An Indian restaurant is voted the best in America

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(Bloomberg) – Chai Pani, which serves affordable Indian street food in North Carolina, is America’s best restaurant.

The Asheville restaurant was named America’s Most Outstanding Restaurant at the James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago on Monday, topping nominees such as Brennan’s in New Orleans.

It was the first time the honors had been given in two years, after being canceled in 2020 and 2021 so the foundation could remove systemic biases and lockdowns to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus forced the temporary closure many American restaurants.

The prices also come as Americans pay the highest prices for food in four decades amid runaway inflation that threatens the broader economy.

This year’s winners and the list of nominees were more diverse to better reflect the makeup of the United States. There was also more geographic variety, rather than years past where many winners were from New York or Chicago.

The menu of Chai Pani, whose name literally translates to tea and water, features Indian snacks called “chaat” which are known for a blend of spicy, sweet and tangy flavors. Other winners include Owamni Native American Restaurant in Minneapolis, where the staff is 75% indigenous, as Best New Restaurant.

The best baker was Don Guerra of Barrio Bread in Tucson, Arizona, where he uses ancient grains whose seeds are adapted to grow in the desert. Mashama Bailey of The Gray in Savannah, Georgia was named Outstanding Chef.

Dawn Padmore, vice president of awards, said the foundation took a “deep dive” into itself during her hiatus.

“Watching the audience and seeing so many different people, it’s different,” she said. “It’s about reflecting the true diversity of the industry.”

See the full list of winners below.

Outstanding Restaurant: Chai Pani, Asheville, North Carolina

Outstanding Chef: Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah, Georgia

Best New Restaurant: Owamni, Minneapolis

Outstanding Restaurateur: Chris Bianco, Tratto, Pane Bianco and Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix

Emerging Chef: Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria, Austin, Texas

Outstanding Baker: Don Guerra, Barrio Bread, Tucson, Arizona

Best Pastry Chef: Warda Bouguettaya, Warda Patisserie in Detroit

Outstanding Wine Program: The Four Horsemen, New York

Outstanding Barre Program: Julep, Houston

Exceptional Hospitality: Cúrate, Asheville, North Carolina

Top Chefs

Best Chef: California

Brandon’s Jew, Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco

Best Chef: Southwest

Fernando Olea, Sazon, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Best Chef: Midwest

Dave Baldwin, Diplomat, Milwaukee

Best Chef: Mountain

Caroline Glover, Annette, Aurora, Colorado

Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific

Robynne Maii, Party, Honolulu

Best cook: Texas

Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin, TX

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia

Best Chef: New York State

Chintan Pandya, Dhamaka, NY

Best Chef: South

Adam Evans, Automatic Seafood and Oysters, Birmingham, Alabama

Best Chef: Southeast

Ricky Moore, SALTBOX Seafood Joint, Durham, NC

Best Chef: Northeast

Nisachon Morgan, Saap, Randolph, Vermont

Best Chef: Great Lakes

Erick Williams, Virtue Restaurant & Bar, Chicago

(Correct spelling of Asheville in second paragraph and winners list)

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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