Doughnut Vault
Tess C./Yelp

20+ Times Food Went Viral and People Lost Their Minds

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Doughnut Vault
Tess C./Yelp

Small Supply But Big Demand

The quicker a chef sells out, the more likely their food is some of the best around. These days, competition has only gotten stiffer for such treats. Ushered in by social media, the age of viral foods and pastries means you have to wake up extra early, wait in line, or make some well-connected friends to get these tasty treats. We've tracked down some of the country's most highly sought delicacies — now it's up to you to decide how early you want to set the alarm.


Related: Restaurants with Crazy Lines That Are Still Worth the Wait

Bagelsaurus
Stefany V./Yelp

Bagelsaurus

Cambridge, Massachusetts

This tiny bagelry sees lines forming outside its doors every day of the week. Mary Ting Hyatt, the owner and genius baker, spent more than a year developing her recipe for a perfectly crispy crust with a delicious, chewy interior. Bagelsaurus has a curated selection of sandwiches and spreads to choose from, but you have to get there early, because they really sell out fast.


Related: Best Bagel Shops Across the Country

Franklin Barbecue Austin
Katlin G./Yelp

Franklin Barbecue

Austin, Texas

Who knew barbecue would ever get such legendary status? This spot is, without a doubt, an international destination, having been spotlighted by the likes of the late Anthony Bourdain. Folks line up for hours to get a taste of Franklin’s smoked brisket, until, of course, it's sold out. You may be able to get it shipped to your door.

Related: Bucket List Barbecue in Every State

 Bakery Four
Blair R./Yelp

Bakery Four

Denver
With lines beginning to form around 6:30 a.m., it comes as no surprise that this bakery with a cultlike following sells out consistently of its signature sourdough loaf (there is only one on the menu — a country loaf made with stone-ground heirloom wheat) and pastries. The husband and wife team keep Bakery Four's menu short and sweet. One look at its social media accounts and you will be drowning in pictures of the sell-out cruffin, a croissant-muffin hybrid filled with a rich pastry cream.


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Goldburger Los Angeles
Sabrina C./Yelp

Goldburger

Los Angeles

This pop-up and overnight sensation quickly grew lines and sold out so fast that it was inevitable for it to end up with a bricks-and-mortar location. Goldburger reigns supreme in a town with an increasing abundance of smash burgers, layered with oozing American cheese and tangy pickles. These burgers are McDonalds look-alikes that you can feel really good about, and eat two of.

 

Related: Best Hole-in-the-Wall Burger Joint in Every State

Tartine  San Francisco
Lena J./Yelp

Tartine

San Francisco

Tartine revolutionized baking in the United States in the same way California changed the food scene: It sourced ingredients responsibly, locally, and seasonally, and developed a huge following. While Tartine Bakery does its best to keep up with demand, the delectable pastries often sell out before closing, leaving those left in line with delicious sourdough loaves and other breads to carry home.

 

Related: 50 Beloved Hometown Bakeries Across America

AZ Taco King
Dominick D./Yelp

AZ Taco King

Phoenix

Birria, a traditional Mexican meat stew served with tortillas, had a social media moment not long ago — but AZ Taco King has long been serving the dish to delighted customers. It started selling birria tacos out of a food cart in a friend’s liquor store parking lot, but has since graduated to bricks-and-mortar digs.      


Related: Tasty Taco Places Across the Country

Dominique Ansel Bakery
Grace L./Yelp

Dominique Ansel Bakery

New York

The Dominique Ansel cronut was one of the first viral food items that generated lines around the block. The cronut, a croissant-donut hybrid, got so much attention and praise that the bakery had to put up a permanent sign in its window stating it is out of cronuts  just to slow demand. (This doesn’t mean it's always out, just that customers may have to go inside and ask.)


Related: Best Cupcakes in Every State

Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty
Shweta K./Yelp

Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty

Portland, Oregon

The menu here is split “fifty-fifty”: half pizza, half ice cream. And you can bet that's the way to split your order, too, because you won’t want to miss out on either. With wood-fired pizza for dinner and homemade ice cream for dessert, Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty knows how to draw a crowd. The place is dedicated to locally sourced ingredients, including mozzarella and hedgehog mushrooms picked in nearby woods.

 

Related: 50 Ice Cream Shops With Unique Treats Across the Country

Early Bird Biscuits
Steve M./Yelp
Doughnut Vault
Tess C./Yelp

Doughnut Vault

Chicago

This Chicago coffee shop has mastered the light-and-fluffy doughnut and the chewier old-fashioned version. But the best thing to do at the Doughnut Vault would probably be to grab a dozen to go for friends and family, not only because they always sell out, but because seasonal and unusual flavors such as chestnut or old-fashioned pistachio beg to be shared.


Related: Unique Doughnuts You Have to Try

Sandoitchi
Sandoitchi/Yelp

Sandoitchi

Dallas

Sandos are Japanese milk bread sandwiches packed neatly with fried chicken, beef, or pork, tonkatsu sauce, and pickles or slaw. Sandoitchi, a Texas pop-up that's also served in Orange County, California, specializes in them, selling out of its A5 Wagyu option without fail. You’ll have to follow them on social media or sign up for their email alerts as they move around.


