A Ballard restaurant is in the running for "Best New Restaurant" from the prestigious James Beard Foundation.
Sawyer, the eclectic bistro in Ballard known for its playful spins on comfort and lowbrow food such as jojo potatoes and oxtail nachos, is in the running for a James Beard Award for “Best New Restaurant” in the United States, one of the highest culinary honors.
“I’m blown away — very excited, very humbled,” said chef Mitch Mayers. “You hope it would happen but you don’t think it would happen. It’s very cool to be nominated.”
The surprise nomination is Mayers’ first, and it comes a year after another Seattle restaurant, JuneBaby, was also nominated. That Edouardo Jordan restaurant went on to win “Best New Restaurant” in the U.S.
Overall, there were few surprises as the usual suspects were named semifinalists.
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Canlis, which won for best wine program two years ago, is up for best service, and its chef Brady Williams is in the running for best chef in the Northwest. Renee Erickson was nominated for “Outstanding Chef” and Ethan Stowell was for “Outstanding Restaurateur.” Both also made the list last year.
L’Oursin, which runs respected cocktail-and-wine programs, was nominated for “Outstanding Wine Program,” while No Anchor in Belltown nabbed a “Best Bar” nomination. No Anchor comes from the same team that stunned the bar world by winning “Best New Cocktail Bar” in America for its tiki-inspired bar Navy Strength at the prestigious “Tales of the Cocktail” last summer.
There are seven semifinalists outside of Seattle, including Jay Blackinton of Aelder/Hogstone’s Wood Oven on Orcas Island, who is in the running for “Rising Star Chef of the Year” and Junko Mine of Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, who is up for “Outstanding Pastry Chef.” That acclaimed Eastside restaurant from chef Holly Smith was also nominated for “Outstanding Restaurant.”
The list of local semifinalists is below. For the complete list of semifinalists, check here.
Winners will be announced May 6 in Chicago.
Best New Restaurant
Kit Schumann and Jesse Schumann, Sea Wolf Bakers, Seattle
Outstanding Bar Program
No Anchor, Seattle
Renee Erickson, Bateau, Seattle
Shiro Kashiba, Sushi Kashiba, Seattle
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Junko Mine, Cafe Juanita, Kirkland
Ethan Stowell, Seattle
Cafe Juanita, Kirkland
Outstanding Wine Program
Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer
Dave Green, Skagit Valley Malting, Burlington
Mike Sauer, Red Willow Vineyard, Wapato, Yakima County
Mhairi Voelsgen, broVo Spirits, Woodinville
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Jay Blackinton, Aelder/Hogstone’s Wood Oven, Orcas Island
Shota Nakajima, Adana, Seattle
Best Chef: Northwest
Logan Cox, Homer, Seattle
Eric Donnelly, RockCreek, Seattle
Eric Johnson, Stateside, Seattle
Taichi Kitamura, Sushi Kappo Tamura, Seattle
Colin Patterson, Mana Restaurant, Leavenworth, Chelan County
Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi, Seattle
Brady Williams, Canlis, Seattle
Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle