Our feelings about the 2019 James Beard Awards finalists list

Emma Orlow
Written by
Emma Orlow
Photograph: Teddy Wolff

The finalists for the food world's version of the Oscars were announced today and some of our favorites like Superiority Burger, Atomix, and Atla made the cut. 

After a cacophony of criticism was aimed at the James Beard Awards for their history of mostly only celebrating white straight male nominees, this year, more women, people of color, and members of the queer community round out the 2019 finalists list than ever before. 

We're especially excited about the nomination of Daniela Soto-Innes who runs Atla with Enrique Olivera. If you've still haven't gone, the spinoff is more casual than their Flatiron megahit, Cosme, but in our opinion even more exciting. 

For those less clued into the often-insular food community gossip, it's a big deal that the 2019 awards highlight more affordable and approachable eateries like Bed-Stuy's A&A Bake & Double Roti Shop and Brooks Headley's Superiority Burger in the East Village (their "yuba verde" is one of the best sandwiches in NYC). Both also mark growing respect for the plant-based dining scene. While other cheap eat spots like all-day cafe Kopitiam made the semifinals, they sadly didn't make it to the final round.
And while we're stoked that finally, finally the awards have slanted towards the right the hell is Balthazar still on the list as an "Outstanding Restaurant"? No disrespect to the restaurant (yeah, they have some of NYC's best fries), but Balthazar is just kind of boring and at this point, stale. Why not stick with the message and give the spot to someone more deserving, and relevant to the way that New Yorkers are dining in 2019? What do you think about it? 
Check out the rest of the list of the James Beard Awards 2019 Finalists, below:

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)

Sean Gray, Momofuku Ko

Brooks Headley, Superiority Burger

Daniela Soto-Innes, Atla

Alex Stupak, Empellón Midtown

Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, Via Carota

Outstanding Restaurant Design, 75 seats and under

Roman and Williams for La Mercerie

Studio Writers for Atomix

Outstanding Restaurant Design, 76 seats and over

Studio Razavi Architecture for Boqueria

Other Eating and Drinking Places

Summer Ops for Island Oyster

Outstanding Bar Program

Dead Rabbit

Outstanding Baker

Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit

Outstanding Restaurateur

Alex Raij and Eder Montero, NYC (La Vara, Txikito, Saint Julivert Fisherie, and others)

Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group, Philadelphia (Fork, High Street on Market, High Street on Hudson)

Best New Restaurant



Outstanding Restaurant


2019 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics 

A&A Bake & Double Roti Shop

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