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America’s Best BBQ Joint Named by Yelp

Copper Top BBQ, in Big Pine, CA, (population: 1,756) is the best restaurant in the United States.

Says who, you might ask? Says Yelp. Which means … well, something.

If nothing else, it means that Copper Top was at the top of the list of Yelp’s “Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for 2015.” Which raises the inevitable question: How was the list compiled? According to Dan F., a Yelp data scientist:

To determine Yelp’s top places to eat for 2015, our data science team analyzed which places were the most popular and well reviewed over the course of 2014. Unlike our inaugural list from last year, which unearthed the best places to eat on Yelp based on almost 10 years of reviews, this time Yelp’s data science team gave more weight to recent reviews, so that Yelpers’ opinions in 2014 mattered most, while older reviews had less influence on the list.

So it’s a list of trending restaurants, rather than old standbys. And it’s a list with little or no overlap with the best-restaurant lists compiled by mainstream food writers and restaurant critics.

In Los Angeles, where I live and constantly prowl for new dining destinations, Yelpers gave the most stars to the likes of Saffron and Rose Ice Cream, Porto’s Bakery, Joe’s Falafel, Bronzed Aussie, Go Greek Yogurt, and Mouthful Eatery. Those are all new to me. And—another plus—they all look to be on the less expensive end of the price spectrum.

I’m not expecting any of the Yelp picks to be the best. But I plan to give some of them a try. If they’re both good and cheap, I’ll be happy. And if the food is disappointing, I’ll only be out-of-pocket for the price of a falafel plate ($8.98 at Joe’s).

Reader Reality Check

Have you checked out Yelp’s list of 100 top restaurants?

This article originally appeared on

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