It is time now—drumroll, trumpets, etc.—to announce the winners of the 2012 Eater Awards. In over a dozen categories in 19 cities, the winners comprise a diverse group 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 19 cities 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 Stone Cold Stunner. 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. Our Eater National brain trust then got together to decide the national winners for those categories. 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.
Eater Awards 2012
Restaurant of the Year
Nominees: Yusho, Goosefoot, Balena, Acadia, Trenchermen
Finalists: Yusho, Balena, Acadia
Chef of the Year:
Nominees: Matthias Merges, Chris Pandel, Chris Nugent, Ashlee Aubin, Mike & Patrick Sheerin
Finalists: Chris Pandel, Ashlee Aubin, Chris Nugent
Winner: Chris Pandel, Balena, The Bristol
So Hot Right Now
Nominees: Baume & Brix, BellyQ, Carriage House, Elizabeth, La Sirena Clandestina
Finalists: Carriage House, La Sirena Clandestina, Elizabeth
Winner: Carriage House
Bartender of the Year
Nominees: Charles Joly, Michael Simon, Stephen Cole, Danny Shapiro, Clint Rogers
Finalists: Danny Shapiro, Charles Joly, Michael Simon
Winner: Danny Shapiro, Scofflaw
Stone Cold Stunner
Nominees: Balena, Publican, Trenchermen, Tavernita, Nellcôte
Finalists: Balena, Nellcôte, Tavernita
Empire Builder of the Year
Winner: Brendan Sodikoff