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If the only popcorn you’ve eaten came from a microwave or behind the concession stand of a movie theater, then it’s time to taste what you’ve been missing. In honor of National Popcorn Day on January 19, here are the 5 best purveyors of popcorn in the United States.

ALSO: 11 tasty drunk foods from around the world

The Garrett Mix is a blen of savory CheeseCorn and sweet CaramelCrisp. Sounds strange, but it definitely works. Photo courtesy of Garrett Popcorn Shops

The Garrett Mix is a blend of savory CheeseCorn and sweet CaramelCrisp. Sounds strange, but it definitely works. | Photo courtesy of Garrett Popcorn Shops

Garrett Popcorn Shops: Chicago, IL: You can quibble over whether Chicago deep-dish counts as pizza, but when it comes to popcorn, the long lines outside of this Windy City institution speak for themselves. Affectionately known as Garrett’s, the shop has retail locations throughout Chicago, plus a handful of outlets across the U.S. and Asia; each batch is still handmade throughout the day. Flavorwise, you can’t go wrong with the Garrett Mix—that sweet-and-salty combo of caramel and cheese flavors.

The Popcorn Shop. Credit Sam Howzit/Flickr.

The Popcorn Shop is an icon in the sleepy town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. | Photo: Sam Howzit/Flickr

The Popcorn Shop: Chagrin Falls, OH: Once a safe house on the Underground Railroad, this building in an idyllic Cleveland suburb now houses an eatery that’s as American as the popcorn and ice cream it’s known for. President George W. Bush even visited the shop during his reelection campaign. Choose from more than a dozen popcorn flavors, from pecan almond to pink cranberry, and wash it down with a milkshake. Take your treats down the block for a view of the Chagrin River waterfall below.

Lisa's Passion for Popcorn is big on flavor. Photo courtesy of Brooke Call.

Lisa’s Passion for Popcorn is big on flavor. | Photo: Courtesy of Brooke Call

Lisa’s Passion for Popcorn: Kaysville, UT: What began as a small family business selling caramel corn in theater concession stands has evolved into a Greater Salt Lake City factory that churns out more than 75 seasoning combinations. Each batch is made to order, with a minimum order of 12 bags per flavor. So whether you fancy the Chili Lime Cheese, Butter Rum or Lavender Mint, be prepared to eat a lot—or share.

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Great American Popcorn Co. Photo courtesy of Bill Rieckhoff.

Great American Popcorn Co. | Photo courtesy of Bill Rieckhoff

Great American Popcorn Company: Cedar Rapids, IA: What’s more American than popcorn in flavors like Birthday Cake and Loaded Baked Potato? Those are just two of the 100 possibilities (with samples galore) you’ll find at this popular Midwestern spot. Save room for ice cream, fudge and soda in vintage-style bottles.

Cornology: San Francisco, CA: For the discerning snacker, there are these Bay Area shops that pride themselves on buzz words like Himalayan sea salt and only organic, non-GMO seeds. Buy some ready-to-eat, or take home a jar of popcorn spice (Jamaican Mojo or Truffle Parmesan, anyone?) to doctor up your own kernels.

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Tagged: California, Midwest

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Dalia Colon

Dalia Colon

Dalia is a multimedia journalist in Tampa and the Smart Travel Insider for VISIT FLORIDA. Follow her on Twitter @daliacolon.

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