City Has 7 James Beard Semifinalists

Four area chefs, two restauranteurs and one bar are Midwest semi-finalists.

By - Mar 4th, 2019 03:39 pm
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Bryant's Cocktail Lounge. Photo by Michael Horne.

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge. Photo by Michael Horne.

The James Beard Foundation has announced its 2019 semifinalists, which include six area chefs and restaurateurs and one bar.

Karen Bell, owner of Bavette La Boucherie (330 E. Menominee St.), has been nominated for Best Chef Midwest for the third year in a row. Bell was named a semifinalist in 2017 and a finalist in 2018. Before opening Bavette in 2013, Bell also worked in Chicago, San Francisco, Paris, Caracas and ran her own restaurant in Madrid, Spain.

Also named semifinalists in the Best Chef Midwest category are Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite of EsterEv (360 E. Erie St.). Jacobs and Van Rite were also named semifinalists for their work at EsterEv last year. The two opened EsterEv in 2016 shortly after opening their first restaurant together, DanDan (360 E. Erie St.).

The Foundation named a fourth Milwaukee-area chef for the Best Chef Midwest category. Dane Baldwin has received his first James Beard nomination. Baldwin opened his first restaurant, The Diplomat (815 E. Brady St.) in 2017.

Paul and Joe Bartolotta have been nominated in the Oustanding Restaurateur category. The two were also named semifinalists in the same category in 2017. Paul Bartolotta also won the Best Chef Midwest award in 1994 for his work at Spiaggia in Chicago and the Best Chef Southwest award in 2009 for his work at Ristorante di Mare in Las Vegas. The brothers have been running Bartolotta Restaurants since opening Ristorante Bartolotta (7616 W. State St.) in 1993.

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge (1579 S. 9th St.) has been named a semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program. The tavern was also named a semifinalist for the same category in 2013.

Final nominees will be announced on March 27, and the James Beard Awards Gala will be held on May 6 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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