Orlando is the best foodie city in the U.S., according to financial data website WalletHub.
Orlando was No. 1 of the 150 cities included in WalletHub's 2016 Best & Worst Foodie Cities survey. There are people who eat and people who eat recreationally. For that second group, good food is like a drug: The more they enjoy, the harder it becomes to say no. But like any expensive habit, an insatiable palate can strike a hard blow to the foodie’s finances. Americans today spend nearly a third of every food dollar on restaurant services. And in 2015, the National Restaurant Association reported that Americans spent more money at food establishments than at grocery stores.
But foodies with strong taste buds don’t limit themselves to eating out. Dining in can be equally satisfying — and costly. Fortunately, some of America’s culinary hotspots are sympathetic toward their cash-strapped epicures and offer plenty of affordable options. These wallet-friendly cities cater to foodies who prefer to concoct their own scrumptious creations at home, sample unique flavors of the local gastronomy or both.
In honor of World Food Day on Oct. 16, WalletHub crunched the numbers to determine the best and cheapest foodie scenes among the 150 largest cities. WalletHub compared the cities across 21 key metrics, ranging from “cost of groceries” to “prevalence of affordable restaurants rated at least 4.5 stars” to “number of food festivals per capita.”
Other Florida cities included Tampa at No. 4, Fort Lauderdale at No. 12, St. Petersburg at No. 48, Tallahassee at No. 60, Jacksonville at No. 79, Pembroke Pines at No. 95, Cape Coral at No. 105 and Port St. Lucie at No. 140.
Here’s how WalletHub ranked Orlando’s foodie-friendliness in eight categories: (1=best; 75=average)
- 30th – Average Beer & Wine Price
- 1st – Number of Restaurants per Capita
- 27th – Ratio of Full-Service Restaurants to Fast-Food Establishments
- 1st – Number of Gourmet Specialty-Food Stores per Capita
- 23rd – Number of Craft Breweries & Wineries per Capita
- 8th – Number of Coffee & Tea Shops per Capita
- 1st – Number of Ice-Cream & Frozen-Yogurt Shops per Capita
- 1st – Number of Grocery Stores per Capita