Saturday, April 07, 2007

Chinese, Italian, and Mexican food doesn't count

When dining out with friends, I avoid Chinese, Italian, and Mexican restaurants unless I have reason to believe they’re exceptional, or at least exceptionally authentic. It turns out that my rule is easier to follow in Massachusetts than in most states. There’s an “other” ethnic restaurant for every 8,517 people here. According to the Census Bureau, only Hawaii, California, and Virginia have a bigger assortment of interesting eateries, when adjusting for population size. I’m counting only restaurants that described themselves as “full-service” to the Census takers in 2002, so the Chacarero take-out window in Downtown Crossing presumably isn’t included — which means we achieved our high ranking even without the help of Chilean string bean/avocado/chicken sandwiches. The Census data also indicate that if you’re going to a fancy restaurant in Connecticut, it’s probably Italian. There are 707 Italian restaurants in the ill-named Nutmeg State, or one for every 5,000 people. New Jersey and New Hampshire rank second and third in this category, while Italian joints are scarcest in North Dakota. Chinese restaurants are most popular in Utah (473 of them, or one for every 5,400 people), followed by Alaska and New Hampshire. They don’t exist at all in Delaware; at least, no one will admit to the Census that they own one. Mexican restaurants are, not surprisingly all over New Mexico (377, or one for every 5,200 people), Idaho, and Oregon. They are rarest in New Jersey, which seems odd given the large Latino population there. Maybe some trattorias have been converted to taquerias during the past couple of years? Below are the leaders and laggards in providing options to those of us tired of hamburgers, pizza, sweet and sour sauce, parmesan cheese, and margaritas. You can see how all the states rank in all the categories here. Number of “other” ethnic restaurants (people per restaurant) 1. Hawaii: 269 (4,779) 2. California: 4,376 (8,331) 3. Virginia: 901 (8,483) 4. Massachusetts: 751 (8,571) 5. Colorado: 534 (8,901) 6. New York: 2,154 (8,963) 7. New Jersey: 970 (8,994) 8. Washington: 702 (9,111) 9. Nevada: 246 (10,144) 10. Florida: 1,730 (10,457) … 46. New Hampshire: 11 (119,536) 47. Kansas: 23 (120,177) 47. Mississippi: 12 (242,545) 48. West Virginia: 7 (259,781) 49. South Dakota: 2 (390,960) 50. North Dakota: 0 (population 635,867)


Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home