The Fourth of July is this weekend, which means we have the perfect excuse to try some awesome flavours at American restaurants around Melbourne. Yes, it’s an American holiday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate a good burger.
Luckily for us, Melbourne has several amazing American restaurants to choose from. Enjoy some southern hospitality barbecue or sip on a delicious milkshake in a diner.
Melbourne often goes in waves with its international influences on dining. From Mexican taco trucks to Spanish tapas to Korean barbecue, there are no limits to our cravings for international cuisine.
One craze we cannot ignore any longer has to go to the land of the free and home of the brave, with American style platefuls still popping up left, right and centre.
Yes, American-inspired food and drink are not new to Melbourne, but boy, do we love it right now. Whether you're craving dude food like Philly steaks and curly fries, want to snuggle into an American-style diner or won't settle for anything short of some southern Gumbo, there's a place for you here.
Fourth of July celebrations were surprisingly abundant this year, and so the masses have spoken: USA is A-OK.
So when you've got the urge for something from the States without the 22-hour flight, here's where you should head.
The Best American-Inspired Restaurants in Melbourne
American cuisine has moved far beyond the calorie-filled fast food we used to associate it with, and Melbourne is a great testament to that. American-style eateries—from the casual to the upmarket—where you can enjoy everything from comfort food to sweet pies and vegan sandwiches.
Oh, and BBQ meat—lots of it. We’ve rounded up the best spots for American food in Melbourne—here’s to the good ol’ US of A.
Le Bon Ton
Be transported to Louisiana at Le Bon Ton in Collingwood. With a motto like “Come hungry, leave happy”, you know you’re in for a good time. Their specialty? American BBQ. The meats are smoked over ironbark and fruit woods for 12 hours.
This 4th of July, they’re cranking up the heat with their Hot Wings Challenge. The eight wings are coated in their sizzling Extra Hot Suicide Sauce. Eat each wing in under two minutes for a chance to win a dining voucher. If you’d like to warm up differently, try some of their delicious cocktails to put some fire in your belly.
On top of their Hot Wing Challenge, this Sunday, there will also be a roving photo booth, an American muscle car display and live music between 4 pm and 7 pm.
Brought to you by the boys who have already proven they can nail Mexican food with Chingon, Le Bon Ton is another place serving up the New Orleans-inspired goods. The chicken wings smoked over cherry wood for two hours have been described as smokier than Keith Richards (we're assured that's a good thing).
Also worth a stab is the 12-hour mesquite-smoked pork shoulder — it will change your life. We're also not about to argue with the Sierra Nevada on tap. For those, after a serious cocktail, there is the 'French Quarter' with Martell, Bulleit rye whiskey and sweet vermouth, with lashings of bitters and Bénédictine liqueur.
And then there's the homemade pies for dessert: pecan, chocolate cream, banana cream and apple. This will be a food coma well deserved.
Part restaurant, part cocktail bar, part absinthe salon, Collingwood’s Le Bon Ton has quickly established as one of Melbourne’s best American eateries. The kitchen is helmed by the Texas-raised Belleau brothers so that you can trust the authenticity of the pit-smoked meats, Louisiana-style crab cakes and the to-die-for mac and cheese blended with no less than three cheeses—cheddar, Swiss and American.
51 Gipps St, Collingwood VIC 3066.
Soda Rock Diner
It doesn’t have to be about the meat! For a classic American diner experience, visit Soda Rock Diner on Chapel Street. You’ll have a blast as there’s a jukebox on every table, pinball machines – even roller-skating waiters! Enjoy their range of burgers and hotdogs, and, if you’re looking for a sweet dessert, try out their famous cherry pie.
Of course, what’s a diner without a milkshake? Made the “old-fashioned American way”, these milkshakes are deliciously thick and creamy, with three scoops of ice cream in every serve.
Find Soda Rock Diner outside Jam Factory, at 10/500 Chapel St, South Yarra VIC 3141.
San Antone by Bludso’s BBQ
If you like smoked meats, you’ll love this Texan smokehouse in Crown Casino. San Antone to Melbourne by Kevin Bludso, a third-generation pit-master responsible for Bludso’s BBQ in LA.
The meat is slowly cooked over hand-picked woods and seasoned with a secret recipe. Prepare to get your fingers messy and sticky. To wash down the meat, try one of their margaritas, like the Chuck Norris, or their cocktails, like their Redneck Rocket Fuel.
Find San Antone on Level 1 at Crown at 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC 3006.
Bowery to Williamsburg
Travel to New York at this beautiful laneway café. Bowery to Williamsburg is a homage to the Bowery subway station in New York City. Expect hearty sandwiches like the Rueben or a Philly Cheese Steak. In addition to the sandwiches, there are also classic bagels, waffles and eggs. And while you can enjoy a more Melburnian type of coffee, they offer the American filter style as well.
For those looking for a taste of the USA in daylight hours, this cafe will take care of your bagel cravings. Channelling the industrial NY Subway station, this cafe pumps out Padre coffee all day and something a little stronger for the afternoon crowd.
