Arizona Restaurant Association's 2018 Foodist Award Winners
On October 4, 2018, I was thrilled, surprised, and honored to win the Arizona Restaurant Association's Foodist Award for Best of the Best Food Writer. I am so passionate about the amazing food and beverage culture being celebrated in our beautiful state, and it seems readers are too! Thank you to all the gifted chefs, restaurateurs, cocktail talents, winemakers, distillers, brewers, farmers, growers and artisanal producers. It’s because of them that I was on stage accepting the award, and they make my job a joy. Thank you also, of course, to my patient and supportive husband who squires me around to my assignments and events so I can indulge in multi-course wine dinners, judge cocktail competitions, and feverishly work in the car catching up on social media and my other job (yes, a full-time job in addition to my writing career keeps me busy).
Congratulations to all the winners who were recognized as stars in Arizona’s culinary and hospitality industry, and the worthy finalists.
Winner of Innovative Restaurant Concept - Binkley’s and The Larder + the Delta (a tie): Recognizes a restaurateur or restaurant group who demonstrates that they don’t follow trends; they define them, setting the bar in restaurant operations and the overall customer dining experience.
Finalist: CRUjiente Tacos
Winner of Outstanding Food Truck – Aioli Gourmet Burgers: Recognizes outstanding achievement in mobile nourishment, operations and community development.
Drive Wood Fired Grill
Winner of Emerging Restaurant of the Year - Roland’s Cafe Market Bar: Honors promising up-and-comers that demonstrate exemplary talent, showcase innovation and have already distinguished themselves as pacesetters in food, beverage and service.
Mowry & Cotton
The Larder + the Delta
Winner of Best Arizona Caterer – Jennifer’s Catering: An Arizona grown catering team that provides quality dining experience at any location and exemplary service.
Artisan by Santa Barbara Catering
Winner of Outstanding Multiple Location Restaurant – Flower Child: Honors a culinary concept with more than 3 locations, demonstrating exceptional achievement and commitment to excellence in marketing, menu design and customer service.
Cornish Pasty Co.
Matt’s Big Breakfast
Winner of Uniquely Arizona – Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine: Home to some of the oldest documented food traditions, Arizona has a rich culinary past steeped in tradition. We are searching statewide for the restaurants that embrace not only the local food but are staples of the state.
Winner of Innovative Fast-Casual Dish – Crepe Bar’s Crepe Chips: Honoring our fast-casual segment, and the most unique dish on the menu.
Coconuts Fish Café – Fish Tacos
Gadzooks – Short Rib Enchiladas
Winner of Best Arizona made restaurant retail food product – Noble Bread: Hats off to the tried and true recipes that we want to have available at home.
Matt’s Big Breakfast – Hot Sauce
Noble Bread – Bread
Perk Eatery – Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce
Winner of Best Signature Dish - LON’s at the Hermosa Inn’s Himalayan Salt-Seared Ahi: Honors the restaurant that quite simply does it best.
Farmboy Market, Meats, Sandwiches – The Ocotillo Pulled Pork
Virtu Honest Craft – Grilled Octopus
Winner of Best Arizona Wine – Dos Cabezas Wine Works: Raising a glass to the best wine made in Arizona – from rose to chardonnay, this wine is the best of the best from State 48.
Pillsbury Wine Company
Winner of Best Arizona Beer – AZ Wilderness: Raising a glass to the best beer made in Arizona – from ales to malts, this beer is the best of the best from State 48.
Mother Road Brewery
Winner of Best Cocktail – Bitter & Twisted’s Ship Load of Rum: Raising a glass to the best cocktail made in Arizona. This beverage is an exceptional cocktail that is without a doubt delicious, garnished to perfection while pushing the limits with flavors.
Artizen at the Camby – Kingston Fog
Bourbon & Bones – Manhattan
Winner of Best Beverage Program – UnderTow: Recognizing a bar or restaurant that keeps their beverage menu edgy yet approachable embracing all things beverage – cocktails, spirits, wine and beer.
Bitter & Twisted
Winner of Best Restaurant Employee – Fran D’Amato, Prado: Recognizes the front or back of house employee (non-managerial) that has set the gold standard for exemplary customer service and enhancing the overall dining experience.
Christian Giles, Binkley’s
Gabby Golf, Isabella’s Kitchen
Winner of Best Restaurant Manager – Bill Parker, Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn: Recognizes the manager that has set the gold standard for exemplary customer service and leadership as well as enhancing the overall dining experience.
Cody Heller, Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine
Jason Morris, Crujiente Tacos
Winner of Top Chef – Lisa Dahl, Dahl Restaurant Group: Pays tribute to outstanding culinary excellence, breaking new ground with an innovative menu while enhancing the dining experience.
Stephen Jones, The Larder + the Delta
Michael Rusconi – Rusconi’s American Kitchen
Winner of Top Mixologist – Jason Asher, Barter & Shake: Honoring an individual who is behind the bar, constantly raising the bar and setting trends in the beverage scene.
Josh James, Clever Koi
Nick Williams, Annex in Flagstaff
Winner of Best of the Best Food Writer – Christina Barrueta, Write on Rubee: This award recognizes a writer, blogger, food critic who dedicates time, passion and energy to capturing the beauty of our industry with the written word in any form.
Chris Malloy, Phoenix New Times
Dominic Armato, the Arizona Republic
Winner of Good Neighbor – The Joy Bus Diner: Recognizes the outstanding community leadership and exceptional devotion to making a difference in our neighborhoods and community at large.
David Duarte, Finestre Modern Gastronomy
Raveen Aurora, The Dhaba
Winner of Food Pioneer – Christopher Gross, Historic Wrigley Mansion: Honors a lifetime of outstanding culinary excellence that continues to educate, inspire, entertain and foster a deeper understanding of the culinary culture in Arizona.
Gio Osso, Virtu Honest Craft
Mark Tarbell, Tarbell’s
For details and more information, visit http://foodistawards.com/