James Beard Foundation Announces 2019 Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists


The James Beard Foundation announced today its list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists in advance of the 29th annual James Beard Awards. The prestigious group of semifinalists across all categories represents a wide collection of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations nationally and across ten different regions to the best new restaurants, outstanding bar, outstanding baker, and a rising star chefs 30 years of age or under. The full list of 2019 semifinalists can be reviewed at the end of the press release or directly at the James Beard Foundation website


The Foundation will announce the final nominees for all Award categories during a press conference in Houston, hosted by James Beard Award–winning chef Hugo Ortega at his namesake Mexican restaurant, Hugo’s, on Wednesday, March 27th, 2019. The event will take place at 9:00 A.M. CT / 10:00 A.M. ET and will be streamed live online (details coming soon on the Foundation’s website) and the nominees will be live-tweeted via the James Beard Foundation Twitter feed at twitter.com/beardfoundation.


Overview of Restaurant and Chef Awards Process

The James Beard Foundation holds an online open call for entries beginning in mid-October of each year.

Entries received, along with input solicited from an independent volunteer group of more than 250 panelists around the country, are reviewed by the Restaurant and Chef Committee to determine eligibility and regional representation. Based on the results and eligibility requirements for each award, the committee then produces a nominating ballot that lists the semifinalists in each of the 21 Restaurant and Chef Award categories. The list of semifinalists is then voted on by more than 600 judges from across the country to determine the final nominees in each category. The same group of judges, which comprises leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Award winners, then votes on the nominees to select the winners. Tabulations to determine the nominees and winners are done by independent auditors Lutz & Carr. The governing Awards committee, board of trustees, and staff of the James Beard Foundation do not vote, and the results are kept confidential until the presentation of winners in May. James Beard Awards policies and procedures can be reviewed at jamesbeard.org/awards/policies.

2019 James Beard Awards

Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists and Award Criteria


Best New Restaurant

A restaurant opened in 2018 that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.


  • Adda Indian Canteen, NYC
  • Andiario, West Chester, PA
  • Angler, San Francisco
  • Atomix, NYC
  • Bardea Food & Drink, Wilmington, DE
  • Bavel, Los Angeles
  • Bywater American Bistro, New Orleans
  • Canard, Portland, OR
  • Celeste, Somerville, MA
  • Chickadee, Boston
  • Ellē, Washington, D.C.
  • The Elysian Bar, New Orleans
  • Folk, Nashville
  • Frenchette, NYC
  • Kyoten, Chicago
  • Larder Delicatessen and Bakery, Cleveland
  • Lineage, Wailea, HI
  • Majordomo, Los Angeles
  • Marrow, Detroit
  • Nyum Bai, Oakland, CA
  • Passerotto, Chicago
  • Petra and the Beast, Dallas
  • Popol Vuh, Minneapolis
  • Q House, Denver
  • Sawyer, Seattle
  • Spoken English, Washington, D.C.
  • The Stanley, Charlotte, NC
  • Suerte, Austin
  • The Surf Club Restaurant, Surfside, FL
  • Vianda, San Juan, PR


Outstanding Baker

A pastry chef or baker who demonstrates exceptional skill, integrity, and character in the preparation of desserts, pastries, or breads served in a retail bakery. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.


  • Umber Ahmad, Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery, NYC
  • Kim Boyce, Bakeshop, Portland, OR
  • Andy Clark, Moxie Bread Co., Louisville, CO
  • Evrim Dogu and Evin Dogu, Sub Rosa Bakery, Richmond, VA
  • Tova du Plessis, Essen Bakery, Philadelphia
  • Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, NYC
  • Don Guerra, Barrio Bread, Tucson, AZ
  • Naomi Harris, Madruga Bakery, Coral Gables, FL
  • Stephanie Hart, Brown Sugar Bakery, Chicago
  • Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery and Café, Cambridge, MA
  • Lisa Ludwinski, Sister Pie, Detroit
  • Greg Mindel, Neighbor Bakehouse, San Francisco
  • Taylor Petrehn, 1900 Barker, Lawrence, KS
  • Alison Pray, Standard Baking Co., Portland, ME
  • Nathaniel Reid, Nathaniel Reid Bakery, Kirkwood, MO
  • Avery Ruzicka, Manresa Bread, Los Gatos, CA
  • Kit Schumann and Jesse Schumann, Sea Wolf Bakers, Seattle
  • Debbie Swenerton, Black Bear Bread Co., Grayton Beach, FL
  • Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread, Chicago
  • Chris Wilkins, Root Baking Co., Atlanta


Outstanding Bar Program

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates exceptional care and skill in the selection, preparation, and serving of cocktails, spirits, and/or beer.


  • Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston
  • The Atomic Lounge, Birmingham, AL
  • The Baldwin Bar, Woburn, MA
  • Bar Agricole, San Francisco
  • Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, Milwaukee
  • Clavel Mezcaleria, Baltimore
  • Columbia Room, Washington, D.C.
  • Dead Rabbit, NYC
  • Expatriate, Portland, OR
  • Kimball House, Decatur, GA
  • La Factoría, San Juan, PR
  • Leyenda, Brooklyn, NY
  • Lost Lake, Chicago
  • The Monarch Bar, Kansas City, MO
  • Monk’s Café, Philadelphia
  • No Anchor, Seattle
  • Old Lightning, Marina Del Rey, CA
  • Planter’s House, St. Louis
  • Saint Leo, Oxford, MS
  • Ticonderoga Club, Atlanta


Outstanding Chef (Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters)

A chef who sets high culinary standards and who has served as a positive example for other food professionals. Must have been working as a chef for the past five years.


  • Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, NC
  • Renee Erickson, Bateau, Seattle
  • Colby Garrelts, Bluestem, Kansas City, MO
  • Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde, Chicago
  • Shiro Kashiba, Sushi Kashiba, Seattle
  • David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
  • Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA
  • Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
  • Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans
  • Margot McCormack, Margot Café & Bar, Nashville
  • Tory Miller, L’Etoile, Madison, WI
  • Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama, Hoboken, NJ
  • Missy Robbins, Lilia, Brooklyn, NY
  • Chrysa Robertson, Rancho Pinot, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon, Portland, OR
  • Chris Shepherd, Georgia James, Houston
  • Ana Sortun, Oleana, Cambridge, MA
  • Vikram Sunderam, Rasika, Washington, D.C.
  • Fabio Trabocchi, Fiola, Washington, D.C.
  • Marc Vetri, Vetri Cucina, Philadelphia


Outstanding Pastry Chef (Presented by Lavazza)

A pastry chef or baker who demonstrates exceptional skill, integrity, and character in the preparation of desserts, pastries, or breads served in a restaurant. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.


  • Jeb Breakell, The Wolf’s Tailor, Denver
  • Ashley Capps, Buxton Hall, Asheville, NC
  • Juan Contreras, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
  • Kelly Fields, Willa Jean, New Orleans
  • Meg Galus, Boka, Chicago
  • Megan Garrelts, Rye, Leawood, KS
  • Zoe Kanan, Simon & the Whale, NYC
  • Michelle Karr-Ueoka, MW Restaurant, Honolulu
  • Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles
  • James Matty, Suraya, Philadelphia
  • Junko Mine, Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, WA
  • Diane Moua, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
  • Pichet Ong, Brothers and Sisters, Washington, D.C.
  • Natasha Pickowicz, Flora Bar, NYC
  • Michelle Polzine, 20th Century Café, San Francisco
  • Rabii Saber, Four Seasons Resort, Orlando, FL
  • Ricardo “Ricchi” Sanchez, Bullion, Dallas
  • Laura Sawicki, Launderette, Austin
  • Whang Suh, Hen & Heifer, Guilford, CT
  • Cynthia Wong, Life Raft Treats, Charleston, SC


Outstanding Restaurant (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water)

A restaurant that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, service, and operations. Must have been in business 10 or more consecutive years.


  • Balthazar, NYC
  • Bolete, Bethlehem, PA
  • Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, WA
  • El Charro Café, Tucson, AZ
  • FIG, Charleston, SC
  • Fore Street, Portland, ME
  • Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
  • Komi, Washington, D.C.
  • Marché, Eugene, OR
  • Nopa, San Francisco
  • Norman’s, Orlando, FL
  • North Pond, Chicago
  • O Ya, Boston
  • The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, Houston
  • Park’s BBQ, Los Angeles
  • Quince, San Francisco
  • Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis
  • Sagami, Collingswood, NJ
  • SriPraPhai, NYC
  • Zahav, Philadelphia


Outstanding Restaurateur (Presented by Magellan Corporation)

A restaurateur who demonstrates creativity in entrepreneurship and integrity in restaurant operations. Must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.


  • Hugh Acheson, Atlanta (Empire State South, Five & Ten, The National, and others)
  • Paul Bartolotta and Joe Bartolotta, The Bartolotta Restaurants, Milwaukee (Ristorante Bartolotta, Harbor House, Lake Park Bistro, and others)
  • JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans
  • Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik, Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group, Pittsburgh (Poulet Bleu, Fish nor Fowl, Butcher and the Rye, and others)
  • Benjamin Goldberg and Max Goldberg, Strategic Hospitality, Nashville (The Catbird Seat, The Patterson House, Henrietta Red, and others)
  • Ruth Gresser, Pizzeria Paradiso, Washington, D.C. (Pizzeria Paradiso, Birreria Paradiso)
  • Martha Hoover, Patachou Inc., Indianapolis (Café Patachou, Petite Chou, Public Greens, and others)
  • Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm, Boka Restaurant Group, Chicago (Boka, Girl & the Goat, Momotaro, and others)
  • Ed Kenney, Honolulu (Town, Mud Hen Water, Mahina & Sun’s, and others)
  • Brenda Langton and Timothy Kane, Spoonriver, Minneapolis
  • Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz, San Francisco (Mission Chinese Food, The Perennial, Commonwealth)
  • Akkapong (Earl) Ninsom, Portland, OR (Langbaan, Hat Yai, PaaDee, and others)
  • Ken Oringer, Boston (Little Donkey, Toro, Uni, and others)
  • Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road, Charleston, SC (The Macintosh, Oak Steakhouse, Indaco, and others)
  • Julie Petrakis and James Petrakis, Swine Family Restaurant Group, Orlando, FL (The Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder, The Polite Pig, and others)
  • Alex Raij and Eder Montero, NYC (La Vara, Txikito, Saint Julivert Fisherie, and others)
  • Ethan Stowell, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Seattle (Ballard Pizza Co., Bramling Cross, Cortina, and others)
  • Tracy Vaught, H Town Restaurant Group, Houston (Hugo’s, Caracol, Xochi, and others)
  • Jason Wang, Xi’an Famous Foods, NYC
  • Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group, Philadelphia (Fork, High Street on Market, High Street on Hudson)


Outstanding Service

A restaurant in operation for five or more years that demonstrates consistency and exceptional thoughtfulness in hospitality and service.


  • Back Bay Grill, Portland, ME
  • Birrieria Zaragoza, Chicago
  • Brigtsen’s, New Orleans
  • Canlis, Seattle
  • Chef Vola’s, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO
  • The French Room, Dallas
  • Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, Chicago
  • Hugo’s, Houston
  • Kai Restaurant, Chandler, AZ
  • Kimball House, Decatur, GA
  • Mama J’s, Richmond, VA
  • Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier, Washington, D.C.
  • n/naka, Los Angeles
  • Peking Gourmet Inn, Falls Church, VA
  • Saison, San Francisco
  • Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco
  • Tony’s, Houston
  • Victoria & Albert’s, Orlando, FL
  • Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI

Outstanding Wine Program (Presented by Robert Mondavi Winery)

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in wine service through a carefully considered wine list and a well-informed approach to helping customers choose and drink wine.

  • Bacchanal, New Orleans
  • The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
  • Bar Marco, Pittsburgh
  • Benu, San Francisco
  • The Butcher Shop, Boston
  • Cote, NYC
  • element 47 at the Little Nell, Aspen, CO
  • Great China, Berkeley, CA
  • Davenport, Portland, OR
  • haley.henry, Boston
  • Income Tax, Chicago
  • L’Oursin, Seattle
  • Lucky Palace, Bossier City, LA
  • Miller Union, Atlanta
  • Night + Market, Los Angeles
  • Ops, Brooklyn, NY
  • Pappas Bros. Steakhouse at the Galleria, Houston
  • Spiaggia, Chicago
  • Stems & Skins, North Charleston, SC
  • Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.


Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer

A beer, wine, or spirits producer who demonstrates consistency and exceptional skill in his or her craft.

  • An Bui, Mekong and The Answer Brewpub, Richmond, VA
  • Cathy Corison, Corison Winery, St. Helena, CA
  • Rutger de Vink, RdV Vineyards, Delaplane, VA
  • Dave Green, Skagit Valley Malting, Burlington, WA
  • Deirdre Heekin, La Garagista, Bethel, VT
  • Nancy Irelan, Red Tail Ridge Winery, Penn Yan, NY
  • Drew Kulsveen, Willett Distillery, Bardstown, KY
  • Todd Leopold and Scott Leopold, Leopold Bros., Denver
  • Sean Lilly Wilson, Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, NC
  • Ann Marshall and Scott Blackwell, High Wire Distilling Co., Charleston, SC
  • Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines, Napa, CA
  • Kim McPherson, McPherson Cellars, Lubbock, TX
  • Meredith Meyer Grelli, Wigle Whiskey, Pittsburgh
  • Yoshihiro Sako, Den Sake Brewery, Oakland, CA
  • Jordan Salcito, Ramona, NYC
  • Mike Sauer, Red Willow Vineyard, Wapato, WA
  • Jeffrey Stuffings, Jester King Brewery, Austin
  • Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
  • Mhairi Voelsgen, broVo Spirits, Woodinville, WA
  • Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA


Rising Star Chef of the Year (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water)

A chef age 30 or younger who displays exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability, and who is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

  • Rachel Bennett, The Library, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Jay Blackinton, Aelder/Hogstone’s Wood Oven, Orcas Island, WA
  • Nick Bognar, Nippon Tei, St. Louis
  • Ana Castro, Coquette, New Orleans
  • Valerie Chang and Nando Chang, Itamae, Miami
  • Calvin Davis, Freshwater, Kansas City, MO
  • Alisha Elenz, MFK, Chicago
  • Evan Gaudreau, Renzo, Charleston, SC
  • Rikki Giambruno, Hyacinth, St. Paul, MN
  • Becca Hegarty, Bitter Ends Luncheonette, Pittsburgh
  • Alexander Hong, Sorrel, San Francisco
  • Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya, Philadelphia
  • Irene Li, Mei Mei, Boston
  • Giselle Miller, Menton, Boston
  • Shota Nakajima, Adana, Seattle
  • Kwame Onwuachi, Kith and Kin, Washington, D.C.
  • Ian Redshaw, Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria, Charlottesville, VA
  • Jonathan “Jonny” Rhodes, Restaurant Indigo, Houston
  • Samantha Sanz, Talavera at the Four Seasons, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Lena Sareini, Selden Standard, Detroit
  • Cassie Shortino, Tratto, Phoenix
  • Nolan Wynn, Banshee, Atlanta
  • Jonathan Yao, Kato, Los Angeles

Best Chefs

Chefs who set high culinary standards and also demonstrate integrity and admirable leadership skills in their respective regions. A nominee may be from any kind of dining establishment but must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region.

Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)

  • Genet Agonafer, Meals by Genet, Los Angeles
  • Reem Assil, Reem’s California, Oakland, CA
  • Gabriela Cámara, Cala, San Francisco
  • Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
  • Jeremy Fox, Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica, CA
  • Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush, Senia, Honolulu
  • Matthew Kammerer, Harbor House Inn, Elk, CA
  • Jessica Koslow, Sqirl, Los Angeles
  • Brandon Rodgers and Ian Scaramuzza, In Situ, San Francisco
  • Travis Lett, Gjelina, Venice, CA
  • Niki Nakayama, n/naka, Los Angeles
  • Dominica Rice-Cisneros, Cosecha Café, Oakland, CA
  • Carlos Salgado, Taco María, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Joshua Skenes, Saison, San Francisco
  • Sheridan Su, Flock and Fowl, Las Vegas
  • James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, CA
  • Karen Taylor, El Molino Central, Sonoma, CA
  • Pim Techamuanvivit, Kin Khao, San Francisco
  • Kris Yenbamroong, Night + Market, Los Angeles
  • Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, El Jardín, San Diego
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