From a Filipino food counter in Seattle to a barbacoa pit in South Texas, the James Beard Foundation’s 2020 “America’s Classics” winners are in. There are six honorees this year — one more than last year’s set — in a diverse group with a unifying feature of “timeless appeal,” per the Beard Foundation. Winners were revealed in over the course of a week. .
the america’s classics category was introduced by the foundation back in 1998. winners are typically more than a decade-old, often family-owned, and distinguished by “quality food that reflects the character of their communities.” america’s classics contenders aren’t necessarily restaurants in the running for other beard awards (honors typically reserved for more formal restaurants). those will be announced soon: semifinalists will be revealed next week, followed by a short list of finalists, then the 2020 winners will be anointed on may 4 at an awards ceremony in chicago. the america’s classics winners (below) will get some love at the ceremony, too.
El Taco de Mexico, Denver, Colorado: Maria Luisa Zanabria established her Denver Arts District taqueria in 1985. It’s known for burritos smothered in green chiles and constant crowds.
Lassis Inn, Little Rock, Arkansas: A hub for community and fried catfish, Lassis Inn was founded in 1905, and it’s served as a famous gathering place for Civil Rights leaders. Current owners Elihue Washington Jr. and Maria Washington still serve favorite dishes like “buffalo ribs,” which are actually rib cuts from large buffalo fish.
Oriental Mart, Seattle, Washington: A three-generation family-owned Filipino lunch counter in Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, the “O Mart” opened in 1987 as an extension of an adjacent grocery store. Now it’s beloved for chef Leila Rosas’s dishes like salmon collar sinigang and her “Do You Trust Me” plate. FYI, Oriental Mart was also recently featured on an episode of Eater’s on PBS.
Puritan Backroom, Manchester, New Hampshire: This one’s the place that says they invented the chicken tender in 1974. They’re still known for American and Greek comfort food, plus homemade ice cream in flavors like Baileys-spiked mudslide. It’s also a well-trod political campaign pitstop.
Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que, Brownsville, Texas:红包扫雷源码免公众号 A food pilgrimage site four hours from San Antonio, Vera’s is known for its barbacoa de cabeza, buried and smoked for up to 12-hours. Owner Armando “Mando” Vera traces his cuisine to the 19th century vaquero-cowboy culture and his father’s restaurant, which opened in the area in 1955.
Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, Frankenmouth, Michigan: 红包扫雷源码免公众号Zehnder’s (est. 1928) is part of a giant hotel, waterpark, and golf course complex that’s a. The restaurant’s huge in its own right — it can seat 1,500 people and feeds a million people a year — and it’s known for food like fried chicken platters.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards.