If you visit a great food city, do you eat several lunches and dinners each day just to make sure you try all the best restaurants?  Most people do.  No wonder we pack on the pounds on vacation!  But this is good news for Tyler and Longview restaurants.

A new Zagat study on food trends shows that 56 percent of us admit to squeezing in several lunches and dinners each day on vacation, just to make sure we hit all the must-try places in that city.  Food is a big reason to take a vacation.  Ever plan a trip to Chicago just so you can eat deep dish pizza at Gino's East?  Some of us might have.

Jason Eisenberg

In New Orleans, maybe that means eating beignets at Cafe du Monde, and grabbing some cajun and creole at Restaurant August for lunch, and then keeping the momentum going at Cochon Butcher and Parkway Bakery and Tavern and ten other places that smell so good when you walk by that you just have to try them.  A 4-day weekend in the French Quarter can turn into a twenty restaurant feast if you plan it right, and practice some competitive eating techniques headin' in so your stomach can handle it.

What restaurants do visitors hit in East Texas?  In Tyler, that might mean Roast Social Kitchen, Stanley's Pit Barbecue, Chuy's, FD's Grill House, or Happy's Fish House depending on the mood.  I'm sure you can add to the list.  And in Longview the locals might have to move over for tourists who hear about Pizza King and Texas Best Smokehouse, and then we head to Lindale to hit Love and War in Texas and Petty's Steak and Catfish.  I'm already gaining weight thinking about it.  Yum.

The Zagat study found that 54% of diners would travel up to 30 minutes for a good meal, 20% said they would hop in the car for a few hours, 13% would make a weekend drive just to eat, and 13% would plan a vacation around a must-try dish.  Like pizza in Chicago.  Or barbecue in Austin.  Or beignets in New Orleans.

We've got a lot of great food in East Texas (at our restaurants and in your backyard on that grill), so there's no need to travel too far for some good dishes.  But if you are planning your spring vacation around a sandwich, you won't be alone.