Survey ranks Scottsdale second-best ‘foodie’ city in US

Jun 17, 2014, 10:33 AM | Updated: 10:34 am

PHOENIX — Culinary enthusiasts in Scottsdale can take pride, as their city was named the second-best city for “foodies” in the U.S., according to a survey released Monday.

The top-10 list from Livability.com, a website that analyzes the nation’s most livable small to midsized cities, put Scottsdale just behind New Haven, Conn., as a home for creative cuisine.

The rankings examined U.S. cities and their offerings in both dining and farmer’s markets, using accessibility to healthy foods, the availability of locally sourced products and the number of critically acclaimed restaurants and chefs.

Matt Carmichael, an editor for Livability.com, said the site created a short list by analyzing the percent of income spent eating out per city, the access to healthy food, the number of farmer’s markets and how often people went to local restaurants as opposed to fast-food joints.

The editors then dug into those cities with some finer points, he said, such as restaurant awards or Yelp ratings, to cull the list down to the top 10.

“The science gets us to the short list … the data-driven portion,” Carmichael said. “And from there, we’re looking at other lists, and we’re looking at … the James Beard (Foundation Award) winners and that kind of stuff.”

Scottsdale has been home to a thriving restaurant scene for a long time, said Megan Doyle, community affairs coordinator for the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. With more than 600 restaurants to choose from, both Valley residents and visitors have plenty of variety, she said.

“You can find fantastic seafood or sushi, or you can find Mexican food, or you can find vegetarian options or whatever it may be,” Doyle said. “We really have a great mix of everything here.”

Livability.com named three restaurants as great indicators of the variety Scottsdale has to offer, including Citizen Public House, ShinBay and The Mission, a Mexican restaurant in Old Town.

Brian Raab, who co-founded The Mission seven years ago, said restaurants can thrive in Scottsdale because it offers a historic atmosphere, spring training baseball, arts and culture and, above all, plenty of sunshine.

“It comes together for a great recipe,” Raab said.

And Arizona has relatively low prices for visitors, he added, making the restaurants appealing for anyone looking for a night out.

“We don’t have these huge budgets,” Raab said of The Mission, “and I think there’s some greatness that comes out of that.”

The data indicates which cities support local restaurants and have an interest in healthy food, Carmichael said. But most of the country has already embraced the foodie culture, with more people looking for new restaurant offerings and locally grown food.

“It would almost be easier to do a list of cities that haven’t decided to be a foodie city yet,” he said.

Though Scottsdale could not top New Haven for the best foodie city in the country, Carmichael said people shouldn’t be too concerned with how each city stood in the rankings.

“These are 10 great food cities,” he said. “But yes, we do have to rank them somehow. Because no one wants a list that’s alphabetical.”

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Survey ranks Scottsdale second-best ‘foodie’ city in US