Ordermark, Get Set, Go and Remembering Lori Newcomb

This edition of MRM’s News Bites features Newk's Eatery, Ordermark, Presto, Olo, US Foods, SevenRooms, Hostme, Kitchen United, ShiftOne and the James Beard Foundation.

Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com.

Newk's Cares Co-Founder Dies

Newk’s Eatery shares the unfortunate news of the passing of Lori Newcomb, Co-founder of Newk’s Cares and wife to CEO and Founder of Newk’s Eatery, Chris Newcomb.  The Newk’s family invites the public to visit www.NewksCares.com, where the company is paying tribute to her life and legacy. 

Lori helped many women through the process of early detection and led the charge in raising $1 million toward research for the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.


Lori was diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer after her 43rd birthday in February of 2013. For six years, she fought a brave battle. In 2014, Lori established Newk’s Cares, the philanthropic arm of Newk’s Eatery. It became her life’s mission to improve the success rate of early diagnosis by funding research and creating greater awareness for the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Lori helped many women through the process of early detection and led the charge in raising $1 million toward research for the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA)– the world’s largest global organization dedicated to advancing ovarian cancer research while supporting women and their families.

Ordermark Orders Up Industry Veteran

Michael Bell has joined Ordermark as COO. The veteran software CEO and entrepreneur brings a wealth of operational, business development and restaurant industry experience to Ordermark on the heels of its recent $9.5M Series A funding round. Most recently, he was President and COO of Bridg, a customer data platform for the restaurant industry's top-tier brands including Panera, Taco Bell, Chipotle, and IHOP. Bell managed all operations at Bridg, and during his tenure, the company's revenue and enterprise value grew five-fold.

Mike Bell

The Los Angeles-based Ordermark, whose employee headcount has quadrupled in the past year alone, helps restaurants to maximize profits and lower costs by sending orders from multiple online ordering services to a single tablet and printer. Born in the kitchen of the world-famous Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles by a fourth generation restaurateur, Ordermark helps thousands of brands nationwide including many of the world's top restaurant chains such as Which Wich, Cold Stone Creamery, Buffalo Wild Wings, Little Caesars, Papa Johns, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Yogurtland, and Sonic.

“Mike has an incredible 25 year track-record of delivering award-winning, enterprise-grade solutions to industry,” said Alex Canter, CEO of Ordermark. “With his experience rapidly scaling world-class teams, Mike will help us keep pace with the explosive demand we’re seeing nationwide for our products and services. He will really help us grow enterprise relationships.

For his part, Bell told MRM he is excited about Ordermark's growth potential and how the company provides an elegant and effectie solution for restaurant's managing the online ordering process.

“I’m really passionate about helping restaurants compete and drive profitability through innovation,” said Bell. “Ordermark's at the forefront, pioneering cost-efficient ways to help restaurants maximize the potential of online ordering. I’m very excited to bring my years of experience to help scale this fast growing business.”

Ordermark’s employee headcount has quadrupled in the past year. 

Presto Secures Funding

Presto secured $30M in growth funding led by Recruit Holdings and Romulus Capital with participation from I2BF Global Ventures, EG Capital and Brainchild Holdings.

Presto provides a technology suite to top foodservice and hospitality chains that expands operating profits by speeding consumer experiences and improving labor productivity. With national unemployment rates at record lows, restaurants struggle to retain and afford workers who have many options like Lyft or Instacart, and also are challenged to eliminate key friction points in their consumer experiences.

The funding will be invested directly into growth of the Presto platform, which currently includes:

  • Presto Wearable for instant notification of real-time guest concerns or operational issues. It saves time for the staff and speeds up the experience for consumers.
  • Presto A.I. leverages machine learning to accurately forecast labor staffing requirements so restaurants are not over or under-staffed on any given shift. PrestoPrime Tabletop allows guests to order and pay from their seats without waiting as well as access games and other entertainment content.

