It is time now to announce the winners of the 2011 Eater Awards, presented by Patrón Tequila. In over 50 categories spanning 13 cities, the winners comprise a diverse bunch of the finest and most interesting chefs, operators and characters in the country. We applaud them. You are hereby instructed to applaud them. So, without further ado—actually, a few quick pre-ambling thoughts....
To recap, Eater's local editors in NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Austin, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Miami nominated candidates for five major local categories: Restaurant of the Year, So Hot Right Now Restaurant, Chef of the Year, Bartender of the Year, and Best Bathroom. Eater readers then voted to narrow the field to a final three in each category. From that final three, the Eater editorial team chose the winner. Winners were then moved up to a national round to select the best of all the land. In very rare cases, we exercised Rule 17, Sub. 19, which allows for veto of the popular vote. (This rule was used just once in 2010.) In addition to these main stage winners, said Eater editorial team has named worthy winners in more specialized categories, for myriad notable achievements.
Nominees and winners alike will be feted at a party tonight in Manhattan. Those winners that couldn't make it should watch their mail for packages containing cans of Italian peeled tomatoes. And now, without further ado, the winners in Chicago. Click through for the full rundown of winners across the country on Eater National.
=== CHICAGO ===
Restaurant of the Year, Chicago
Nominees: Next, Maude's Liquor Bar, NoMI Kitchen, Alinea, Girl & The Goat, Henri, Perennial Virant
So Hot Right Now, Chicago
Nominees: Telegraph, Autre Monde, GT Fish & Oyster, The Pump Room, Paris Club, Next, Vera
Chef of the Year, Chicago
Nominees: Grant Achatz (Alinea, Next), Stephanie Izard (Girl & The Goat), Dave Beran (Next), Dirk Flanigan (Henri), Sarah Grueneberg (Spiaggia), Jeff Pikus (Maude's Liquor Bar), Edward Kim (Ruxbin)
Winner: Sarah Grueneberg (Spiaggia)
Bartender of the Year, Chicago
Nominees: Brad Bolt (Bar DeVille), Lynn House (Blackbird), Revae Schneider (Femme du Coupe), Charles Joly (The Drawing Room), Debbi Peek (The Bristol), Mike Ryan (Sable Kitchen & Bar), Craig Schoettler (The Aviary), Stephen Cole (Barrelhouse Flat)
Winner: Craig Schoettler (The Aviary)
Best Bathroom, Chicago
Nominees: Ruxbin, The Bedford, Quartino, Longman & Eagle, The Publican, Wave/W Lakeshore, 2Sparrows
Empire Builders of the Year, Chicago
Winner: Kevin Boehm & Rob Katz, The Boka Restaurant Group
The Eater Awards 2011 would not be possible not only without presenting sponsor Patrón Tequila but also the event's product sponsors—Seamless, Organic Valley, USA Pears, Sixpoint Craft Ales, Whole Foods, Pat LaFrieda, Forever Cheese, and Sokol Blosser—and participating restaurants—Mission Chinese, Cookshop, Franklin BBQ, Baohaus, flour + water, Beast, Pok Pok, Red Farm, and Marble Lane. We salute them all.