May 26, 2022

Austin’s greatest restaurant and chef unveiled at 2022 Tastemaker Awards

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Each and every 12 months, we have the honor of celebrating Austin’s dynamic culinary scene at our once-a-year CultureMap Tastemaker Awards.

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In the course of the spring, we have released you to our gifted group of 2022 nominees, who ended up selected by sector gurus and previous winners, and who symbolize the greatest of the city’s restaurant and bar choices right now. Following months of anticipation (and a heated Most effective New Restaurant event), it really is time to unveil this year’s winners.

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On April 28, we collected with nominees, business authorities, and the Austin community for the 2022 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards at Reasonable Marketplace. Friends savored specialty bites from taking part nominees, sipped an array of delightful drinks, and then tuned in for the coveted awards ceremony where Alamo Drafthouse legend Tim League disclosed this year’s winners.

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Join us in elevating a toast to the 2022 CultureMap Austin Tastemaker Awards winners. Meet them below.

Restaurant of the Yr: Cuantos Tacos
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There are couple factors Austinites cherish more than a uncomplicated, scrumptious taco — and this eye-catching yellow foodstuff truck parked on the east facet is certainly offering the goods. With a mouthwatering menu of Mexico City-style street tacos, Cuantos Tacos doesn’t hold back when it comes to exacting seasoning, meaty components, and traditional Mexican flavors. Common favorites like barbacoa, brisket, and carnitas tacos are ought to-haves, but lots of a area taco connoisseur has found themselves seduced by Cuantos Tacos’ probably unfamiliar still tantalizing tacos showcasing delicacies like pork belly (buche), Mexican chorizo (longaniza), and beef cheek (cachete), and rightfully so. Each dish on this compact but delightful menu is truly worth devouring.

Chef of the Year: Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria
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If there is been one particular chef’s identify on Austinites’ lips for the past pair many years, it is certainly Edgar Rico. With the opening of his important east side taqueria, Nixta, in 2019, the Culinary Institute of The us-educated chef introduced this taco-obsessed town to the ancient corn-tortilla-producing system of nixtamalization (which has given that grow to be all the rage at quite a few a Money City taco dwelling) and produced an immediate splash in a town that was now dwelling to dozens of taquerias. He suggests Nixta is the fruits of what food signifies to him: “imaginative creations that are steeped in strategy, historical past, custom, and finesse.” Individuals finessed creations have not long gone unnoticed by Austin taco fans or extolled culinary establishments, including the James Beard Foundation, which not too long ago named Rico a James Beard Award finalist in the Emerging Chef group. 

Bar of the Calendar year: Tiki Tatsu-Ya
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If the island everyday living is your jam and you embrace the life’s-a-seashore mentality, there is no have to have to swim from the tide, as Austin is residence to what we’ll deem the finest tiki bar this side of Polynesia. But what else would you anticipate from the innovative culinary pros behind the universally beloved Tatsu-Ya cafe team? Delight in some rum-ahead concoctions, or dive right on in to the kitschy tiki cocktails, like the Slurping Bastard — served in a superb chalice that bears a putting resemblance to any Ramen Tatsu-Ya consumer in mid ramen slurp — or the Stranded on Saturn gin cocktail, the Cobra Kai, or the banana-forward Forbidden Grog. Or make the entire desk happy with a Banzai Boat of shooters.

Increasing Star Chef of the Year: Amanda Turner, Olamaie
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If you’ve dined out in this city in the past decade or so, you’ve probably had the satisfaction of devouring any number of chef Amanda Turner’s beautiful dishes. A maestro of a variety of cuisines, from Italian, contemporary American, and even Japanese (she interned at places to eat in Japan for numerous months), Turner reduce her teeth at celebrated Austin establishments like Juniper, Odd Duck, Uchi and Uchiko, and Jester King. But it is her place as chef de delicacies at lauded eatery Olamaie that has catapulted her into a new culinary realm. She was even a short while ago named a James Beard Award semifinalist in the Emerging Chef category for her get the job done at Olamaie. With the restaurant’s seasonal menu of gorgeously presented New American fare, Turner is in her culinary aspect — and will no doubt continue to accumulate additional accolades — and Austin diners get to enjoy the tasty rewards.

