Food pilgrimages

Neapolitan pizza

Scrolling through my news feed today I spied a link from Food Republic on the best places to eat pizza in Naples, Italy, described as “pizza’s spiritual home.” The article claimed that the pilgrimage was worth the trip. While I am not entirely convinced that spending thousands of dollars to eat a pizza, no matter the provenance, is worth the investment, it did get me thinking about food pilgrimages in general, and the lengths people will go to try a food or restaurant.

You don’t need your passport to make a food pilgrimage; there are probably locations within your country. Food & Wine has a list of 100 restaurants worth a food pilgrimage that are scattered across the globe. Another type of pilgrimage involves traveling to the birthplace of a particular food. USA Today reports on traveling to Buffalo, New York, to visit the Anchor Bar, home of the original Buffalo wings.

Pilgrimages often entail long waits. People traveling to Austin, Texas, to sample the offerings of Franklin Barbecue, can expect a five hour wait (often in extreme heat) and the restaurant often runs out of food before it runs out of customers. Others venture to Manhattan to visit Shake Shack, where they can expect to wait for two hours for a burger.

The long lines at places like these have spawned new businesses. At Franklin Barbecue, you can enlist the services of BBQ Fast Pass, and pay to have someone do the waiting for you. Or you can purchase an espresso at a popup coffee bar in the side yard that caters to those who don’t mind the wait. Some customers view the wait as an enriching part of the entire experience.

What’s the best (or worst) food pilgrimage you have made?

Photo of Hacker-free Neapolitan pizza for a home kitchen from Serious Eats


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