James Beard Awards 2024: Restaurant, Chef, and Media Finalists

On April 3, the James Beard Foundation dropped its full list of James Beard Awards finalists, including the nominees for Outstanding Restaurateur, Best New Restaurant, and the regional Best Chef awards. This list was whittled down from a long list of semifinalists released in January.

Today’s announcement also included the winners of the foundation’s Leadership, Humanitarian of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement awards. The five Leadership award honorees include Muhammad Abdul-Hadi of Philadelphia’s Down North Pizza and Down North Pizza Foundation; Niaz Dorry of the North American Marine Alliance; Helga Garcia-Garza of Agri-Cultura Network; Mai Nguyen of Farmer Mai; and Christa Barfield of FarmerJawn. Each was recognized for demonstrating leadership in a particular realm, such as policy advocacy for Dorry and sustainability for Nguyen. Lindsay Ofcacek and Edward Lee won Humanitarian of the Year awards, while Ruth Reichl took the award for Lifetime Achievement. Last month, the James Beard Foundation announced the winners of its Americas Classic’s award, which recognizes six restaurant institutions across the country.

The final winners in the restaurant and chef Awards categories will be revealed at a gala ceremony in Chicago on June 10. Media awards nominees will be revealed later this month on April 30, and awarded on June 8. Check out the full list of finalists below.

2024 James Beard Awards: Restaurant and Chef Finalists

Outstanding Restaurateur

A restaurateur who uses their establishment(s) as a vehicle for building community, demonstrates creativity in entrepreneurship and integrity in restaurant operations, and is making efforts to create a sustainable work culture while contributing positively to their broader community.

• Mamba Hamissi and Nadia Nijimbere, Baobab Fare, Detroit, MI
• Quynh-Vy and Yenvy Pham, Phở Bắc Súp Shop, Phởcific Standard Time, and The Boat, Seattle, WA
• Chris Viaud, Greenleaf, Ansanm, and Pavilion, Milford, NH
• Hollis Wells Silverman, Eastern Point Collective (The Duck & The Peach, La Collina, The Wells and others), Washington, D.C.
• Erika Whitaker and Kelly Whitaker, Id Est Hospitality Group (The Wolf’s Tailor, BRUTØ, Basta, and others), Boulder, CO

Outstanding Chef

A chef who sets high culinary standards and has served as a positive example for other food professionals while contributing positively to their broader community.

• Sarah Minnick, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, Portland, OR
• Dean Neff, Seabird, Wilmington, NC
• Michael Rafidi, Albi, Washington, D.C.
• Renee Touponce, The Port of Call, Mystic, CT
• David Uygur, Lucia, Dallas, TX

Outstanding Restaurant

A restaurant that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations while contributing positively to its broader community.

• The Compound, Santa Fe, NM
• Convenience West, Marfa, TX
• Langbaan, Portland, OR
• Mixtli, San Antonio, TX
• Vestige, Ocean Springs, MS

Emerging Chef

A chef who displays exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability, and who is likely to make a significant impact in years to come while contributing positively to their broader community.

• Fariyal Abdullahi, Hav & Mar, New York, NY
• Janet Becerra, Pancita, Seattle, WA
• Nikko Cagalanan, Kultura, Charleston, SC
• Ryan Fernandez, Southern Junction, Buffalo, NY
• Masako Morishita, Perry’s, Washington, D.C.

Best New Restaurant

A restaurant opened between October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2023 that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine, seems likely to make a significant impact in years to come, and demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community. Establishments that have opened after September 30, 2023 can be considered for the 2025 Awards.*

• Bar Bacetto, Waitsburg, WA
• Barbs-B-Q, Lockhart, TX
• Chez Noir, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
• Comfort Kitchen, Dorchester, MA
• Dakar NOLA, New Orleans, LA
• Hayward, McMinnville, OR
• Kaya, Orlando, FL
• Kisser, Nashville, TN
• Oro by Nixta, Minneapolis, MN
• Shan, Bozeman, MT

Outstanding Bakery

A baker of breads, pastries, or desserts that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations while contributing positively to its broader community.

• The Burque Bakehouse, Albuquerque, NM
• Gusto Bread, Long Beach, CA
• JinJu Patisserie, Portland, OR
• Mel the Bakery, Hudson, NY
• ZU Bakery, Portland, ME

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

A pastry chef or baker who makes desserts, pastries, or breads. Candidate demonstrates exceptional skills and can be affiliated with any food business and does not need a brick-and-mortar presence. Candidate contributes positively to their broader community.

• Susan Bae, Moon Rabbit, Washington, D.C.
• Jesus Brazon and Manuel Brazon, Caracas Bakery, Doral and Miami, FL
• Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery, Portland, ME
• Crystal Kass, Valentine, Phoenix, AZ
• Anna Posey, Elske, Chicago, IL

Outstanding Hospitality

A restaurant, bar, or other food and drinking establishment that fosters a sense of hospitality among its customers and staff that serves as a beacon for the community and demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community.

• Crawford and Son, Raleigh, NC
• Gemma, Dallas, TX
• Lula Cafe, Chicago, IL
• Melba’s, New York, NY
• Woodford Food & Beverage, Portland, ME

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

A restaurant that demonstrates exceptional care and skill in the pairing of wine and other beverages with food while contributing positively to its broader community. This includes the selection, preparation, and serving of wine, cocktails, spirits, coffee, tea, beer, or any other beverage with outstanding hospitality and service that helps inform and enhance a customer’s appreciation of the beverage(s). Ethical sourcing and positive contributions to the broader community will also be considered.