“Restaurants serve billions of consumers and are a critical part of our economy, and yet have typically been underserved by world-class technology,” said Rajat Suri, Founder and CEO of Presto. “Less than 1% of restaurants globally currently use technology to optimize their front-office. These funds will be leveraged to support our rapid growth, and expand our products and services to our partners in the restaurant industry.”

Both IoT and A.I. have been taking brick-and-mortar industries by storm recently as the industry looks to compete with the speed and convenience of e-commerce. McDonald’s has announced a rollout of their own self-service kiosk products that boost average checks by as much as 15 percent or more. Amazon Go and its clones have created a brand new frictionless checkout experience. And Applebee’s rolled out PrestoPrime Tabletop devices that allow guests to order, pay and entertain themselves at the table without having to wait.

“The brick-and-mortar industry is truly a massive one, with massive problems, and we are thrilled to begin a new relationship with Presto who is tackling these problems,” commented Mizuho Hiraguri, VP of Corporate Development at Recruit Co., Ltd., the largest service provider to local businesses in Japan, an operating company of Recruit Holdings which is also owners of Indeed and Glassdoor in the US. “The shortage of labor in developed countries is already acute, and will only get worse. Presto will help address this problem with its world-class technology.”

Olo's Delivery Marketing Guide

Olo released a guide outlining best practices for delivery marketing to help restaurant brands capture market share among consumers searching for their brand. Based on a research study of more than 300 leading restaurant brands, the guide offers restaurant marketers and operators tangible steps to drive consumers directly to their brand and to protect revenue associated with branded search.

Olo’s Delivery Search Score (DSS) found that restaurant chains appear on average five positions down the Google results list for their own branded delivery keywords, with some brands’ destinations not even appearing on the first page. This means a loss of nearly 60 percent of potential traffic on Google, according to the latest click through rates by Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert, Moz.

“Well-heeled restaurant marketplaces are outmaneuvering operators, laying the groundwork to shift millions of dollars of market share away from brands in the next five to ten years. As restaurant brands continue to build out delivery capabilities, it is imperative that restaurant executives understand the influence that delivery marketplaces have on brand visibility,” said Jackie Berg, VP of Marketing at Olo. “The top 300 brands we researched are performing at less than 30 percent of their potential with searches for their own keywords. This guide is a playbook for executives to optimize search results, drive consumer traffic and strengthen their brand identity.”

Along with findings that show exactly how brands are losing share and control of potential guests to third-party marketplaces, Olo’s guide offers actionable tips for brands to take ownership and control of their brand presence.

Key Insights Include:

  •  Success starts with marketplace agreements. Restaurant marketplaces can add meaningful incremental “discovery” revenue and long-term brand value when implemented properly with smart marketplace contracts. However, too often, marketplaces are appearing ahead of brands in common searches. Look to structure third-party marketplace contracts to ensure no restaurant branded search terms are used in advertising so that customers go directly to a brand’s website to place an order. Many delivery-enabled brands have enforced that their marketplace partners do not use branded search terms in their advertising, as this cannibalizes a guest that was coming to them in the first place.
  • Invest in organic and SEO content. Delivery-focused subpages or press releases often rank above a brand’s main site for delivery keywords. Organic content offers opportunities for valuable low hanging fruit that can make a major difference in getting a high rank. Blog posts and press announcements can help keep a brand at the top of web search rankings.
  • Don’t neglect SEM. Deploying relevant paid ads for the right keywords is an important contributor to brand authority and moving the SEO needle. Shifting a small percentage of the marketing budget from offline marketing will yield tangible, measurable results.
  • Iterate on your strategy. All restaurant brands, even those currently well-positioned, need to continue to push messaging and brand auditing. As marketplaces expand their reach and aspirations to convert more guests, this will be essential in order to win in the digital age.
  •  You’re the master of your own domain [name]. A well-crafted landing page, press release, or video series for your digital program often outranks competitor content. Google views your website as a much more authoritative subject on your own brand.

