Mon, Oct 3, 2022 2:43 PM
By Brett Davis, The Center Square
Seattle’s culinary scene got a boost on Monday, with a new study by WalletHub ranking the Emerald City No. 7 on its list of best foodie cities in America. Three other Washington cities made the list as well: Vancouver, Spokane, and Tacoma.
The personal finance website looked at 29 key indicators to determine its rankings of 182 cities, including cost of groceries, affordability and accessibility of high-quality restaurants, and food festivals per capita.
The study noted that increasing costs are a factor in terms of a city’s food scene.
WalletHub reported that restaurant prices rose 8% between August 2021 and August 2022, and grocery prices increased 8.3% during that same time.
“Foodie culture isn’t limited to restaurants," the WalletHub report said. "Foodies enjoy discovering new and unique flavors wherever they can find them, including in their own kitchens and less prominent establishments like street food stalls. For these people, the experience of eating is elevated to a hobby or even a lifestyle.”
WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez went into some detail about the quartet of cities from the Evergreen State that made the list.
“Seattle, Vancouver and Spokane all ranked in the top half foodie cities, while Tacoma ranked in the middle of the pack,” she told The Center Square in an email. “Seattle is the seventh best foodie city. This is because it has plenty of accessible and affordable high quality restaurants and no food tax.”
According to the state Department of Revenue, Washington law exempts most grocery type foods from retail sales tax. However, the law does not exempt “prepared food,” “soft drinks,” or “dietary supplements.” Businesses that sell these “foods” must collect sales tax. In addition, all alcoholic items are subject to retail sales tax.
Gonzalez continued with her assessment of Seattle.
“Its restaurants are among the best places to eat in the country, the city has the most craft breweries, wine bars, international grocery stores and cooking schools per capita, plus a lot of herbs and spices stores, kitchen supplies stores and food and wine tours per capita,” she explained.
The three other Washington cities on the list didn’t fare as well.
“Vancouver and Spokane ranked 26th and 72nd, respectively,” she said. “They both have plenty of affordable high quality restaurants, no food tax, a good ratio of full service restaurants to fast food establishments, a lot of craft breweries, wine bars, coffee and tea shops and food and wine tours per capita.”
Tacoma was the worst-performing Washington city as measured by WalletHub.
“Tacoma ranks in the middle of the pack, coming in 93rd,” Gonzalez said. “It has no food tax, plenty of affordable high quality restaurants and ranks high in terms of food freshness. The 10.3% sales tax – highest in the country, high cost of living and low access to healthy food options were some of the things that kept it from ranking higher.”
The minimum combined 2022 sales tax rate for Tacoma is 10.3%. This is the total of state, county and city sales tax rates. The Washington sales tax rate is currently 6.5% and the city’s tax rate is 3.8%.
A fellow Pacific Northwest city took the overall top spot, with Portland, Oregon coming in No. 1.
The 10 best foodie cities in America:
1. Portland, Oregon
2. Orlando, Florida
3. Miami, Florida
4. San Francisco, California
5. Austin, Texas
6. Sacramento, California
7. Seattle, Washington
8. Tampa, Florida
9. Las Vegas, Nevada
10. San Diego, California
The 10 worst foodie cities in America:
182. Pearl City, Hawaii
181. Montgomery, Alabama
180. Moreno Valley, California
179. Shreveport, Louisiana
178. Jackson, Mississippi
177. Fontana, California
176. Nampa, Idaho
175. West Valley City, Utah
174. North Las Vegas, Nevada
173. Columbus, Georgia