The Most “Amazing” Categories in the Midwest

In honor of Yelp 15, we dug into the most “amazing” categories in the Midwest according to Yelp. With over 40 million words of love and gratitude shared on Yelp since 2004, these categories show the diversity of Yelp across the states of Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and Nebraska. We worked with Yelp Community Managers and Ambassadors in each market to highlight businesses showcasing what’s amazing in their city.

Methodology: To determine which categories made the list, we looked at the reviews received by categories that mentioned the relevant keywords. We checked total word count per each phrase per category against total word count written for each category, and down-weighted the phrase count to ensure true sentiment.

See the most “amazing” categories in the Midwest:

Pancakes – Chicago, IL

“Let me tell you, Pannenkokens are amazing. Although it was quite a wait, as the cafe is really small and only fits maybe 15-20 people at a time, it is a gem. The inside is decorated wonderfully, very European style. The food is even better.”

-Naomi A, Pannenkoeken Cafe


Cupcakes – Chicago Burbs, IL

“Considering my near obsession with the perfect cupcake, I was pleased to find VSB (true fans will use the acronym). Amazing assortment of yummy cupcakes! Whenever I mention this place everyone knows of them already.”

-Kim M, Vanilla Sugar Bakery


Halal – Chicago North Shore, IL

“I had the chicken koobideh kabobs that were amazing, the hubby had the kabuli pulao… It was nothing like I’ve ever had. The meat was so tender, it just melts in your mouth. P.S. All the meat is halal!”

-Nivedita S, Kabul House


Cheese Shops – Des Moines, IA

“Literally walked into a meat and cheese heaven! I cannot believe it took me so long to come here! The toasties (their grilled cheese) choices, sandwiches and of course the meat and cheese board selections were amazing.”

-Vivian T, The Cheese Shop


Wine Bars – Iowa City, IA

“This place is amazing… Perfect for taking someone out on a first date. You can have a sophisticated drink and a cheese platter while getting to know each other without the strange feeling of actually having to eat a full meal in front of your date.”

-Jessica D, Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar


Empanadas – Indianapolis, IN

“The food is absolutely amazing… My favorite things on the item are the following: corn empanadas (wow my mouth is watering just typing that out)… You will not be disappointed.”

-Alejandra P, Livery



Cuban – Detroit, MI

“The burgers are delicious but definitely on the filling side…  The garlic cilantro fries are to die for, and if you can somehow manage to save room for dessert, the churros are amazing!”

-Saadia A, Frita Batidos



Beer Gardens – Twin Cities, MN

“I love these [smoked wings] in their rum chili bbq sauce, there is so much incredible flavor between the smoke and the sauce. Another really amazing item is their burger, it’s absolutely amazing! Beer garden is dog friendly too, so fun!’

-Bridgett J, Butcher & The Boar


Gastropubs – Columbus, MO

“Without a doubt one of my top favorite places in KC… Then the food: flavor, temperature, presentation every time and in every dish. Of course, the drinks and wine selection. Do not think twice, this is the place.”

-Mau E, Blvd Tavern


Ethiopian – Kansas City, MO

“Is this place considered a hole in the wall? Because it’s amazing. Restaurant is a bit small, but my goodness, the food packed a punch. We tried the meat combo, and requested chef’s choice on the two veggie sides.”

-Maggie C, Desta’s Ethiopian Cuisine


Make-up Artists – Saint Louis, MO

“When Brandie was finished and I looked in the mirror, I was stunned. She made me look like the most beautiful version of me I could ever imagine. I got so many compliments on how great I looked and I felt so amazing!”

-Dachelle K, V Vegaz Style


French – Omaha, NE

“Such a delicious, stylish location!  I now have a nearby place to get French cuisine and an amazing variety of champagne, cava, and prosecco. Don’t know the difference? Try a tasting!”

-Dave B, Mode de Vie



Comfort Food – Cincinnati, OH

“Can I give it 6 stars? You couldn’t construct a better sandwich if Jesus himself made it! I don’t want to overlook the sweet grits because they were amazing as well. Just go already!”

-Shawn N, Boomtown Biscuits and Whiskey



Public Markets – Cleveland, OH

“The diversity of the food you can get is absolutely amazing, from desserts and produce to meats. The market is always an experience and is a part of what makes Cleveland special!”

-Rohit A, West Side Market



Make-up Artists – Columbus, OH

“Carey was wonderful! She did an amazing job and I love the shape she gave my eyebrows. I love the all natural products she uses. I wasn’t uncomfortable at all and the redness went away quickly.”

-Ev A, Glow By Carey


Latin American – Madison, WI

“The food has always been amazing since the day they opened. My favorite is their Cubano sandwich for lunch with a side of plantain chips⁠—the perfect amount of food. I love this place.”

– Sara B, La Taguara