Chili hot dog with cheese and onions on a bun and french fries

The Independent Collection has hotels in some of the America’s most delicious destinations. From city staples to ballpark classics, here are America’s five most quintessential dishes:

Chili Dogs

Hot dogs are as American as baseball games and 4th of July, while chili is a winter crockpot special from coast-to-coast. Combine the two, and you have one of the most patriotic dishes ever made. Recommendation: Ben’s Chili Bowl
Located a short distance from the Independent Collection’s two Washington, DC hotels, Ben’s Chili Bowl is a local staple on the city’s famous U Street. The chili portions are hefty, and there are burger and vegetarian options as well.

New England Clam Chowder

New England is known for its beautiful coastline and historic seaports. New England clam chowder, with thick chunks of shellfish and potatoes, is a favorite that all travelers should give a shot. Recommendation: Durgin Park
Located in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Durgin Park is nearly 200 years old. The chowder here is thick, creamy and simple. Patrons can indulge in other city favorites at Durgin Park like Boston baked beans.

New York Pizza

Sure, pizza is technically Italian, but Americans perfected it, and some of the best pies in the world come out of New York City. From big floppy slices in Manhattan to saucy grandma pies in Brooklyn, there’s plenty of iterations and styles to try.
Recommendation: Joe’s Pizza
Located in picturesque Greenwich Village, Joe’s Pizza huge (but extra thin) slices with a delicate layer of cheese and sauce are a must when staying at the Duane Street Hotel.

Florida Stone Crab

Similar to Alaskan king crab, and lobster in New England, Florida stone crab is a seafood staple for its respective region. Big claws packed with sweet crabmeat are so delicious, the only garnishment needed is a little lemon.
Recommendation: Joe’s Stone Crab
Miami Beach’s most famous stone crab proprietor, Joe’s is a fancy dinner destination that’s now open for its 102nd season. Serving heaping plates of stone crab, the institution also does an exceptional crab bisque and key lime pie.


This American classic is most coveted in historic Philadelphia. Be sure to ask a local before ordering, as there are a rules and codes on how to ask for things like cheese wiz and onions (just say, “wiz with” at the counter).
Recommendation: Ishkabibbles
There are countless Philadelphia cheesesteak options, but a can’t-fail is Ishkabibbles, which serves the finest shaved meet with gooey cheeses and rich bread. Those trying to skip the red meat can opt for its equally-satisfying chicken option.