Entrepreneur asked Yelp to dig into its data, to reveal which ones America loved the most. Together we created America’s Favorite Mom & Pop Shops, a list of 150 local, independently owned and operated businesses across 10 categories — including, yes, food.
To see every category, as well as the methodology behind the list, click here. Below are the 15 companies included in the food category.
Note: Some businesses may have multiple locations. Only one location is listed for each.
1. Everyday Sundae
Everyday Sundae has a foundational principle: It is, it says, “a place for CommUNITY.” Owner Charles Foreman has been serving his customers and city by that ideal for the last two years.
The thriving ice cream shop puts a heavy emphasis on its diverse and changing community, and in providing exceptional customer service. Reviewers rave about the experience, the ownership, and of course the ice cream. As one Yelp reviewer wrote, “Charles (the owner) is amazing. His humility and dedication to your customer satisfaction combined with his knowledge of his multiple uniquely curated flavors are undeniable. This is the kind of homegrown establishment you want to see win.”
2. Jackie Smalls
Jackie Smalls pays attention to detail. Reviewers can’t get enough of this relatively new cafe’s breakfasts — whether it’s the food (try the “Jackie Smalls Omelette”!) or the different coffee drinks on offer. Jackie Smalls is also a big hit at lunch. Visitors note the café’s clean look and vibe, and call it a great place to meet up with friends or co-workers.
Alison C. on Yelp says, “I was just amazed at how fresh and flavorful everything was at Jackie Smalls. The place is really a must-try.”
3. Cheese Importers
Cheese Importers of Longmont has customers both in Colorado and all over the United States, making their eclectic collection of cheeses (over 350 of them), meats and other specialty items a top source for foodies (and suppliers) nationwide.
In fact, more than 500 restaurants, grocers, hotels and clubs are repeat customers of Cheese Importers. But their Longmont location itself really sets the company apart. The store features a European Marketplace (La Fromagerie) that has the largest walk-in refrigerated cheese and cured meat market in the state of Colorado.
Additionally, the shop features European linens, housewares, child items, perfumes and other authentic pieces from across the pond, as well as an authentic French cafe on the premises.
4. Waffle and Berry
Fresh fruits are one of the great perks of being located in Hawaii, and Waffle and Berry in the state’s capital city of Honolulu takes full advantage of that.
The local waffle house serves their highly rated waffles with the freshest fruit toppings one can find, in addition to whipped cream (of course). The business is also known for their açaí bowls, also topped off by fresh fruit.
Waffle and Berry was opened in 2019 by a former waiter who had a love for serving his own special waffle creations, whether or not they were on the menu or not. Eventually, that love for creating waffle dishes prompted him to open his own place, and Honolulu has been indulging ever since.
5. lil’ Vegerie
Redondo Beach, CA
WIth a mission to make clean eating fun and easy, lil’ Vegerie in Redondo Beach has quickly become a go-to for vegetarians in the South Bay area.
This take-out restaurant serves bowls, salads, special crafted juices and much more. With an emphasis on clean eating, you won’t find any processed foods here. Everything is vegan, gluten-free and soy-free.
Vegans aren’t the only ones who will be happy, though. As Jonathan noted on Yelp, “I ate a ribeye last night. I have no reason/right to eat here, except for the food being extraordinarily tasty.”
6. 10/Fold Biscuits
Myrtle Beach, SC
10/Fold Biscuits specializes in a signature dish of the American south — and now locals and tourists say they have some of the best biscuits in the region.
But despite the name, 10/Fold Biscuits serves much more than just southern-style biscuits. The restaurant offers a variety of other dishes — like a large sandwich menu featuring fried chicken, shrimp, eggs, and other cravings, all (of course) served in a biscuit. The location’s sleek modern design, fast-casual atmosphere, and good music make it popular for both breakfast and brunch.
7. Let’s Chill Ice Cream
Coral Springs, FL
In an industry full of outsourcing and national suppliers, Let’s Chill Homemade Ice Cream stands out for what it promises: It offers small-batch, homemade ice cream and cones, created right there at the store.
You’ll find sky-high ratings for the ice cream. A five-star rating is routine, as are written reviews featuring blown-away customers. As Tanya C. on Yelp writes, “This place is unbelievable, starting with the atmosphere, the wonderful employees and then wait until you try the ice cream. It will leave you speechless.”
