The Foodist Awards recognize the most amazing tastes, faces and places in Arizona food and beverage. Awards are given to entries that demonstrate innovation, quality of execution, effectiveness and an influential impact on the culinary and hospitality industry.
The nomination process is open to the public. Finalists and winners are chosen by a panel of industry experts, organized by The Arizona Restaurant Association.
INNOVATIVE FAST BITES – This award honors the fast-casual segment and the restaurant that constantly brings innovation to the table.
Chula Seafood **WINNER**
Farm & Craft
ARIZONA CRAFT RETAIL FOOD PRODUCT – This award honors the tried and true recipes that foodies want to have available at home.
Cutino Hot Sauce **WINNER**
Queen Creek Olive Mill
SIGNATURE DISH – Honors the restaurant that quite simply does it best.
Barrio Café – Chiles en Nogada
Cotton & Copper – Rabbit Bolognese Lasagna **WINNER**
Cup Café – Cast Iron Baked Eggs
ARIZONA’S BEST COFFEE HOUSE – Honoring Arizona grown coffee house that is taking the state, and maybe even the country, by storm.
Matador Coffee Roasters
Press Coffee Roasters ** WINNER**
FAVORITE ARIZONA WINERY – Toasting the top Arizona Winery.
Page Spring Cellars **WINNER**
TOP ARIZONA BREWERY – Raising a glass to the best Arizona brewery.
Mother Road Brewing Company **WINNER**
COCKTAIL PROGRAM – Raising a glass to an elite cocktail program.
Little Rituals ** WINNER**
Tough Luck Club
WINE PROGRAM – Recognizing an outstanding restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence and innovation in their wine program.
BEST BEVERAGE PROGRAM – Recognizing a bar or restaurant that keeps their beverage menu edgy yet approachable embracing all things beverage – spirits, wine and beer.
Bitter & Twisted **WINNER**
Tito & Pep
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.
Flower Child **WINNER**
FANTASTIC FOOD TRUCK – Recognizes outstanding achievement in mobile nourishment, operations and community development.
Maine Lobster Lady **WINNER**
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.
Cotton & Copper **WINNER**
Tito & Pep
TOP ARIZONA CATERER – An Arizona grown catering team that provides quality dining experience at any location and exemplary service.
Artisan by Santa Barbara Catering **WINNER**
Conceptually Social (CS) Catering
Farmboy Markets, Meats and Sandwiches
OUTSTANDING LOCAL RESTAURANT GROUP – Honors a culinary group with more than 3 locations with the same or different brands, demonstrating exceptional achievement and commitment to excellence in marketing, menu design and customer service.
Born & Raised Hospitality **WINNER**
Dahl Restaurant Group
Fox Restaurant Concepts
UNIQUELY ARIZONA – Home to some of the oldest documented food traditions, Arizona has a rich culinary past steeped in tradition. The ARA is searching statewide for the restaurants that embrace not only the local food but are staples of the state.
Cotton & Copper
Kai Restaurant **WINNER**
ACCLAIMED INDUSTRY INSTAGRAMMER – Honoring the best Instagrammer who has captured the hearts of its visitors with outstanding Instagram food photography.
BEST OF THE BEST FOOD WRITER – This award recognizes a writer, blogger, food critic who dedicates time, passion and energy to capturing the beauty of the industry with the written word in any form.
Alison Bailin, Freelance
Lauren Saria, Arizona Republic **WINNER**
GOOD NEIGHBOR – Recognizes the outstanding community leadership and exceptional devotion to making a difference in local neighborhoods and the community at large.
Charleen Badman, FnB and the Blue Watermelon Project
The Breadfruit & Rum Bar
The Dhaba **WINNER**
TOP MIXOLOGIST | BARTENDER – Honoring an individual who is behind the bar or constantly raising the bar and setting trends in the beverage scene.
Aaron DeFeo – Little Rituals **WINNER**
Nick Williams – Annex Cocktail Lounge
Ross Simon – Bitter & Twisted
TOP CHEF – Pays tribute to outstanding culinary excellence, breaking new ground with an innovative menu while enhancing the dining experience.
Gio Osso, Virtu **WINNER**
Michael Rusconi – Rusconi’s American Kitchen
Ryan Clark, Casino del Sol – PY Steakhouse
EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR – 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.
Benny Cisneros, The Scott Resort and Spa **WINNER**
Jamie Chase, Chase’s Diner
Kevin Lewis, Kai
MANAGER OF THE YEAR– Recognizes the manager that has set the gold standard for exemplary customer service and leadership as well as enhancing the overall dining experience.
Frank Lara, Chompie’s
Malone Deever, Beckett’s Table
TJ Martinez, Copper Brothel Brewery **WINNER**
FOOD PIONEER – Lifetime Achievement Award. Honors a lifetime of outstanding culinary excellence that continues to educate, inspire, entertain and foster a deeper understanding of the culinary culture in Arizona.
Charleen Badman, FnB – out of town
Janos Wilder, Downtown Kitchen +Cocktails
Lisa Dahl, Dahl Restaurant Group **WINNER**
2019 AWARD CATEGORIES