2018 Award Winners & Finalists

2018 FOODIST AWARD WINNERS & FINALISTS

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 influencers, organized by The Arizona Restaurant Association.

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: Binkley’s & The Larder + the Delta
Finalists: Crujiente Tacos

Outstanding Food Truck – Recognizes outstanding achievement in mobile nourishment, operations and community development.
Winner: Aioli Gourmet Burgers
Finalists: Drive Wood Fired Grill & Superfarm SuperTruck

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: Roland’s Café Market Bar
Finalists: Mowry & Cotton & The Larder + the Delta

Best Arizona Caterer – An Arizona grown catering team that provides quality dining experience at any location and exemplary service.
Winner: Jennifer’s Catering
Finalists: Artisan by Santa Barbara Catering & Nibblers

Outstanding Multiple Location Restaurant – Honors a culinary concept with more than 3 locations, demonstrating exceptional achievement and commitment to excellence in marketing, menu design and customer service.
Winner: Flower Child
Finalists: Cornish Pasty Co. & Matt’s Big Breakfast

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: Kai
Finalists: Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine & FnB

Innovative Fast-Casual Dish – Honoring our fast-casual segment, and the most unique dish on the menu.
Winner: Crepe Bar – Crepe Chips
Finalists: Coconuts Fish Café – Fish Tacos & Gadzooks – Short rib enchiladas

Best Arizona made restaurant retail food product. Hats off to the tried and true recipes that we want to have available at home.
Winner: Noble Bread – Bread
Finalists: Matt’s Big Breakfast – Hot Sauce & Perk Eatery – Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce

Best Signature Dish: – Honors the restaurant that quite simply does it best.
Winner: LON’s at the Hermosa Inn, Himalayan Salt Seared Ahi
Finalists: Farmboy Market, Meats, Sandwiches – The Ocotillo Pulled Pork  & Virtu Honest Craft – Grilled Octopus

Best Arizona Wine – Raising a glass to the best wine made in Arizona – from rose to chardonnay, this wine is the best of the best from State 48.
Winner: Dos Cabezas, Wine Works
Finalists: Pillsbury Wine Company & Sand-Reckoner Vineyards

Best Arizona Beer – Raising a glass to the best beer made in Arizona – from ales to malts, this beer is the best of the best from State 48.
Winner: AZ Wilderness
Finalists: Four Peaks & Mother Road Brewery

Best Cocktail– Raising a glass to the best cocktail made in Arizona. This beverage is an exceptional cocktail that is without a doubt delicious, garnished to perfection while pushing the limits with flavors.
Winner: Bitter & Twisted – Ship Load of Rum
Finalists: Artizen at the Camby – Kingston Fog & Bourbon & Bones – Manhattan

Best Beverage Program – Recognizing a bar or restaurant that keeps their beverage menu edgy yet approachable embracing all things beverage – cocktails, spirits, wine and beer.
Winner: UnderTow
Finalists: Bitter & Twisted & Clever Koi

Restaurant Employee – 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.
Winner: Frank D’Amato, Prado
Finalists: Christian Giles, Binkley’s & Gabby Golf, Isabella’s Kitchen

Restaurant Manager – Recognizes the manager that has set the gold standard for exemplary customer service and leadership as well as enhancing the overall dining experience.
Winner: Bill Parker, Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn
Finalists: Cody Heller, Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine & Jason Morris, Crujiente Tacos

Top Chef – Pays tribute to outstanding culinary excellence, breaking new ground with an innovative menu while enhancing the dining experience.
Winner: Lisa Dahl, Dahl Restaurant Group
Finalists: Stephen Jones, The Larder + the Delta & Michael Rusconi – Rusconi’s American Kitchen

Top Mixologist – Honoring an individual who is behind the bar, constantly raising the bar and setting trends in the beverage scene.
Winner: Jason Asher, Counter Intuitive
Finalists: Josh James, Clever Koi & Nick Williams, Annex in Flagstaff

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 our industry with the written word in any form.
Winner: Christina Barrueta, Write on Rubee
Finalists: Chris Malloy, Phoenix New Times & Dominic Armato, the Arizona Republic

Good Neighbor – Recognizes the outstanding community leadership and exceptional devotion to making a difference in our neighborhoods and community at large.
Winner: The Joy Bus Diner
Finalists: David Duarte, Finestre Modern Gastronomy & Raveen Aurora, the Dhaba

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: Christopher Gross, Geordie’s at the Historic Wrigley Mansion
Finalists: Gio Osso, Virtu Honest Craft & Mark Tarbell, Tarbell’s