2016 Winners & Finalists

2016 WINNERS

Uniquely Arizona – 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: Lon’s at the Hermosa
Finalists: Joe’s Real BBQ & The Stockyards

Top Chef – Pays tribute to outstanding culinary excellence, breaking new ground with an innovative menu while enhancing the dining experience.

Winner: Kevin Binkley (Binkley’s, Bink’s Midtown, Bink’s Kitchen + Bar, Cafe Bink)
Finalists: Cullen Campbell & Mel Mencias

Innovative Restaurant Concept – 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.

Winner: Kai
Finalists:: Clever Koi & Ocotillo

Outstanding Multiple Location Restaurant – Honors a culinary concept with multiple locations, demonstrating exceptional achievement and commitment to excellence in marketing, menu design and customer service.

Winner: Nook Kitchen
Finalists:: Pita Jungle & Postino

Emerging Restaurant of the Year – Honors promising up-and-comers that demonstrate exemplary talent, showcase innovation and have already distinguished themselves as pacesetters in food, beverage and service.

Winner: Ocotillo
Finalists:: Craft 64 Pizza & Flourish Restaurant

Restaurant Employee – Recognizes the front or back of house employee that has set the gold standard for exemplary customer service and enhancing the overall dining experience.

Winner: Laura Baldassarre, Employee (Wildflower Bread Company)
Finalists: Darryl Jansen (Joe’s Real BBQ) & Kevin Michael Lewis (Kai)

Premier Cocktail Program – Recognizes an outstanding restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence and innovation in their cocktail program.

Winner: Counter Intuitive
Finalists: Bitter and Twisted & Market Street Kitchen

Premier Beer Program – Recognizes an outstanding restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence and innovation in their beer program.

Winner: Culinary Dropout
Finalists: Four Peaks & Two Brothers

Premier Wine Program – Recognizes an outstanding restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence and innovation in their wine program.

Winner: Southern Rail
Finalists: Lon’s at the Hermosa & Ocotillo

Good Neighbor – Recognizes the outstanding community leadership and exceptional devotion to making a difference in our neighborhoods and community at large.
Winner: Local First
Finalists: Joy Bus & Salut Kitchen Bar

Outstanding Food Truck – Recognizes outstanding achievement in mobile nourishment, operations and community development.

Winner: Chef Wade’s Bistro on Wheels
Finalists: Frites Street & The Rocket

Best Dish “Dessert” – Honors the restaurant that quite simply does it best.

Winner: Sumo Maya (Tres Leches)
Finalists: Butter Cake (Mastro’s) & All Desserts (Orange Sky)

Food Pioneer – Honors a lifetime of outstanding culinary excellence that continues to educate, inspire, entertain and foster a deeper understanding of the culinary culture in Arizona.

Winner: Joe Johnston (Liberty Market, Joe’s Real BBQ, Joe’s Farm Grill)
Finalists: Kevin Binkley & Sam Fox