The breakfast pastrami bagel is a hard one to pass up, with fried egg, jalapeños, sheer and rocket to get your day off to a great start. More recently, they have added po'boys to their menu and some incredibly irresistible cronuts — that's a croissant crossed with a doughnut for the uninitiated.
Discover Bowery to Williamsburg at 16 Oliver Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000.
Bluebonnet Barbecue has had a tumultuous journey in Melbourne. It had some pop-up locations, operated as a food truck and was once completely burned to the ground. Now, it’s safe in its permanent home on Lygon Street.
Specialising in Texas barbecue, Bluebonnet offers a range of delicious meats, like beef brisket, house-made sausage and smoked lamb ribs. Their wood-fired Ole Hickory Pit smoker can cook half a tonne of meat per day! Their bar also has over 100 different types of ryes, bourbons and whiskeys for you to try.
Find Bluebonnet at 124-126 Lygon St, Brunswick East VIC 3057.
F.A.T Fried And Tasty
Get fat in the best way possible. Head to F.A.T on Brunswick East for some excellent fried chicken. Feast on fried chicken with waffles, grab a F.A.T pack or enjoy a whole bucket of fried chicken.
If you’re not interested in chicken on its own, they also have burgers. Try some delicious sides, like Mac and Cheese, chilli corn or ranch salad. Then, wash it down with a beer or a milkshake.
Find F.A.T at 360 Lygon St, Brunswick East VIC 3057.
Sal’s Authentic New York Pizza
In the city, you will find a pizza joint that provides truly authentic New York pizza. This restaurant boasts of using pizza techniques and secret recipes from Salvatore Leo, the man responsible for Sal’s Pizza in New York.
Here, you will find ingredients such as Vine Ripened California Tomatoes, Wisconsin mozzarella and slow risen dough made from New York Milled Hard Spring Wheat Flour.
Find Sal’s in the CBD, Fitzroy or Brunswick.
The permanent residence from the team behind Creole food truck Gumbo Kitchen is perfect for those looking for southern comfort food. The po'boys, popular New Orleans street food, are filled with fried shrimp, deep-fried catfish or pulled pork — and you can’t go past the gumbo.
Fantastic for those looking for a big feed on a budget. They often have drink and food specials (keep an eye out on their Facebook page). The bar out the back, Huey Long's, has also recently started stocking craft beer from Louisiana for authenticity.
They also serve great American style cocktails; rye mint julep served with crushed ice in pewter cups will be our go-to beverage the second the weather warms up.
A little bit of New Orleans comes to Fitzroy with Po'Boy Quarter, a Louisiana-inspired eatery from the team behind everyone’s favourite food truck, Gumbo Kitchen. The attention to detail is exceptional: even the tiles out the front are from New Orleans. As for the menu, it’s all free-range southern chicken, freshly shucked oysters and bowls of steaming hot, flavoursome gumbo.
295 Smith Street, Fitzroy
This nautical dive bar is all about the booze, boats and buns — we're assuming the hamburger nature — and if you can have more fun at a bar while keeping your clothes on, we'll eat our hat. Ike's Rack Shack is where it's at for delicious ribs.
The tasty bits of meat and bone is covered in a salt and pepper rub and smoked overnight, then glazed with a Bulliet bourbon and maple syrup concoction. If you've got room for dessert, they’ve also got a bourbon caramel-topped walnut and vanilla sundae — along with apple pie, of course.
421 Rathdowne Street, Carlton
The dedicated folk at Meatmother are up bright and early to get slabs of beef brisket, pork and ribs to smoke over oak for 12 hours before they reach your lips. We recommend getting the meat tray to test out their day's work and adding a side of either chipotle slaw or mac and cheese.
As for drinks, they offer a great selection of American and Australian craft beers, bourbon and cocktails. With rusty meat cleavers adorning the walls, this isn't a prime choice for vegetarians (as the name suggests). But, if you like your meat to fall apart and be full of flavour, you can't go wrong here.
Vegetarians need not apply—as the name suggests, Meatmother is all about the meat. It’s barbecued and served in American-approved generous serves, from the Wagyu brisket to the pork belly rib. The sides, like chipotle slaw and mac and cheese, are worth writing home about. And if you can’t get enough, check out sister restaurant Meatmaiden in the city, which also deals in craft beer and bourbon.
167 Swan Street, Richmond
Big Boy BBQ
The motto at Big Boy BBQ is 'Slow Food… Fast', meaning that their meat is generously rubbed with spices and slow-cooked for up to 16 hours, but they can still dish them out quickly once orders start coming in. It may be 'fast food', but the meat is low fat, and low carb meal options are available.
Give 'The Dorothy' a go: Kansas style saucy beef brisket with pickles and coleslaw. Another great thing about Big Boy is that they have BYO for only a $1 surcharge per person. You can find these guys in either Caulfield South or Hardware Lane if the desire for shredded tender meat grabs you at a moment's notice.