Click here to download Olo’s guide for more information and helpful tips.

Spring Scoop is Here

US Foods Holding Corp. launched Spring Scoop 2019 (Spring Scoop), which focuses on the continued expansion of US Foods’ award-winning Serve Good program. Serve Good products meet rigorous criteria for responsible sourcing or waste reduction, including packaging standards that are designed to reduce waste, prioritize the use of recycled materials and help reduce US Foods’ environmental footprint. As part of US Foods’ “Great Food. Made Easy.” strategy and commitment to helping independent restaurants succeed, the Serve Good portfolio offers operators a competitive edge with more than 350 sustainable food and non-food products. 

“Sustainability on the menu is more than just a trend, it’s a movement that has shaped how diners approach their purchasing decisions. In fact, research indicates that 74 percent of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services1,” said Stacie Sopinka, senior vice president of product development and innovation, US Foods. “Our Serve Good portfolio offers independent restaurant operators innovative and versatile products that help create real value while meeting the immediate and long-term cravings and conscience of contemporary diners.” 

Each of the 24 items featured in Spring Scoop fall into one of the following Serve Good categories: agricultural practices, sustainable seafood, animal care, responsible disposables and reduced waste. 

Products within the Serve Good portfolio are developed with suppliers committed to responsible practices, and many items come with the reassurance of verification by third-party certifiers. 

The Organic Movement 

Adding organic items to the menu helps attracts diners and allows operators to command higher prices. One of the most noticeable movements within the food industry, the word “organic” now appears on 23 percent of menus across the country2. Spring Scoop highlights several USDA certified organic products such as: 

  • Roseli Organic Premium Three Cheese Ravioli: Made with a creamy blend of organic ricotta, fontina and Parmesan cheeses, these raviolis contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and pair well with a variety of sauces and complementary flavors, such as the Roseli Organic Basil Pesto. 
  • Roseli Organic Basil Pesto: Made with organic canola oil and Parmesan cheese. Contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives and is the perfect complement for sandwiches, pastas and more. 
  • Monarch Organic Tomato Ketchup: This front-of-the-house product contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and is sweetened with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup found in many leading ketchups. 

Sustainability on the Menu 

Providing assurances about how food arrives at your diner’s table is no longer a customer courtesy. It’s essential. Not only has the term “sustainable” grown by 300 percent in the past decade on seafood menus across the U.S., research also suggests that 48 percent of restaurant operators consider animal care practices important when making purchasing decisions3. Spring Scoop highlights a variety of products that feature third-party certifications and promote increased transparency. Products include: 

  • Harbor Banks Skinless Barramundi: Ocean-farmed and four-star certified for Best Aquaculture Practices, this Barramundi recently graduated to the Serve Good portfolio from US Foods’ Progress Check program, a program designed specifically for the seafood category to highlight vendors that are on the path toward achieving the sustainable certifications required to be a part of the Serve Good program. 
  • Patuxent Farms All Natural* Ground Dark Turkey Raised Without Antibiotics: The Serve Good program continues to add more American Humane Certified (AHC) products to its line-up and this product is the company’s first turkey item to hold the AHC certification. Ground turkey is an economical alternative to conventional ground beef, and this product is frozen in small pillow packs for quicker thawing. 
  • Patuxent Farms All Natural* Turkey Sausage Patty Raised Without Antibiotics: Also new to the AHC line-up, this patty has 75 percent less fat** than pork breakfast sausage and features Southern-style seasoning including black pepper and sage. 

