Where To Eat Indigenous Food In The U.S. guide image

Guide

Where To Eat Indigenous Food In The U.S.

Food trucks serving fry bread tacos, a fine dining restaurant with a decolonized menu, and more.

There aren’t many restaurants that serve Native or Indigenous cuisines in America. Thankfully, more restaurants, pop-ups, and cafes have opened in recent years that celebrate ingredients and foodways that existed long before the colonization of the Americas. These spots range from food trucks in Seattle serving casual frybread tacos to sit-down spots that celebrate modern-day food sovereignty movements.  

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Owamni

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Owamni by the Sioux Chef

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420 1st St South, Minneapolis
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A meal at Owamni is a fully decolonized experience, meaning you won’t find ingredients like wheat, pork, cane sugar, or dairy that were introduced to North American diets by European colonizers. The result gives you plenty of insight into the significance of Native ingredients—the menu and staff describe their cultural and medicinal uses—and is more educational than most American public schools. Highlights of the menu include game tartare, nixtamalized native corn tacos, and zero-proof cocktails. 

photo credit: Indian Pueblo

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Indian Pueblo Kitchen

Learn about Pueblo foodways and dine in this cozy restaurant in the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The kitchen hosts immersive dining experiences featuring performances and demonstrations from local artists—past dinners have included a flutist, dancers, jewelers, and potters. Soon, they’ll also have a separate kitchen for students to learn Indigenous cooking techniques.

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Off The Rez

Perfect For:LunchQuick Eats
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Off the Rez is a Native American food truck that serves tacos on handmade frybread. Filling ingredients include beef chili, chicken chile, verde, and veggie chili topped with cheese, pickled red onions, and lettuce. If you’re not feeling a taco they also serve burgers, quinoa salad, and fries, but the cinnamon sugar frybread also makes for a great sweet treat. 

Watecha Bowl

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Located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this casual takeout spot serves Lakota dishes featuring frybreads, tacos, and wohanpi, a traditional soup made with bison, potatoes, and vegetables. For dessert, they also serve frybread with wojapi berry sauce.

photo credit: Dina Avila

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Bison Coffeehouse

As Portland’s first Native-owned coffeehouse, Bison Coffeehouse highlights Native roasters and celebrates Indigenous culture. In addition to coffee, Bison also does baked goods like bison-shaped cookies, cheddar biscuits, and cakes. You’ll also find lots of merchandise, like buffalo jerky, coffee beans, and small gifts like handmade dolls, from Native vendors, too. 

Located inside DC’s National Museum of the American Indian, this casual cafe features a wide variety of Indigenous ingredients from across the Western hemisphere. There are bison chili dogs, frybread, salads, and burgers available at different stations throughout the cafeteria, where you can pick and choose snacks, appetizers, or mains. Once you’ve checked out, grab a seat in the large dining room that has a window facing the museum’s outdoor water fountain.

The menu at Wahpepah’s Kitchen hopes to reclaim Native foodways and educate diners on the health benefits of traditional Native foods. There’s a wide variety of mains like green chili rabbit pozole, bison tacos, and wild native mushroom pumpkin seed mole, but you should definitely also get the charred buffalo or deer meat, which is super tender. They also sell and deliver snack bars made with ingredients like wild rice amaranth, traditional Mayan chocolate, and chokecherries. 

This restaurant was opened by members of the Tohono O’odham Nation who wanted to have a space for Native people to gather and eat like they would at home. In addition to frybread, the menu reflects the Mexican influence on the cuisine, with menudo, tacos, tamales, hominy stews, and burros a.k.a. burritos.

