The James Beard Awards, an annual gauge of the best restaurants in the U.S., have been on hiatus for the past two years. To blame were the pandemic, of course, which forced many restaurants to put dine-in business on hold, and the awards taking a good look at their process and evolving to be more inclusive. On Monday, they were given out again with honors going to the nation's best restaurants, chefs, restauranteurs, pastry chefs, wine program, and more.
In April, five restaurants were nominated for the best restaurant in America. Here are the 4 runners-up in no particular order and the official best restaurant in America.
Brennan's — New Orleans, Louisiana
Brennan's is one of the most iconic restaurants in the U.S. and a tradition in New Orleans. No trip to The Big Easy is complete without stopping at the Creole restaurant. In fact, if you only splurge one night while in the city, we consider it one of the best once-in-a-lifetime meals in the state. According to Trip Advisor, a recent renovation has made the landmark even more impressive. Head here for unparalleled New Orleans ambiance and architecture. It is the celebrated birthplace of the old-fashioned dessert Bananas Foster.
Butcher & Bee — Charleston, South Carolina
This new American, farm-to-table restaurant is our pick for the most romantic restaurant in South Carolina. Butcher & Bee started out serving unique sandwiches and has evolved to create all kinds of dishes that highlight local and sustainable ingredients from Charleston. Diners rave about the kebabs, unique salads, and amazing cocktail creations. For $45 per person, you can even let the chefs create a multi-course spread for the whole table.
Parachute — Chicago, Illinois
Parachute is a restaurant that specializes in Korean-American cuisine. The restaurant recently just reopened so if you're in the Chicago area check it out for high-end Korean specialties. Diners rave about the fried chicken and the bing bread—get an entire loaf! Be sure to plan ahead, because word is that reservations are hard to come by.
The Walrus and the Carpenter — Seattle, Washington
The seasonal menu changes daily at the Seattle hot spot, but it is the place for the best oysters—including the to-die-for fried oysters—and small bites that Seattle has to offer. Plus, it has a well-thought-out wine and beer list with some creative cocktails that pair great with briny morsels from the sea.
Outstanding Restaurant Award Winner: Chai Pani — Asheville, North Carolina
Chai Pani won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant in 2022. If you're craving chaat—which are classic Indian street snacks—street sandwiches, or uttapam (savory crepes) then Chai Pani is the place to seek out in Asheville. The affordable prices are a nice change as the country is gripped by inflation, rising restaurant costs, and soaring gas prices. Diners rave about the creative food with some claim to have dreamed about it after, one wrote, "We had the green mango dish and the corn Bhel and I swear I dreamed about it! It was that good." Another simply exclaimed, "My god is this place special." Be sure to get on the waiting list early because it fills up fast, and now with a James Beard Award it's sure to be even more crowded.