Agricultural Practices 

Increased mindfulness in environmental and social practices has inspired US Foods to expand sustainable offerings with specific certifications that in turn help ensure workers’ rights, promote biodiversity and increase transparency. Food and non-food highlights include: 

  • Devonshire Passion Fruit Layered Cheesecake with Fair Trade Coconut: This dessert features tropical flavors of tangy passion fruit and sweet coconut. It is topped with shaved coconut and sugar that are both Fair Trade Certified and is made without artificial colors or flavors. 
  • Chef's Line Banana Nut Muffin Made with Rainforest Alliance Certified Bananas: These muffins contain a high fruit content that offers delicious flavor and texture without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. This item complies with the US Foods Unpronounceables List initiative aimed at producing products with simple, more recognizable ingredients by avoiding, removing or replacing ingredients and food additives. 
  • Monogram 7.75" PLA Green Stripe Unwrapped Straw and 9.5" PLA White Wrapped Straw: These eco-friendly alternatives to traditional straws are Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) certified and made from plant-based PLA. They’re also entirely compostable in commercial composting facilities. Some jurisdictions have straw restrictions; please discuss your business requirements with your US Foods account representative. 
  • Monogram Compostable 16 oz. Double Wall Cup: BPI certified, this item is made from renewable, sustainable materials and features an insulated, double-wall technology that helps eliminate the need for a coffee sleeve. 

Helping Customers Make It 

Spring Scoop also highlights a suite of CHECK Business Tools that are specifically designed to help operators drive traffic. From increasing visibility on the web to creating menus that attract diners and drive profits, these tools help operators succeed. Learn more about the tools available at here

SevenRooms Launches 7X

SevenRoom launched  7X, the industry’s first-of-its-kind marketing automation and guest engagement software. Designed to turn first time guests into regulars, 7X combines four elements into one powerful product, helping restaurant operators to leverage automation and data to nurture guest relationships at scale through highly personalized interactions across the customer lifecycle.

The new software rolls out with four components: Guest Satisfaction, Automated Tagging & Segmentation, Email Automation, and Experiences & Special Offers. The product includes: 

Guest Satisfaction: Stay on top of the guest experience by viewing all reviews in one place, including those from Google, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. 7x enables operators to link guest feedback to guest profiles, so they are never left in the dark on where they stand. The marrying of reviews to guests creates a powerful, new dataset for operators.

Automated Tagging & Segmentation: Configure a rules-based algorithm to automatically apply customizable tags to a guest profile, tailoring service and marketing for categories including ‘first-timers,’ ‘high value group regulars,’ ‘positive reviewers,’ ‘negative reviewers,’ and more.

Email Automation: Automate the process of sending the right message, to the right guest, at the right time. Email automation enables operators to easily create and send targeted email campaigns to specific customer segments, like incentivizing guests who have not returned in a while with complimentary champagne on their next visit.

Experiences & Special Offers: Automatically generate landing pages for events and special offers that are built to convert. Push promotions across a variety of customer segments — whether that’s making an event for the public, or making it available exclusively for your most loyal customers. Leverage guest data to target guests effortlessly, whether that’s across email, social media or a website, seamlessly tracking the ROI on each promotion. 

In a world where 70 percent of diners never come back, 7X’s ability to boost repeat visits will be immediately felt on operators’ bottom lines, with research showing that it is seven times more cost effective to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one — and that increasing retention rates by just five percent can increase profits by upwards of 95 percent. 

“Today, we are excited to bring 7X to the market, giving restaurants a product that helps them take full advantage of their guest data to boost loyalty and repeat visits,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO of SevenRooms. “As a company that has focused on enabling direct guest relationships and access to rich guest data from day one, coupled with the fact that we sit squarely at the intersection of the reservation book and guest profiles, we are uniquely qualified to bring these capabilities to market. 7X will change the way restaurants can reach and engage with their customers. To put it simply, this platform will help operators fully maximize the value of their guest data to build a more profitable business and deliver true hospitality.”

Joel Montaniel

“7X enables our team to deliver a highly personalized, friends-and-family-style marketing approach to every guest that dines with us,” said Steve Scott Springer, General Manager at Spago Beverly Hills. “With 7X, we get insights from aggregated reviews, can auto-tag guests based on parameters we set, and segment and market to these guests automatically on a wide range of campaigns and events. Most importantly, we can continue to build direct, deeper personal relationships with them that will keep them coming back for years to come. 7x by SevenRooms is a powerful, game-changing tool for the industry, and Spago is excited to be at the frontlines of this innovation.” 

