TThe 2023 James Beard Award semi-finalists were announced today and as usual, chefs, restaurants and bars in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio received much affection from the food world at the Oscars. But this time, Fort Worth’s often-overlooked dining scene also received two nominations.
Fort Worth’s Don Artemio won the prestigious Best New Restaurant category, a major breakthrough for Cowtown. Dallas’ Beatrice and Tatsu restaurants and Houston’s unique corn paradise Tatemó also made it to the Best New Restaurant semifinals.
In the Best Chef: Texas category, the biggest and most welcome surprise is that Texas Barbecue received some major recognition at the James Beard Awards. Barbecue Pitmasters took a handful of the 20 semifinalist spots in Best Chefs: Texas. Jalen Heard, Lane Milne and Jonny White, owners and chefs of Fort Worth Goldee’s Barbecue, were nominated together, and Houston’s Greg Gatlin, Greg Gatlin of Gatlin’s BBQ, also earned well overdue respect.
Fort Worth’s James Beard moment
An offshoot of a Mexican restaurant, Don Artemio arrived in Fort Worth’s cultural district last spring and brought Mex-Mex to a country full of Tex-Mex.
Juan Ramón Cárdenas Cantú’s first restaurant, Don Artemio, remains firmly anchored in Saltillo, Mexico. The first Don Artemio in the USA brings great attention to detail. Thousands of handcrafted bricks, pots, weaves, and woodwork were imported from Saltillo to be installed in Fort Worth. Cantú has teamed up with his friend and Fort Worth restaurant veteran, Adrian Burciaga, also from Saltillo, for the new Fort Worth Don Artemio.
“Burciaga’s smile and enthusiasm are contagious,” paper town wrote after a first taster visit. “He’s like a new dad handing out cigars to complete strangers and pointing to his brand new bundle of joy snuggled behind the glass pane of the nursery. And who can blame him? This new restaurant in Fort Worth is a beauty.”
Imagine his smile today after James Beard’s first nod at his restaurant.
Don Artemio’s adventurous menu includes nopalitos fritos (fried cacti), chapulines (fried grasshoppers), Cantú’s famous fried cabrito and succulent sea bass in a memorable mole negro.
Goldee’s is building more BBQ buzz
Goldee’s Barbecue is already the best barbecue spot in the Lone Star State Texas Monthly‘s vaunted rankings. paper town Fort Worth first predicted Goldee’s rise in March 2020. And now James Beard is adding his prestige to Goldee’s growing aura.
The young, up-and-coming team behind Goldee’s trained at some of Texas’ top grill spots before settling down on a back street in Fort Worth and quickly winning the hearts and tummies of the crowds. Excellent smoked meat and side dishes make grill fans queue up early.
Now imagine how long the lines will be at Goldee’s after that nod from James Beard.
The remainder of the Best Chef: Texas Semifinals represents a tour de force from across the Lone Star State. In fact, this list could easily be someone’s dream Texas meal itinerary:
– Nicola Blaque, The Jerk Shack, San Antonio
— Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Canje, Austin
— Damien Brockway, distant relative, Austin
– Reyna Duong, Sandwich Hex, Dallas
— Kareem El-Ghayesh, KG BBQ, Austin
– Jalen Heard, Lane Milne and Jonny White, Goldee’s Barbecue, Fort Worth
– Andrew Ho, Andrew Samia and Sean Wen, Curry Boys BBQ, San Antonio
— Greg Gatlin, Gatlin’s BBQ, Houston
— Benchawan Jabthong Painter, Street to Kitchen, Houston
– Ai Le, Nam Giao, Houston
– Olivia López and Jonathan Percival, Molino Olōyō, Dallas
— Enrique Lozano, El Charlatan, Socorro
— Emiliano Marentes, ELEMI, El Paso
— Ana Liz Pulido, Ana Liz Taqueria, Mission
— Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman, José, Dallas
– Regino Rojas, Revolver Taco Lounge, Dallas
– John Russ, Clementine, San Antonio
– Ernest Servantes and David Kirkland, Burnt Bean Co., Seguin
— Kiran Verma, Kirans, Houston
— Jon Walter, Chez Sami, Wolfforth
Texas Love by James Beard
In the James Beard Award’s Outstanding Restauranteur category, Houston-based Lucille’s Hospitality Group’s Chris Williams earned a place in the semifinals.
Two Texas favorites are semi-finalists in the National Outstanding Restaurants – La Condesa in Austin and Lucia in Dallas. Notable emerging chefs include Houston’s Victoria Elizondo of Cochinita & Co. and San Antonio’s Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin of Best Quality Daughter.
Texas Spots received two nominations in the Outstanding Bakeries category, with Richardson’s La Casita Bakeshop and Kuluntu Bakery in Dallas making the list. Austin’s Comadre Panadería’s Mariela Camacho and San Antonio’s Bakery Lorraine’s Anne Ng made the Outstanding Pastry Chefs Cut.
Two Texas restaurants have received Outstanding Hospitality ratings – The Local of Abilene and Houston’s Theodore Rex. Texas received two awards for the Outstanding Wines and Other Beverages program, one for Nancy’s Hustle of Houston and the other for Suerte in Austin. Las Ramblas of Brownsville and Weathered Souls Brewing Company of San Antonio made it to the Outstanding Bars semifinals.
The James Beard Awards semi-finalist will be crowned finalists on March 29, and winners will be announced and celebrated on June 5 at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
More big Texas restaurant moments could be coming. With Fort Worth snapping up a seat at the table.