8. Lea Lana’s Bananas
Las Vegas, NV
In a city full of unusual experiences, Lea Lana’s stands alone — as the place for banana-themed desserts. It’s been serving frozen bananas, banana pudding and other treats for the past five years.
The business strives to “spread happiness one banana at a time.” Visitors can come to their storefront or arrange for party and event catering. Reviewers compliment the decor of the brick-and-mortar location in Las Vegas, and often comment on how eating a sweet banana treat feels better than indulging in something more sugary.
9. Sweet Greek Pastries
Sweet Greek Pastries offers exactly what people want: Great service, great-looking desserts, and (of course) great flavors too.
This pastry shop has everything — cakes, pastries, gelato, made-to-order coffee selections, and more. There are even options on the savory side, with a menu of crepes, pitas, paninis, and more that are perfect for lunch. As one Yelp user put it, “This is going to be one of my spots for lunch, brunch or sweet tooth cravings!”
On the pastry side, Sweet Greek truly pays off on its name: You can find Greek treats like koulourakia, kourabiedes, melomakarona, and more — and yes, the shop is happy to explain what they all are.
10. Coneflower Creamery
Coneflower Creamery is one of the most well-known ice cream shops in Omaha — and for that matter, all of Nebraska as a whole. They’re known for their small batch, artisan ice cream flavors, all served with great customer service.
The company describes its mission as “a beautiful dream aimed at bringing farm-fresh ingredients to customers in the shape of a cone.” Its leaders call their ice cream “farm to cone,” because they find the perfect farmers to partner with, while also learning about their farming practices to ensure all their ingredients meet high standards.
11. Hole Doughnuts
Doughnuts don’t come any fresher than they do at HOLE in Asheville, North Carolina. Every doughnut is literally baked right in front of your eyes via their open kitchen layout. The company prides itself on serving every doughnut warm.
The HOLE website lays out its mission: “Our hope is that when you bite into one of our delicately crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside doughnuts, you will be escorted to the glorious realm of the simplest of pleasures, the place where our fondest childhood memories live.”
While you’re waiting for your made-to-order donut, the shop also sells freshly brewed coffee that is made by a local craft coffee shop.
12. The Lab Bistro Co.
Virginia Beach, VA
With two locations in Virginia Beach, The Lab Bistro Co. is blowing away locals and tourists with its fantastic Latin-style food.
Sandwiches, pastries, chips, desserts and breads are what you should come for. The eatery started as an experiment — hence its name, The Lab — but it quickly grew into a success. The husband-and-wife owners wanted to bring food that one would find in the Cuban community in Miami up the coast to Hampton Roads.
13. The Early Bird Cafe
East Meadow, NY
This small — but cozy! — coffee and tea shop has been getting a lot of local attention lately. The Early Bird Cafe is becoming a popular choice for a well-crafted coffee drink, bubble tea or snack.
Many reviewers on Yelp are clearly vibing with The Early Bird Cafe, calling it is a great place to read a book, study or just relax. And the staff is there to help — offering friendly advice on the perfect drink to help you settle in.
14. Tango’s Empanadas
Authentic empanadas were not always easy to find in Boise, Monica and Louis Bremmer changed that. They wanted to build a restaurant drawing upon their Argentine and Mexican backgrounds, and the result, Tangos Empanadas, has been a local favorite since opening in 2006.
Tangos Empanadas has a family-like atmosphere and takes pride in its quality ingredients and fresh, daily food prep. It’s gained so much local attention that Guy Fieri even stopped by for a visit. You can find that on season 37 of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
15. Rev Coffee Roasters
Locally owned craft coffee companies are growing across the country, and Rev Coffee has been quite successful in the suburban Atlanta area.
Rev is a regular at the farmer’s market in Sandy Springs, Georgia, and is opening its roastery location in Marietta to the public soon. But its main attraction is its Smyrna location, built inside a converted garage and covered with artwork inside and out.
The coffee delivers, and the options are ever-changing. Just go to their website, where they’ll tell you their latest additions. (As of this writing, that included Columbia Huila, Peru San Ignacio, and more.) Reviewers note how flavorful Rev’s espresso is, as well as the positive vibes felt inside the cafe from their helpful staff. Sweet treats are also plentiful.