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Mexican Food Capitals of the U.S.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

 

Timolina / Shutterstock

Cinco de Mayo might be more of an American invention than a true Mexican holiday, but it's still the perfect excuse to enjoy one of Mexico's greatest imports: food.

Imagine sitting at a table on an outdoor patio as you take a bite out of the perfect taco, the sharp flavor of the fresh onions and cilantro mingling with that of the richly aromatic lengua meat. As the nearby mariachi band starts up another lively tune, you relax and slowly sip your horchata from a cool glass, dressed with beads of condensation. This classic Mexican food experience, whether it be in the historic center of Puebla or downtown Denver, is now deeply integrated into American restaurant culture.

Although cuisine found closer to the U.S.-Mexico border may vary greatly from the plates served in the North, Mexican food and its variations occupy a special place in the heart of Americans. Far from being an occasional novelty, Mexican food ranks as the third-most popular menu type in the U.S. It is an estimated $38 billion industry with consumption growing at a faster rate than any other restaurant type. Looking at this industry heavyweight on a neighborhood level shows just how important Mexican food is to the American palate.

Using company classification from Localeze and Dun & Bradstreet, along with population estimates from the 2014 American Community Survey, the data analysts at FindTheHome calculated the number of Mexican food restaurants per 10,000 people. This aggregation of local listings includes small, local restaurants as well as mainstream Mexican food chains, such as Taco Bell and Chipotle Mexican Grill. We then identify the city within each state that has the highest density of Mexican food restaurants. Only cities with a population over 15,000 were included in our analysis. The overall list is ranked from least to most dense. Explore the following list to see if your city made it as one of the Mexican Food Capitals of the U.S.

Note: For the sake of simplicity, we round the “Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People” to the nearest hundredth, which results in ties. Ties do not exist in the unrounded list. The order of the list reflects ranking based on the original calculation.

#50. South Dakota: Watertown

Population: 21,795
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 1.38

#49. Vermont: Burlington

Population: 42,342
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 1.42

#48. Rhode Island: Central Falls

Population: 19,406
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 1.55

#47. North Dakota: Fargo

Population: 110,725
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 1.63

#46. Massachusetts: Chelsea

Population: 37,084
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 1.89

#45. Delaware: Middletown

Population: 19,469
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 2.05

#44. Montana: Kalispell

Population: 20,629
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 2.42

#43. Maine: Brunswick

Population: 15,275
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 2.62

#42. Ohio: Vandalia

Population: 15,220
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 2.63

#41. West Virginia: Morgantown

Population: 30,133
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 2.65

#40. Minnesota: Anoka

Population: 17,202
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 2.91

#39. Wyoming: Rock Springs

Population: 23,684
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 2.96

#38. Louisiana: Chalmette

Population: 19,375
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.10

#37. Alaska: Fairbanks

Population: 32,100
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.12

#36. New Hampshire: Portsmouth

Population: 21,366
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.28

#35. Idaho: Caldwell

Population: 48,114
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.33

#34. Michigan: Traverse City

Population: 15,006
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.33

#33. Connecticut: Wallingford Center

Population: 17,824
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.37

#32. Nebraska: Grand Island

Population: 50,059
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.40

#31. Wisconsin: Ashwaubenon

Population: 17,065
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.52

#30. Alabama: Homewood

Population: 25,420
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.54

#29. Kentucky: Paducah

Population: 25,046
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.59

#28. Tennessee: Springfield

Population: 16,598
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.61

#27. Indiana: Merrillville

Population: 35,262
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.69

#26. Mississippi: Ridgeland

Population: 24,209
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.72

#25. South Carolina: Anderson

Population: 26,798
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.73

#24. Pennsylvania: Norristown

Population: 34,454
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.77

#23. Kansas: Liberal

Population: 20,846
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.84

#22. Missouri: Creve Coeur

Population: 17,841
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.92

#21. Oklahoma: Sapulpa

Population: 20,308
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.94

#20. New York: Westbury

Population: 15,201
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 3.95

#19. Hawaii: Kihei

Population: 22,314
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 4.03

#18. New Jersey: Dover

Population: 18,298
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 4.37

#17. Maryland: East Riverdale

Population: 15,975
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 4.38

#16. Illinois: Moline

Population: 43,087
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 4.41

#15. Utah: South Salt Lake

Population: 24,315
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 4.52

#14. Arkansas: Blytheville

Population: 15,251
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 4.59

#13. Virginia: Fairfax

Population: 23,507
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 4.68

#12. Oregon: Hermiston

Population: 17,031
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 4.70

#11. North Carolina: Clemmons

Population: 19,101
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 4.71

#10. Nevada: Mesquite

Population: 16,072
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 4.98

#9. Washington: Moses Lake

Population: 21,141
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 5.20

#8. Arizona: Douglas

Population: 17,137
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 5.25

#7. Iowa: Clive

Population: 16,246
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 6.16

#6. New Mexico: Hobbs

Population: 35,343
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 7.36

#4. Colorado: Durango

Population: 17,268
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 8.11

#5. Georgia: Dalton

Population: 33,336
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 8.10

#3. Florida: Doral

Population: 49,363
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 8.31

#2. Texas: Humble

Population: 15,402
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 11.04

#1. California: Santa Fe Springs

Population: 16,859
Mexican Food Restaurants per 10K People: 14.24

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