Hostme Wins New Investment

Hostme  received a $1.3 million investment from an accredited private investment entity. The funding will enable Hostme to ramp up its B2B sales and marketing as it reaches out to additional restaurant owners and operators in targeted metro areas, including Washington, D.C.; Orlando, FL; London, UK.

"We view this funding as another vote of confidence from market watchers that Hostme truly is solving one of restaurant owners' biggest pain points: an affordable, reliable, seamless reservation and table management system," said Hostme CEO & Co-Founder Evgeny Popov. "We will focus on building strong partnerships, grow our resellers network, and strengthen and expand our Hostme product capabilities. Our company already has a presence on all five continents, but we have raised our market penetration goals for 2019."

"Hostme is more than simply a solid and competitive product," said Popov. "We serve a customer base — from enterprise scale to small independents — that's truly hungry for a reservation solution that brings in customers efficiently without costing a fortune. Restaurants want to embrace digital transformation to remain competitive, but they don't want to go broke doing it."

Hostme's co-founders based their company on the core belief that digital tools should be solutions, not obstacles. They work with thousands of restaurant owners and operators while developing the underlying technology for the Hostme app and related systems, to reality-check the platform and tailor it to today's table management environment.

"Our message to restaurant entrepreneurs is simple," added Popov. "Hostme exists to streamline your reservation process and grow your revenue — for a fraction of what you'd spend on competing platforms."

Kitchen United Inks New Leases

Kitchen United, the GV-backed start-up creating a new way for restaurant brands to expand via off-premise optimized kitchen centers, signed lease agreements for kitchen centers in Austin, Texas and Scottsdale, Arizona. The locations are expected to open in the third quarter of 2019 as part of the company’s significant national expansion plans, which includes opening 15 kitchen centers through the course of the year. Kitchen United currently operates locations in Pasadena, California and Chicago, Illinois, and recently announced new lease agreements in Atlanta, Georgia and Columbus, Ohio.

Kitchen United is expanding its presence as the demand for off-premise grows. Its commercial kitchen spaces provide restaurant operators the ability to increase revenue by expanding their off-premise delivery, pickup and catering business, as well as enter new markets without the expensive build-out of a new restaurant. Kitchen United provides its restaurant partners with consumer and operational insights, allowing concepts to tailor their business to best meet local demand, improve efficiency and drive revenue growth. 

“The four walls of a traditional restaurant were not built to handle the influx of off-premise orders from consumers who now expect this convenience from the brands they love,” said Jim Collins, Chief Executive Officer of Kitchen United. “There’s inherent disruption from delivery personnel trying to find where their order is, and take-out customers skipping ahead of a line of people waiting to dine-in. Our goal is to simplify this process for restaurant partners, so that they can enjoy the growth opportunity that optimizing your business for off-premise can bring. We’re looking forward to bringing Kitchen United to Austin and Scottsdale to help restaurants build their off-premise business through a more streamlined operation.”

Located at 8023 Burnet Road, the Austin kitchen center will be in one of the most densely populated inner areas of the city and will support between 10 to 15 restaurant partners. Positioned on a major thoroughfare leading out of downtown and the University of Texas, this location will allow restaurant partners to introduce their concepts to a dense area of consumers who are actively seeking out takeout and delivery options. The location is in a redeveloping area that has become popular among recent college graduates.

“We are thrilled to announce our first location in Austin, a city that we believe is perfectly suited for Kitchen United given its evolution as a growing hub for young adults,” said Meredith Sandland, Chief Operating Officer for Kitchen United. “With a growing numbers of restaurants, office space and housing, we are confident that the Austin market will provide our restaurant partners with ample opportunity to capitalize on the rising consumer demand for off-premise dining.”

