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By Leah Lerner
Chomp on this: 46% of restaurants in the U.S. are chains. In the last 40 years, chains have been rapidly edging out independent, local food businesses. Why does this matter?
Local boosts the economy. Local restaurants put more than half of their revenues back into town coffers, fueling local economic activity and supporting jobs. Chains, significantly less.
Local is greener. Buying goods from area vendors reduces product transport -- and carbon emissions.
The Top 20 Countdown cities in this survey were chosen based on the number of independently owned restaurants vs. chain restaurants in a given area. The higher the ratio of local to chain, the higher the rank.
Read on to find out which cities have the most local mojo, and where to sample some of their signature tasties.