764 Glen Huntly Road, Caulfield South, Hardware Lane, Melbourne
Fancy Hank's Bar-B-Que
If you're craving a big hunk of BBQ meat to get you through this winter, you should drop by Fancy Hank's. 16-hour pulled pork shoulder for $6 per 100g or beer can chicken are popular items on the Bar-b-que menu, available at The Mercat Wednesday to Sunday.
Add a side of 'Rosanne Cash' potato salad or some traditional cornbread, and you won't need to eat for days. They also have happy hour between 4 pm-7 pm on Fridays with 2 for one on-tap beer. Also, what the hell is a pulled pork sundae, you ask? You'd better get down there and investigate.
The Mercat, 456 Queen Street, Melbourne
Miss Katie’s Crab Shack
Previously known as Dr Juicy Jay's Crab Shack (originally started by the Chingon boys), Miss Katie's is all about the American-style cooked blue swimmer crab. There is no holding back when it comes to these crabs — you must grab a bib and hammer and get stuck into these delicious crustaceans.
The seasonal jambalaya, a paella-like dish with rice, seasonal vegetables and a selection of meats, is created depending on what looked good at the market that day — ask the staff for details. For those not so in favour of seafood, there's KFC (that’s Katie's Fried Chicken), and vegetarians have not been forgotten here, with the sweetcorn and sweet potato burger doing the trick.
It recently relocated from North Melbourne’s Public Bar to Fitzroy’s Rochester Hotel, but Miss Katie’s Crab Shack is still serving the authentic, southern-style seafood it’s known for. As well as favourites like Katie’s Fried Chicken and crab burgers, punters can build their boil by adding a combination of crustaceans served with boiled potato, corn cobs and sausage. It’s a Melbourne treasure.
The Public Bar, 238 Victoria Street, North Melbourne
If we're going to include a diner on our list, we think it should be Trunk. While Trunk's restaurant section is slightly more serious business, Trunk's New York-style diner is for those looking for something a bit quicker and light-hearted.
Try the Breaking Bad Dog: a bacon-wrapped hot dog with mustard, ketchup, fresh tomato salsa and jalapeños. Add some Wagyu chilli fries to the order, and you're laughing. Plus, you can never go wrong with a dessert menu consisting only of Sundaes — the salted caramel with toffee peanuts and caramelised popcorn.
Trunk Diner models itself on a New York-style diner, with a great indoor-outdoor dining area and a menu that’s part classic Americana, part Tex-Mex. For lunch, there are hot dogs like the Hillbilly or Chilli Cheese, plus a menu of quesadillas.
For dinner, there’s BBQ pork ribs and buttermilk-fried chicken with sides like potato mash and apple slaw. Make sure you leave room for one of Trunk’s famous sundaes, milkshakes, or maybe both.
275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Ex-Cookie owner of Nieuw Amsterdam has opened a New York-inspired eatery and late-night bar, and it doesn't disappoint. Serving food for lunch and into the night, the fare is decidedly American, with Gritz Fritters and a New York clam chowder filled with leeks, bacon, potatoes, clam veloute.
Of course, with all things American found in Melbourne, there is a pit grill to satisfy the carnivores amongst us, with lamb ribs and pork belly chops to boot. Pumpkin doughnuts and peanut butter waffles beckon us for dessert — but then again, so does the bar.
An impressive list of Negronis and a 'NY Sour' with rye whiskey, cognac, lemon juice, egg white, and an absinthe rinse could be just what the doctor ordered.
106-112 Hardware Street, Melbourne
Belle's Hot Chicken
We know this is number 11 of the list, but we thought Belle's Hot Chicken — which has recently opened, replacing Belle's Diner — was worthy of a mention on this list. The Gertrude Street diner is set to close mid-July and reopen to serve Nashville-style fried chicken exclusively.
They'll be plating up their spicy-coated chicken with sides of fermented pickles, hot sauce, slaw, and potato salad in August. Their focus is to do one thing and do it well — and we're volunteering ourselves to be their test crowd.
How brave are you? That’s the question immediately posed at Belle’s Hot Chicken, where after choosing your cut of fried chicken (wings, tenders, drumsticks or thighs), you choose your spice ranging from ‘southern’ to ‘hot.’
There are plenty of sides and sauces to choose from, and on weekends only, a chicken and waffles breakfast dish that you’ll never forget. A top spot for American food in Melbourne.
150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Melbourne is a city that offers a little bit of everything. From its vibrant arts scene to the stunning parks and gardens, there’s something for everyone in this city. And when it comes to food, Melbourne doesn’t disappoint either.
There are plenty of American restaurants in Melbourne to choose from, and they offer everything from burgers and fries to pizza and pasta. So if you’re looking for some good old-fashioned American food, here are some great places to check out.
FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants
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- TGI Fridays.
- Krispy Kreme.
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- Ben and Jerry.
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According to research firm Roy Morgan, over 17 million Australians eat take away food. Despite the burgeoning food choices available in recent years, McDonald's junk food remains the most visited fast food restaurant in Australia.
Australian Foods That Americans Will Never Get To Enjoy
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