Located at 1727 E Shea Blvd, the Scottsdale kitchen center is located in a well situated plaza center with significant access and visibility for Kitchen United’s restaurant partners, as well as third-party delivery services and customers. The location is also in close proximity to several hotels, resorts and hospitals, providing opportunity for room service substitutes.

“According to Census data, there is demonstrated growth going on between Scottsdale and Tempe, providing the right traffic patterns and brand visibility for our restaurant partners,” continued Sandland. “Furthermore, when it came to selecting the Scottsdale location, we chose a high development area that will offer our restaurant partners the most favorable opportunity for increased business.”

Kitchen United takes a data driven approach to identify the most promising locations for its kitchen centers, aggregating insights on demographics, income levels and cuisine-specific demand, as well as drive time, traffic patterns and other data. By the end of 2019, the company expects to open 15 kitchen centers in markets including Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver and New York City.

ShiftOne App Raises $2.6 Million Seed Follow On

ShiftOne finalized a $2.6 million supplement to its seed funding led by The Entrepreneurs’ Fund. Initial seed investor Bowery Capital returned to participate in the new round alongside newcomer NRD Capital, the restaurant-centric private equity firm whose portfolio includes iconic brands such as Ruby Tuesday.

"ShiftOne is revolutionizing the engagement of the modern day workforce, and we're excited to partner with Ashish and his team," said NRD Capital Founder and Managing Partner Aziz Hashim. "Investing in technology tools which help operators better manage their business is a key principle of NRD Capital, and aligning with others who share this same value – such as ShiftOne – is rewarding. We look forward to partnering with them in their continued growth."

"ShiftOne has been an invaluable asset in our efforts to motivate, engage, and retain our hourly team members. At Dave and Buster's, we're all about play, and ShiftOne injects an element of that ethos into the workday while providing managers with the tools to support and keep employees,” said Chris Schricker, Director of Training at Dave and Buster’s. “The platform is highly adaptable to our unique needs, and the ShiftOne team is constantly adding new features to enhance the value. We look forward to a long partnership."

ShiftOne will leverage the new capital to further expand its product and sales teams, with the goal of implementing ambitious new features and bringing the platform, already empirically proven to boost KPIs by up to 10% within two months, to new enterprise brands.

"ShiftOne is mitigating the single costliest dilemma facing companies with hourly team members: rampant turnover rates," said Michael Brown, principal at Bowery Capital. "This platform is the future of frontline work."

JBF Seminfinalists

The James Beard Foundation announced the 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 27.

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. 

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

Thai Dang and Danielle Dang, HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen, Chicago

Diana Dávila, Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chicago

Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago

Norberto Garita, El Barzon, Detroit

Jason Hammel, Lula Café, Chicago

Brian Jupiter, Frontier, Chicago

Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute, Chicago

Anthony Lombardo, SheWolf, Detroit

Abbi Merriss, Bluebeard, Indianapolis

Ethan Pikas, Cellar Door Provisions, Chicago

David Posey and Anna Posey, Elske, Chicago

Iliana Regan, Kitsune, Chicago

James Rigato, Mabel Gray, Hazel Park, MI

Jose Salazar, Mita’s, Cincinnati

Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago

Steven Oakley, Oakleys Bistro, Indianapolis

Genevieve Vang, Bangkok 96, Dearborn, MI

Jill Vedaa, Salt, Lakewood, OH

Kate Williams, Lady of the House, Detroit

Lee Wolen, Boka, Chicago

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

Joey Baldino, Zeppoli, Collingswood, NJ

Sandeep “Sunny” Baweja, Lehja, Richmond, VA

Jamilka Borges, The Independent Brewing Company, Pittsburgh

Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.

Erik Bruner-Yang, Brothers and Sisters, Washington, D.C.

Kristin Butterworth, Lautrec, Farmington, PA

Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint, Washington, D.C.