Pastry Chef of the Year: Susana Querejazu, Lutie’s
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A single of Eater’s previous Younger Guns, Susana Querejazu has undoubtedly shot forward between the ranks of pastry chefs in Austin. The govt pastry chef at the Commodore Perry Estate and its yard cafe, Lutie’s, has contributed to some of the city’s most influential dining establishments: Enoteca Vespaio and Vespaio Ristorante, Uchi and Uchiko, Odd Duck and Barley Swine. Querejazu still left Austin in 2017 on a transient hiatus with her spouse, govt chef Bradley Nicholson, to department out creatively in the kitchen. As Nicholson transformed careers, so also did the multitalented Querejazu, who labored as an assistant sommelier and pastry sous chef (which includes some time at Michelin-starred restaurant Saison in San Francisco). No make a difference where by she is, Querejazu is an authority on the best lamination of croissants, and she loves applying that expertise to fantastic leads to by organizing charity bake income.

Bartender of the Year: Cory Starr, Tiki Tatsu-Ya
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When Tiki Tatsu-Ya arrived in Austin previous October, this topic park of a bar developed its personal niche. Our Bar of the 12 months winner in its very first calendar year, it by no means misses an option to dazzle in the campiest way probable. Beverage supervisor Cory Starr dove straight into that excess with 200 bottles of rum, claimed the Austin Chronicle. Tackling most likely the most greatly regarded (and large handed) genre in mixology, Starr’s powerful feeling of tiki whimsy is balanced by impeccable recipe-creating expertise honed about five yrs in Hualalai.

Ideal New Restaurant: Wax Myrtle’s
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Wax Myrtle’s, the new indoor-outside restaurant and bar at Austin’s Thompson Resort assets, provides all the things a summer months pool lounger demands: coated cabanas, an oversized hearth, regular monthly programming, a menu of contemporary American cuisine, and loads of curated cocktails. The Wax Myrtle’s menu consists of great pool snacks (we’re wanting at you, charred octopus skewer), as nicely as heartier fare like burgers, pork chops, and beef ribs. And with an comprehensive menu of cocktails, beer, and wine, Wax Myrtle’s provides all the things you have to have to while away an afternoon by the pool. 

Neighborhood Restaurant of the 12 months: Better 50 % Espresso & Cocktails
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Parked squarely amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin, this West Fifth Avenue scorching place could have easily pale into its noisy surroundings and turn into just an additional flash in the pan. Thankfully, for community locals who recognize each a energetic early morning meal and a lip-smacking night burger with a facet of pastrami-loaded queso and a couple of stiff cocktails, this all-working day cafe is below to continue to be. This community joint a short while ago current its menu, rolling out tempting new dishes like crispy pork stomach with refried black-eyed peas, and shrimp and crab-finger orzotto, a should-have risotto-style plate. Of program, we will not fault you if you opt for the vintage jalapeño-honey-butter-drenched rooster biscuit.

Wine Method of the Yr: Birdie’s
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This new East Austin cafe and organic wine bar has experienced locals buzzing due to the fact it opened in the summer months of 2021, many thanks in portion to its outstanding wine checklist, which incorporates a mix of classics and new producers with an emphasis on “mindful farming and nominal intervention in the cellar.” Designed to evolve with chef Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel’s European-impressed food menu, the wine record operates the gamut from sparkling wines and Champagnes to an array of whites, oranges, rosés, and tons of luscious reds. This household-operate neighborhood spot also serves up an abundance of off-list wine gems featuring challenging-to-come across bottles, so be positive to have interaction the enlightened personnel about the a lot of out there choices.

Brewery of the 12 months: In the meantime Brewing Co.
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This group-oriented South Austin brewery and taproom debuted in the Money Town in late 2020, and inspite of getting its roots in the Portland beer realm, Meanwhile has entrenched itself in the Austin scene, turning into a go-to place for locals searching for a planet-class beer to swig among the a sweeping out of doors space that features a stage and events location, a soccer subject, and a lot of shady places to kick back with a several close friends and a pint. Without a doubt, the In the meantime taproom capabilities a variety of 20 rotating beers, wines, and reduced-proof cocktails, so there’s constantly the probability to check out out a new most loved. Meanwhile’s coffee and bites from quite a few onsite foodstuff vans include to the allure. Good warning: It is terribly quick to though away an afternoon here, so terminate your evening programs and stay awhile.

Best Vegan Restaurant: Counter Tradition
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A single of Austin’s most talked-about vegan dining establishments acquired its status over a lot more than a 10 years in organization, setting up as a food items truck and settling in its iconic retro turquoise haven curated by proprietor and DJ Sue Purr. Counter Tradition makes use of develop from nearby farmers and conjures up loads of grateful raving about vegetarians’ and vegans’ location in barbecue, thanks to their jackfruit offerings. The cashew cheesecakes also draw in each practiced vegans and omnivores looking at chopping back. There’s a long drink list of smoothies, juices, beers, and wines, building Counter Culture a fantastic location to invest an complete afternoon.

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Chantal Rice and Brianna Caleri contributed to this tale.