Lucia, La Casita, Sandwich Hag, Beatrice and Kuluntu Are James Beard Finalists | Dallas Observer

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James Beard Finalists Announced, Dallas Shines

Jennifer and David Uygur of Lucia are James Beard finalists this year.
Jennifer and David Uygur of Lucia are James Beard finalists this year. Emily Loving
Today the James Beard Foundation announced the 2023 restaurant and chef finalists, and several Dallas chefs and bakers have made the cut.

The James Beard Awards are considered among the nation's most prestigious honors in the food and beverage industry. Categories recognize emerging chefs, new restaurants, bakers, hospitality groups and beverage programs.

New this year is the Outstanding Bakery category, in which two local shops made the finals: La Casita Bakeshop in Richardson and Kuluntu Bakery. That's a pretty big deal. They are among five bakeries in the country to make this list.

Lucia in the Bishop Arts District made the finals for Outstanding Restaurant. Other nationwide finalists in this category include Copine in Seattle; Coracora in West Hartford, Connecticut; Friday Saturday Sunday in Philadelphia; and Mita's in Cincinnati.

Don Artemio in Fort Worth and Restaurant Beatrice in Oak Cliff made the finals for Best New Restaurant. Tatemó in Houston also made the finals along with Causa in Washington, D.C.; Dept of Culture in New York City; Kann in Portland; Lupi and Iris in Milwaukee; Neng Jr.'s in Asheville, North Carolina; Nolia in Cincinnati; and Obelix in Chicago. Tatsu in Dallas made the semifinals for Best New Restaurant but didn't make the finals.

Chef Junior Borges of Meridian in Dallas was in the running for Outstanding Chef but didn't make it to the finals. Nonetheless, you should definitely try the prix fixe menu there.

In the Best Chef Texas category, there were five locals in the running. Chef Reyna Duong of Sandwich Hag made the finals, along with Benchawan Jabthong Painter of Street to Kitchen in Houston; Emiliano Marentes of ELEMI in El Paso; John Russ at Clementine in San Antonio; and Ernest Servantes and David Kirkland at Burnt Bean Co. in Seguin.

Others nominated in the Best Chef Texas category from North Texas who didn't make the finals include Jalen Heard, Lane Milne and Jonny White at Goldee's Barbecue in Fort Worth; Olivia López and Jonathan Percival at Molino Olōyō; Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman at José; and Regino Rojas at Revolver Taco Lounge.

The winners will be announced on June 5. 
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.

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