Nicholas Elmi, Laurel, Philadelphia

Randy Forrester, Osteria Radici, Allentown, NJ

Jerome Grant, Sweet Home Café, Washington, D.C.

Haidar Karoum, Chloë, Washington, D.C.

Matthew Kern, Heirloom, Lewes, DE

Rich Landau, Vedge, Philadelphia

Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia

Dan Richer, Razza Pizza Artigianale, Jersey City, NJ

Jon Sybert, Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.

Kevin Tien, Himitsu, Washington, D.C.

Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore

Nobu Yamazaki, Sushi Taro, Washington, D.C.

Wei Zhu, Chengdu Gourmet, Pittsburgh

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

Dane Baldwin, The Diplomat, Milwaukee

Karen Bell, Bavette La Boucherie, Milwaukee

Thomas Boemer, In Bloom, Minneapolis

Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis

Michael Corvino, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, Kansas City, MO

Daniel del Prado, Martina, Minneapolis

Linda Duerr, The Restaurant at 1900, Mission Woods, KS

Michael Gallina, Vicia, St. Louis

Nicholas Goellner, The Antler Room, Kansas City, MO

Jonny Hunter, Forequarter, Madison, WI

Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, EsterEv, Milwaukee

Ann Kim, Young Joni, Minneapolis

Lona Luo, Lona’s Lil Eats, St. Louis

Jamie Malone, Grand Café, Minneapolis

Jesse Mendica, Olive + Oak, Webster Groves, MO

Tim Nicholson, The Boiler Room, Omaha, NE

Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis

Karyn Tomlinson, Corner Table, Minneapolis

Joe Tripp, Harbinger, Des Moines, IA

Ny Vongsaly, Billie-Jean, Clayton, MO

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)

Cosme Aguilar, Casa Enrique

Emma Bengtsson, Aquavit

Rawia Bishara, Tanoreen, Brooklyn, NY

Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy

Billy Durney, Hometown Bar-B-Que, Brooklyn, NY

Sean Gray, Momofuku Ko

Brooks Headley, Superiority Burger

Joseph “JJ” Johnson, Henry at Life Hotel

Sohui Kim, Insa, Brooklyn, NY

Josh Ku and Trigg Brown, Win Son, Brooklyn, NY

Angie Mar, Beatrice Inn

Kyo Pang, Kopitiam

Erik Ramirez, Llama Inn, Brooklyn, NY

Ann Redding and Matt Danzer, Uncle Boons

Daniela Soto-Innes, Atla

Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske, Wildair

Alex Stupak, Empellón Midtown

Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito, Don Angie

Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, Via Carota

Helen You, Dumpling Galaxy, Queens, NY

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

Unmi Abkin, Coco & The Cellar Bar, Easthampton, MA

Tyler Anderson, Millwright's, Simsbury, CT

Hannah Black and Carla Perez-Gallardo, Lil' Deb's Oasis, Hudson, NY

Cara Chigazola-Tobin, Honey Road, Burlington, VT

Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell, Palace Diner, Biddeford, ME

Krista Kern Desjarlais, The Purple House, North Yarmouth, ME

Vien Dobui, Cong Tu Bot, Portland, ME

Carl Dooley, The Table at Season to Taste, Cambridge, MA

Tiffani Faison, Tiger Mama, Boston

Erin French, The Lost Kitchen, Freedom, ME

Victor Parra Gonzalez, Las Puertas, Buffalo, NY

Seizi Imura, Cafe Sushi, Cambridge, MA

Evan Mallett, Black Trumpet, Portsmouth, NH

James Mark, North, Providence

Tony Messina, Uni, Boston

Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA

Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki's Sushi Bar, Rockland, ME

Benjamin Sukle, Oberlin, Providence, RI

Peter Ungár, Tasting Counter, Somerville, MA

David Vargas, Vida Cantina, Portsmouth, NH

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)

