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9 Places To Eat Right Now


Your guide to this year’s James Beard-nominated Southwest restaurants


Southwest cuisine has its own fire and flavor — and its fair share of shining stars. If your cuisine routine is in a rut, here’s a cheat sheet for where to eat (and what to drink) right now, courtesy of those who have made it their mission to celebrate, nurture and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage — the James Beard Foundation.

These 2016 James Beard winners and nominees hail from the Southwest — with three winners getting us started and seven can’t-miss nominations rounding out the menu. In all, that’s nine places to eat right now, with one award-winning mezcal maker on standby to help you wash it all down.

2016 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional
Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal
Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
Founded in 1995 by Ron Cooper, the organic, artisanal Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal’s trademark is “Sip it, don’t shoot it.”

Best Chef: Southwest
Justin Yu, Oxheart
Houston, Texas
Chef and Owner Justin Yu, who has worked in restaurants including *17 in Houston and Green Zebra in Chicago, opened Oxheart to “convey a progressive perspective on regional product.”

2016 JBF America’s Classics
Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante
Chimayo, New Mexico
Owner: Florence Jaramillo
With a menu cultivated from personal, New Mexican and ancestral family influences, the Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante is known for spicy guacamole, hand-rolled tamales and blue corn enchiladas. Try the Chimayó Cocktail, a blend of tequila, apple cider, fresh apples and Crème de Cassis.

2016 James Beard nominees

Best New Restaurant
Austin, Texas

Outstanding Restaurant
Frasca Food & Wine
Boulder, Colorado

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Grae Nonas, Olamaie
Austin, Texas

Best Chef: Southwest
Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine
Austin, Texas

Steve McHugh, Cured
San Antonio, Texas

Hugo Ortega, Caracol
Houston, Texas

Alex Seidel, Fruition
Denver, Colorado

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