Ever since I joined the Digital Bookmobile team, friends and family have started relying on me for two things. The first is to help all their friends and family learn how to use the Libby app. Lucky for them, I love talking about Libby, so I don’t charge them my hourly rate. Second, they are always asking for are restaurant suggestions during their travels.
When the bookmobile is out on the road, I spend over half of the year eating out. So, it’s easy to assume that I have found a few must-visit restaurants along the way. The trick to finding a great place to eat in a new place is to talk to the locals. Sure, Yelp can give you a good idea of the restaurants in the area, but you could spend all night reading Yelp reviews before deciding where to go. An unrecognized perk of my job is that I usually spend the first day in a new place at the library, and there is no better place to pick the brains of the locals on what sights to see, trails to explore, and most importantly, where to eat than the library.
Here are three must-eat restaurants that were recommended by locals, and taste-tested by me:
Dragonfly Sushi – Gainesville, Florida
Let’s talk sushi. Dragonfly Sushi and Sake Company has held the title of my favorite meal out on the road from day one. As a self-proclaimed crab rangoon fanatic, I nearly died and went to heaven eating their delightfully crispy, unctuously creamy crab-filled wontons. Trust me, you want to start your meal with an order of those for the table.
Of course, with sushi right in the name, you won’t be surprised to hear that your meal will just get better from there. Don’t worry if you aren’t a fan of seafood, Dragonfly Sushi has rolls fit for any diet. While they offer plenty of seafood options, they include some delicious vegetarian and even wagyu steak options on their menu as well. Yum!
Copper Canyon Grill – Gaithersburg, Maryland
The Copper Canyon Grill sits on a small lake inside the Rio Shopping Center not too far from Washington D.C. From their four-season terrace, you can soak in views of a gorgeous carousel along the boardwalk. The view was enough to get us excited for our dining experience, but the food is what made Copper Canyon Grill one of my favorite places I’ve dined at while traveling with the Digital Bookmobile.
Copper Canyon Grill’s menu is entirely made from scratch by their chef every day. Their menu offers homey comforts like chicken pot pie and upscale options like a hickory grilled tenderloin filet. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the one thing you absolutely must try is their crab cakes. Seriously, I think about those babies at least once a month!
Swine Restaurant and Whisky Bar – Portland, Oregon
Some people say that you’ll never be able to find a decent meal at a hotel restaurant. Well, I’m here to tell you that those people are wrong. Nestled in the lobby of the Paramount Hotel in downtown Portland, Swine Restaurant and Whisky bar is a must visit. No joke, while I was in Portland, I dined there twice by myself. Then, when a few OverDrive team members came to assist me at the Portland Book Festival, I forced them to join me a third time. It is really that good!
True to its name, many of the dishes include porky surprises, whether it’s in the form of a bacon aioli to accompany their fresh calamari starter or the mouth-watering mojo pork inside the Cubano sandwich, you’re sure to find something to eat that will make you go hog-wild.
Looking for more ideas of where to eat while traveling? You can browse by subject in the Libby app to find foodie guides in your library’s digital collection. I recommend using the subjects Cooking & Wine, Cooking & Food, or Travel. Browsing by subject is how I found some of my favorite restaurant guides, like Ultimate Eatlist by Lonely Planet, Roadfood: An Eaters Guide to More Than 1,000 of the Best Local Hotspots and Hidden Gem’s Across America by Jane Stern, and Eating Across America by Daymon Patreron.
Do you have a go-to restaurant recommendation in your city? Let us know on Instagram (@digitalbookmobile) so that we can stop by on our next visit!