A relative newcomer, Indigenous Eats in Spokane opened in mid-2022 and serves contemporary Native American comfort food. Choose between a rice bowl, frybread taco, or taco salad with your choice of beef, bison, vegetables, and chicken—or get the frybread on its own or with some huckleberry sauce. 

photo credit: Black Sheep Cafe

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Black Sheep Cafe

Black Sheep Cafe describes its menu as an infusion of Native American and Southwestern flavors. That means you’ll find dishes like green chili fries, frybread tacos, and pozole on the menu, as well as a fun dessert selection that features an orange habanero crème brûlée and frybread topped with ice cream and caramel sauce. 

photo credit: Tocabe

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Tocabe, An American Indian Eatery

Tocabe is a fast-casual spot in Denver that combines traditional Osage recipes with elements of modern Indigenous cuisine. The menu includes tacos on frybread, bowls with Red Lake Nation wild rice or quinoa and wheatberry, and bison ribs that are cured for 24 hours before getting grilled and glazed with berry barbecue sauce. Tocabe also operates an online marketplace where you can buy prepared meals and Native-sourced ingredients like beans and wild rice. 

Native Root hosts pop-ups and supper clubs using Indigenous ingredients native to the Southeast region of America. They also host open-flame experiences with a five-course meal consisting of dishes like butternut squash milk rolls and beetroot pappardelle. 

This restaurant in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma sources most of their ingredients from Indigenous farms and growers. You’ll find plenty of vegan and gluten-free options like watermelon steak or succotash, but you can also get seared bison or sunchoke gnocchi. 

Cafe Gozhóó is a community space and cafe in White River, Arizona that integrates Apache foodways with other Indigenous foods of the Americas. The cafe is all about providing accessible food, meals, and coffee to the local White Mountain Apache community, and it also serves as a vocational training program for those recovering from substance abuse. The dining space is cozy and casual, and the specials change regularly to highlight ingredients from the local Apache People’s Farm

Sly Fox Den is one of the few Indigenous restaurants in the Northeast. Currently, they’re cooking and serving food out of their Charleston, Rhode Island location, but they’re fundraising to have a permanent restaurant, museum, and oyster farm in Poquetanuck Bay, Connecticut. In the meantime, you can enjoy dishes like three-sisters succotash, venison sandwiches, and smoked fish. 

This former poi factory in Kane'ohe, Hawai’i is now a restaurant highlighting Hawaiian food traditions, with dishes like hand-pounded poi, kalua pig, and lomi salmon. The Sweet Lady of Waiahole dessert, made with warm kūlolo and haupia coconut ice cream, is also a menu staple. 

Hawai’i’s landscape lends itself to unique cooking traditions and challenges, but Nau’au’s pop-up dinners present the unique opportunity for both locals and tourists to learn more about the way Hawai’i’s Indigenous cultures ate and lived off the land. The chef personally forages ingredients like pohole, hā'uke'uke, and akule, many of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world. The menus change with the seasons, but past dinners have included dishes like abalone miso soup and venison heart pastrami sandwiches. Sign up for an email list to hear about future pop-ups, or schedule your own private dining event with Na’au.  

Cafe Ohlone is on a hiatus until mid-January. They’ll release the next reservations on December 15. 

Cafe Ohlone is run out of the Hearst Museum at UC Berkeley, and is the only Ohlone restaurant in the world. The cafe celebrates the life and culture of Ohlone peoples, in a space designed with native plants that are incorporated into the meal, trees with speakers that sing in Chochenyo language, and murals from Indigenous artists. The food itself incorporates ingredients historically found in the area, such as San Francisco Bay dungeness crab, Olympia oysters, and black oak acorns. Cafe Ohlone does weekly tea hours, lunches, dinners, and brunches, but you’ll need to purchase your ticket in advance

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The menu at this restaurant inside the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is influenced by the Pima and Maricopa tribes, while the ingredients are sourced from the Gila River Indian Community. You’ll find dishes like grilled buffalo tenderloin, chorizo and scarlet runner bean chile, escargot with wild mushrooms, and more, all of which highlight what’s best in season. While you can order dinner items a la carte, there’s also a tasting menu option called The Journey that comes with wine pairings.

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