Jose Chesa, Ataula, Portland, OR

Peter Cho, Han Oak, Portland, OR

Laura Cole, 229 Parks Restaurant & Tavern, Denali National Park & Preserve, AK

Logan Cox, Homer, Seattle

Alejandro Cruz, Novo Modern Latin Table, Eugene, OR

Eric Donnelly, RockCreek, Seattle

Gregory Gourdet, Departure, Portland, OR

Eric Johnson, Stateside, Seattle

Taichi Kitamura, Sushi Kappo Tamura, Seattle

Ha (Christina) Luu and Peter Vuong, Ha VL, Portland, OR

Katy Millard, Coquine, Portland, OR

Kristen Murray, Måurice, Portland, OR

Colin Patterson, Mana Restaurant, Leavenworth, WA

Ryan Roadhouse, Nodoguro, Portland, OR

Beau Schooler, In Bocca Al Lupo, Juneau, AK

Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi, Seattle

Dave Wells, The Dining Room at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, MT

Brady Williams, Canlis, Seattle

Justin Woodward, Castagna, Portland, OR

Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)

Lindsay Autry, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, West Palm Beach, FL

David Bancroft, Acre, Auburn, AL

Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar, Oxford, MS

Bill Briand, Fisher’s Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina, Orange Beach, AL

Clay Conley, Buccan, Palm Beach, FL

Alex Eaton, The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen, Jackson, MS

Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR

Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans

Maria Mercedes Grubb, Gallo Negro, San Juan, PR

Michael Gulotta, Maypop, New Orleans

Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf, New Orleans

Timothy Hontzas, Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, AL

Brad Kilgore, Alter, Miami

Niven Patel, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Miami

Matthew McClure, The Hive, Bentonville, AR

Alex Perry, Vestige, Ocean Springs, MS

Jeannie Pierola, Edison: Food+Drink Lab, Tampa, FL

Slade Rushing, Brennan’s, New Orleans

Melissa Donahue-Talmage, Sweet Melissa’s Café, Sanibel, FL

Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans

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

Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah, GA

Rebecca Barron, St. John’s Restaurant, Chattanooga, TN

Jon Buck, Husk Greenville, Greenville, SC

Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC

Gregory Collier, Loft & Cellar, Charlotte, NC

Cassidee Dabney, The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN

Steven Devereaux Greene, Herons, Cary, NC

Oscar Diaz, The Cortez, Raleigh, NC

Bryan Furman, B’s Cracklin’ BBQ, Atlanta

Josh Habiger, Bastion, Nashville

Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani, Asheville, NC

Kevin Johnson, The Grocery, Charleston, SC

Joe Kindred, Kindred, Davidson, NC

Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Raleigh, NC

Jacques Larson, The Obstinate Daughter, Sullivan’s Island, SC

Dean Neff, PinPoint, Wilmington, NC

Ryan Smith, Staplehouse, Atlanta

Brian So, Spring, Marietta, GA

Julia Sullivan, Henrietta Red, Nashville

Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)

Charleen Badman, FnB, Scottsdale, AZ

Kevin Binkley, Binkley’s Restaurant, Phoenix

Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, Hell's Backbone Grill, Boulder, UT

Bruno Davaillon, Bullion, Dallas

Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin

Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye, Austin

Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie, Austin

Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin

Caroline Glover, Annette, Aurora, CO

Nadia Holguin, Roland’s Cafe Market Bar, Phoenix

Ronnie Killen, Killen’s Steakhouse, Pearland, TX

Kaiser Lashkari, Himalaya, Houston

Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio

Trong Nguyen, Crawfish & Noodles, Houston

Jonathan Perno, Campo at Los Poblanos, Albuquerque, NM

Maribel Rivero, Yuyo, Austin

Regino Rojas, Purépecha Room by Revolver Taco Lounge, Dallas 

Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café Gran Reserva, Phoenix

David Uygur, Lucia, Dallas

Kelly Whitaker, The Wolf’s Tailor, Denver

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

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.