The James Beard Foundation announced on Wednesday the semifinalists for its annual awards, and Washington restaurants have plenty to be proud of. The region has more than two dozen contenders for James Beard Awards, one of the most coveted honors in the restaurant industry.
Aaron Silverman's much-lauded prix fixe Pineapple and Pearls is unsurprisingly in the running for best new restaurant, alongside a more casual colleague: Sweet Home Cafe at National Museum of African American History and Culture.
They're joined in other categories by a bevy of familiar faces and places, including chefs Fabio Trabocchi and Eric Ziebold, plus such restaurants as Jaleo and Rasika.
Semifinalists for the awards, which also cover restaurant design and media among the more than 50 categories, were sourced from 24,000 online submissions. The finalists for the restaurant and chef awards, as chosen by judges, committee members and previous winners, will be announced March 15. The winners will be revealed May 1.
In 2016, the D.C. area had about two dozen semifinalists and five finalists. Only one walked away with a prize: Silverman, who took home the award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.
Here's the rundown of who's in the running in the restaurant and chef categories:
Best New Restaurant
Pineapple and Pearls
Sweet Home Cafe at the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst
Outstanding Bar Program
Chesapeake & Maine (Rehoboth Beach, Del.)
Fabio Trabocchi, Fiola
Eric Ziebold, Kinship
Ashok Bajaj, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group (Bombay Club, Rasika, Oval Room and others)
Woodberry Kitchen (Baltimore)
Outstanding Wine Program
Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional
Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Diane Flynt, Foggy Ridge Cider
Jim Law, Linden Vineyards
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Kevin Tien, Himitsu
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Ian Boden, the Shack (Staunton, Va.)
Amy Brandwein, Centrolina
Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint
Michael Friedman, All-Purpose
Tarver King, the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
Seng Luangrath, Thip Khao
Cedric Maupillier, Convivial
Cindy Wolf, Charleston (Baltimore)
Nobu Yamazaki, Sushi Taro
You can find a full list of the semifinalists on the James Beard Foundation website.