4. Contemporary Casual

Contemporary casual offers a sit-down dining experience that is distinguished by an emphasis on the experience or atmosphere. There’s normally a higher level of service with the option of tasting a wide variety of exotic foods. Most contemporary casual spots are also ahead of the food trend and tend to attract younger customers in droves.

5. Cafes

Cafes are beverage focused. They offer a wide variety of beverages including coffee and tea and smaller menus for snacks and foods. Prices are low to moderate with services including both counter and table service. Cafes also serve other needs such as being a mobile office, a social meeting place or a leisure joint.

Most Popular Ethnic Cuisines in the U.S.

It has become popular among restaurants in the U.S. to have a specific ethnic cuisine offered to customers alongside other options like Pizza and burgers. A lot of new customers nowadays go in search of restaurants based on a specific ethnic cuisine. According to a statistic carried out by the Nation’s Restaurant News in 2018, Italian is the most popular cuisine in America followed by Mexican and Chinese.

Other cuisines follow in this order: Regional American, Mediterranean, Sushi/sashimi, Fusion, Japanese, Regional ethnic, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Southwest Asian, Belgian, Thai, German, French, Vietnamese, Greek, Indian, Latin American, Caribbean, Korean, Russian/Eastern European, Peruvian, Scandinavian, Brazilian/Argentine and Ethiopian. These vary in popularity depending on the location picked across the U.S.