Related: Food Trucks Worth Following in Every Major City

Bagel
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Hella Bagels

Oakland, California

We’re not exaggerating when we say that these bagels sell out in seconds. Once you see the link going up for online ordering, you are probably too late. Only 100 bagels are made a week by Hella Bagels chef Blake Hunter, who bakes them out of his own home. With one base dough, Blake covers his meticulously crafted bagels with classic toppings and enticing shmears such as “mango peach spicy fruit.”

Hardywood Richmond, Virginia
Maria T./Yelp

Hardywood

Richmond, Virginia

While this brewery is open year-round, it is around Christmas when things really get cranking. Every year Hardywood releases a gingerbread stout that is delicately built with locally sourced ingredients. And every year, a long line of beer aficionados forms, buying growlers and cans until the brewery is sold out. Here’s a not-so-fun fact: In 2013, Hardywood lost 50 barrels of its beloved gingerbread stout to a clamp failure. Local news deemed it a “catastrophe.”


Related: Top U.S. Cities for Craft Beer 

Blacksauce Baltimore
Cynthia F./Yelp

Blacksauce

Baltimore

A staple of Baltimore’s largest farmer’s market, Blacksauce delivers biscuits generously stuffed with tender, smoked meat and runny yolks. Faithful clientele lines up on weekend mornings, watching a blackboard with limited biscuit options dwindle as items sell out. The good news is that there are always extra biscuits, so you might just have to make that breakfast sandwich yourself at home.

 

Related: Greatest Breakfast Sandwich in Every State

Le Saison Cambridge, Massachusetts
Shoshana Z./Yelp

Le Saison

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Le Saison started out in a home kitchen in Tehran, Iran, where Soheil Fathi’s mother started baking brownies to sell. Years later, after his family moved to the United States and Fathi worked as a pastry chef at the renowned Flour Bakery in Boston, Le Saison opened and immediately began selling out of croissants. There are plain and multigrain options.


Related: International Baked Goods to Try at Home, From Babka to Yorkshire Pudding

Gusto Bread Long Beach, California
Rachel L./Yelp
Pizzeria Beddia  Philadelphia
Nick D./Yelp

Pizzeria Beddia

Philadelphia

In the old days, Pizzeria Beddia made only 40 pies a day, didn’t have a phone, and asked customers to wait in line, cash in hand, to get a taste. Things are a little different now, but its pizza, a classic New York-style pie, is just as coveted. A move to a larger space has made the pizza a little more accessible, but you still have to make sure you order early if you don’t want to wait forever.

 

Related: The Craziest Pizzas in Every State

Middle Child Philadelphia
Sam L./Yelp

Middle Child

Philadelphia

You would be hard-pressed to find a hoagie joint that sells out quicker than Middle Child. Whether it's a daily special or breakfast sandwich of fluffy eggs, arugula, and sharp American cheese on a locally baked potato roll, these folks sell sandwiches so quickly they have had to shut down their online ordering service for hours at a time to catch up. The menu changes frequently, but one classic is the Shopsin Club: turkey, sweet pickles, avocado, cranberry miso mayo, lettuce, and locally sourced ciabatta.


Related: Best Subs, Grinders, and Hoagies Across America

Bamboo House
Naix Z./Yelp

Bamboo House

Humble, Texas

You may not have expected to find a sell-out Peking duck in the heart of Texas, but Bamboo House delivers. Served with its crisp skin and all the fixin’s, including pancakes and the duck soup at the end of the meal, this is one feast not to miss out on. But the word is out that it runs out of duck, so best get there early.


Related: Best Chinese Restaurant in Every State

Mokbar
Jonathan H./Yelp

Mokbar

New York

After the movie "Parasite" came out in 2019, a Korean household staple featured in the movie went viral: jjapaguri, a dish traditionally made by combining two varieties of instant noodles. In "Parasite," this combination is topped with an expensive cut of steak. At Mokbar in NYC, it's built from scratch with homemade noodles. 

 

Related: Foods That Americans are Missing Out On

2fifty in Washington, D.C.
Takera G,/Yelp

2fifty

Washington, D.C.

The perfectly smoked slices of wagyu beef at 2fifty sell out regularly, which is no surprise given the painstaking research the founders say they put into learning the craft of Texas barbecue. It's a particularly delicious success story that brought Salvadoran entrepreneurs to the United States not long after making workers at their capital's U.S. embassy into some of their biggest fans. 

 

Related: Steakhouses That Are Worth the Splurge

La Tunita 512
Steve H./Yelp

La Tunita 512

Austin, Texas

Whether it’s the birria tacos or carnitas, La Tunita 512 consistently sells out of its stock. This is especially true of daily specials such as mouth-watering tortas, which are served only on Wednesdays, or a birria pizza. This is a place to watch as it blows up in Texas, arguably the humble taco’s second home.    


Related: The Best Mexican Restaurant in Every State