What makes a restaurant famous?

According to Business Insider it is celebrity sightings, culinary awards, and TV and movie appearances. When looking over their list of the most famous restaurants in every state the winners are BBQ joints, 5-star restaurants, diners, hot dog restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines and atmospheres.

I have been to all three of Business Insiders’ choices for the most famous restaurants in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. I must remember that the category is famous and not necessarily the best restaurant in each state. With that said here are the results, again, these are not my choices, but Business Insider's.

New York

Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City has one of the best pastrami sandwiches in the country.

Photo via Google Maps
Photo via Google Maps

It is piled high and there is such a turnover that is fresh out of the oven and still far from dry. The deli has been serving great food since 1888.

Katz’s was also the background and setting for the classic 1989 movie when Harry met Sally. The movie starred Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. There was the scene at Katz’s where Sally (Meg Ryan) shows Billy’s character that she can fake an orgasm while sitting at a booth at Katz’s.

Upon reaching her crescendo the scene cuts to a grandmother type who is ready to order and says, “I’ll have what she’s having.” A great scene. The tourists line up to sample the atmosphere and pastrami, the restaurant is constantly busy.


For over one hundred years the Victor Café in Philadelphia has been serving up great food surrounded by the classic and most prolific opera records, photos, and memorabilia.

Photo via Google Maps
Photo via Google Maps

In 1908 John DiStefano migrated to the U.S. from Italy and opened a gramophone shop. Patrons who frequented the shop were treated to the latest opera recordings with an expresso and Italian pastry.

As a result, that experience evolved into a full-blown restaurant with outstanding traditional dishes and of course opera.

In addition to the amount of opera memorabilia, Victor Café is also famous for a couple of “Rocky” movies. Both the movie “Rocky Balboa” and “Creed” were both shot there at Victor Café under the name of Adrian’s.

New Jersey

In 2015 Thrillist called Tops Diner in East Newark, the most iconic restaurant in New Jersey.

Photo via Google Maps
Photo via Google Maps

In 2017 Time Out named Tops Diner the best diner in the country. Since 1942 Tops Diner has been serving up what New Jersey wants to eat. They do it with great service, outstanding food, and a clean restaurant.

Go on the Tops Diner website and you will find a little story and individual bios on family members involved in the diner. At the bottom, they list their favorite cocktail. You got to love that!

Patrons and celebrities alike have been enjoying the flavor and generous portions of meatloaf, lobster mac and cheese, the milkshakes are heavenly, try the onion rings, chili, and the burgers cooked to perfection and so incredibly good.

Enjoy the most famous restaurants in your state. A fantastic way to enjoy a meal

LOOK: Counties with the highest unemployment in New Jersey

Stacker compiled a list of the counties with the highest unemployment in New Jersey using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Counties are ranked by unemployment rate in November 2023.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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