• Lula Drake Wine Parlour, Columbia, SC
• The Morris, San Francisco, CA
• Strong Water Anaheim, Anaheim, CA
• Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.
• Waxlight Bar à Vin, Buffalo, NY

Outstanding Bar

A wine bar, beer bar, cocktail bar, coffee bar, or any other business whose primary offering is beverage and that demonstrates consistent excellence in curating a selection or in the preparation of drinks, along with outstanding atmosphere, hospitality, and operations, and contributing positively to its broader community.

• Barr Hill Cocktail Bar, Montpelier, VT
• Clavel Mezcaleria, Baltimore, MD
• Jewel of the South, New Orleans, LA
• Las Ramblas, Brownsville, TX
• Pacific Cocktail Haven, San Francisco, CA

Best Chefs

Chefs who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities and who are making efforts to help create a sustainable work culture in their respective regions, while contributing positively to their broader community.

Best Chef: California

• Geoff Davis, Burdell, Oakland, CA
• Rogelio Garcia, Auro, Calistoga, CA
• Lord Maynard Llera, Kuya Lord, Los Angeles, CA
• Tara Monsod, Animae, San Diego, CA
• Buu “Billy” Ngo, Kru, Sacramento, CA

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)

• Vinnie Cimino, Cordelia, Cleveland, OH
• Jose Salazar, Mita’s, Cincinnati, OH
• Sujan Sarkar, Indienne, Chicago, IL
• Hajime Sato, Sozai, Clawson, MI
• Jenner Tomaska, Esme, Chicago, IL

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

• Tony Conte, Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, Darnestown, MD
• Jesse Ito, Royal Sushi & Izakaya, Philadelphia, PA
• Matt Kern, One Coastal, Fenwick Island, DE
• Harley Peet, Bas Rouge, Easton, MD
• Kevin Tien, Moon Rabbit, Washington, D.C.

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)

• Ann Ahmed, Khâluna, Minneapolis, MN
• Rob Connoley, Bulrush, St. Louis, MO
• Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, EsterEv, Milwaukee, WI
• Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis, MN
• Tim Nicholson, The Boiler Room, Omaha, NE

Best Chef: Mountain (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY)

• Brandon Cunningham, Social Haus, Greenough, MT
• Ali Sabbah, Mazza Cafe, Salt Lake City, UT
• Matt Vawter, Rootstalk, Breckenridge, CO
• Penelope Wong, Yuan Wonton, Denver, CO
• Nick Zocco, Urban Hill, Salt Lake City, UT

Best Chef: New York State

• Nasim Alikhani, Sofreh, Brooklyn, NY
• Atsushi Kono, Kono, New York, NY
• Chris Mauricio, Harana Market, Accord, NY
• Charlie Mitchell, Cloverhill, Brooklyn, NY
• Jeremy Salamon, Agi’s Counter, Brooklyn, NY

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)

• Conor Dennehy, Tallula, Cambridge, MA
• Maria Meza, Dolores, Providence, RI
• David Standridge, The Shipwright’s Daughter, Mystic, CT
• Jake Stevens, Leeward, Portland, ME
• Cara Tobin, Honey Road, Burlington, VT

Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA)

• Avery Adams, Matia Kitchen, Orcas Island, WA
• Kristi Brown, Communion, Seattle, WA
• Josh Dorcak, Mas, Ashland, OR
• Gregory Gourdet, kann, Portland, OR
• Melissa Miranda, Musang, Seattle, WA

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)

• Jamie Davis, The Hackney, Washington, NC
• Rod Lassiter and Parnass Savang, Talat Market, Atlanta, GA
• James London, Chubby Fish, Charleston, SC
• Robbie Robinson, City Limits Barbeque, Cayce, SC
• Paul Smith, 1010 Bridge, Charleston, WV

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)

• Valerie Chang, Maty’s, Miami, FL
• Hunter Evans, Elvie’s, Jackson, MS
• Gabriel Hernandez, Verde Mesa, San Juan, PR
• Carlos Portela, Orujo, San Juan, PR
• Arvinder Vilkhu, Saffron, New Orleans, LA

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)

• Rene Andrade, Bacanora, Phoenix, AZ
• Jeff Chanchaleune, Ma Der Lao Kitchen, Oklahoma City, OK
• Steve Kestler, Aroma Latin American Cocina, Henderson, NV
• Steve Riley, Mesa Provisions, Albuquerque, NM
• Eduardo Rodriguez, Zacatlan, Santa Fe, NM

Best Chef: Texas

• Emmanuel Chavez, Tatemó, Houston, TX
• Christopher Cullum, Cullum’s Attaboy, San Antonio, TX
• Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel, Birdie’s, Austin, TX
• Misti Norris, Petra & the Beast, Dallas, TX
• Ana Liz Pulido, Ana Liz Taqueria, Mission, TX

*As of the 2023 Award Cycle, the Restaurant and Chef Awards defines the annual eligibility time frame as October through September (formerly January through December), to allow the voting body more time to consider businesses opening later in the calendar year.

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards. Eater is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to livestream the awards in 2024. All editorial content is produced independently of the James Beard Foundation.

Additional photo illustration credits: Getty Images for the James Beard Foundation

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