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 New Orleans.
Click through for the full rundown of winners across the country on Eater National.
Eater Awards 2012
Restaurant of the Year
Nominees: Coquette, Domenica, Herbsaint, Cochon, Restaurant August
Finalists: Domenica, Cochon, Restaurant August
Chef of the Year:
Nominees: Susan Spicer, Phillip Lopez, Justin Devillier, Michael Stoltzfus, Michael Doyle
Finalists: Phillip Lopez, Justin Devillier, Michael Doyle
Winner: Phillip Lopez (Root)
So Hot Right Now
Nominees: Root, Maurepas Foods, Restaurant R'evolution, SoBou, Borgne
Finalists: Root, Maurepas Foods, Borgne
Bartender of the Year
Nominees: Kirk Estopinal (Cure), Jason Lee (Domenica) , Rhiannon Enlil (Cure, Erin Rose), T. Cole Newton (12 Mile Limit), Brad Smith (Maurepas Foods)
Finalists: Kirk Estopinal, Jason Lee, Brad Smith
Winner: Brad Smith (Maurepas Food)
Stone Cold Stunner
Nominees: Restaurant R'evolution, Merchant, SoBou, Root, Bellocq
Finalists: Restaurant R'evolution, Merchant, Root
Empire Builder of the Year
Winner: Neal Bodenheimer with Kirk Estopinal, Matt Kohnke, Nick Dietrich(Cure, Bellocq, Perestroika at Pravda)