America Has a New 'Best Restaurant'

The James Beard Foundation awards Zahav
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2019 10:25 AM CDT
Michael Solomonov, left, from Zahav in Philadelphia, poses on the red carpet before the 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards on May 2, 2016, in Chicago, Ill.   (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

(Newser) – Mazel tov! A renowned Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia just won a top culinary prize and added to the city's growing reputation for fine food, Bloomberg reports. The 2019 James Beard Foundation Awards—known as the Oscars of the food world—named Zahav outstanding restaurant at Lyric Opera in Chicago Monday night. It was a crowning moment for general manager Okan Yazici, who began as a busboy 10 years ago, per Philly.com, but not a huge surprise for a restaurant Zagat calls a "must-try" for those who can afford it. Zahav chefs have also received the foundation's 2017 award for best chef and 2018 award for "rising star," per Philly.com. Among other 2019 winners:

  • Outstanding Chef: Ashley Christensen at Poole's Diner, Raleigh, NC
  • Outstanding Restaurateur: Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm of the Boka Restaurant Group, Chicago (Boka, Girl & the Goat, Momotaro, and other restaurants)
  • Outstanding Service: Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder, Colo.
  • Best New Restaurant: Frenchette, New York City
  • Best Chef, New York City: Jody Williams and Rita Sodi at Via Carota
  • Best Chef, Southwest: Charleen Badman at FnB in Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic: Tom Cunanan at Bad Saint in Washington, DC
  • Best Chef, South: Vishwesh Bhatt at Snackbar in Oxford, Miss.
  • Best Chef, Southeast: Mashama Bailey at The Grey in Savannah, Ga.
See Eater for more of the awards. The winners were chosen via secret ballot by previous award winners, a foundation committee, and appointed judges, per the Chicago Tribune.
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