City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Georgians among James Beard Restaurant Awards semifinalists

james_beardThe James Beard Foundation Award For Excellence season is upon us, and once again a number of prominent local chefs are among the semifinalists, which were announced today. Most categories list 20 semifinalists, though a few have more.

Restaurant award judges throughout the country (of which I am one) will vote from this list to determine the five finalists in each category. The finalists will be announced on March 21.

The Georgians cited today are:


  • Aaron Russell, Restaurant Eugene, Atlanta
  • Cynthia Wong, Cakes  & Ale, Decatur


  • Mike Klank and Eddie Hernandez, Taqueria del Sol, Atlanta


  • Steven Grubbs, Five and Ten, Athens


  • Kevin Gillespie, Woodfire Grill, Atlanta


  • Hugh Acheson, Five and Ten, Athens
  • Billy Allin, Cakes & Ale, Decatur
  • Linton Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene, Atlanta
  • Hector Santiago, Pura Vida, Atlanta

Congrats to all.

20 comments Add your comment

nom nom nom

February 17th, 2011
12:14 pm

You could have given us ALL the semi-finalists and just highlighted the Georgians. That way I wouldn’t have to leave your site to search for this information.

Gator Annie

February 17th, 2011
4:41 pm

I’ve eaten at Five & Ten…it’s good. But, Last Resort in Athens is better – and cheaper. However – congratulations to Hugh Acheson.

local is as local does....

February 17th, 2011
4:47 pm

some people will complain about anything


February 17th, 2011
4:50 pm

I went to culinary school with Aaron Russell. Now he’s up for a James Beard award!! Go Aaron!!


February 17th, 2011
5:19 pm

nom nom nom, he also could have driven to your house and read the list aloud to you, using a special twang for those nominees from Georgia, but he didn’t.

Decatur Diner

February 17th, 2011
5:54 pm

Tacqueria del Sol – Huh? OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR…it would appear the nomination committee didn’t eat in the restaurant and get to enjoy the “stellar” and “friendly service” that goes with your meal. Love the Taco’s especially the Bob but I would much rather not be talked down to while I enjoy my meal. As an outstanding restaurateur one would think that you need to be a little friendly to get that award.

ATL Diner

February 17th, 2011
6:18 pm

Hector Santiago is one of the most underrated, creative, best quality to price chefs in Atlanta – he gets my vote!


February 17th, 2011
6:55 pm

Taqueria del Sol….James Beard? Who’s smoking crack? That’s one of the worst restaurants in town!

nom nom nom isn't a food snob...

February 17th, 2011
7:04 pm

nom nom nom is apparently a food jerk. Ditto what Jennifer said!

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bride of puerquito

February 17th, 2011
9:49 pm

Taqueria del sol will never win. They’re just throwing a bone to the southeast since there is not much to choose from.

Smyrna Cook

February 18th, 2011
8:58 am

Hector Santiago gets my vote! I would have never tried duck…then I went to Pura Vida and had it…couldn’t get that delicious taste out of my mind for months! Please Hector…put it back on the menu!


February 18th, 2011
1:50 pm

I’m surprised Ron Eyster is not on this list.


February 18th, 2011
7:39 pm

Chris Hall needs to be on next year’s list.


February 18th, 2011
10:22 pm

I know it’s an honor just to be nominated, but after so many nominations, I would really like to see Chef Hopkins win. The man does so much for Atlanta cuisine beyond the walls of his restaurants.


February 19th, 2011
10:59 am

Congrats to Steve!

Good Food Eater

February 19th, 2011
2:08 pm

Congratulations to Mike and Eddie. They run damn fine restaurants and deserve the recognition. These are the kind of people you want to see succeed. More corn chowder please.

one chef

February 20th, 2011
8:15 pm

hy can ppl; be yust happy for the finalists. from georgia regarless of who they are;
they are from georgia and to me is all that matters; be proud; if ur not in the commited; let the juges juge is not ur job to do so
congratulationes to all the finalists.


February 21st, 2011
1:25 pm

like the food at TDS but as far as service- it should be in textbooks on how not to treat the customer.


February 24th, 2011
10:46 am

Last Resort — better than Five and Ten? You must be out of your mind.