Your best bet for getting in: grab seven friends and make a reservation ASAP.
Seattle’s JuneBaby opened its doors last night for the first time after winning big at the 2018 James Beard Awards, to a line stretching down the block.
On Monday night, chef Edouardo Jordan took home not one, but two James Beard Awards, widely considered the highest honors in the restaurant industry. Early in the evening, he was crowned Best Chef: Northwest; later, his restaurant JuneBaby earned the award for Best New Restaurant in the country, making him the first African-American to win that national category.
A New York Times story about the awards highlighted a historic shift in the makeup of the 2018 award-winners. “This year’s roster of winners reflects the forces pushing the industry away from its history of honoring mostly white, male chefs,” wrote Julia Moskin. “In this year’s culinary categories (excluding service, design, wine and so forth), 11 of 15 awards went to chefs who are women, or people of color, or both.” The awards are voted on by a nationwide committee of industry insiders, who remain anonymous.
Three of the chefs that Jordan name-checked in his speech accepting the Best New Restaurant medal — Nina Compton, Dolester Miles and Rodney Scott — took home their own James Beard awards Monday night. An Eater story, “On Black Excellence at This Year’s James Beard Awards,” noted that “it was indeed a different show than years past.” (That story’s subtitle: “The most exciting thing about the Beards’ historic night is what happens next.”)
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All those waiting outside JuneBaby on Wednesday night got seated when the restaurant opened at 5 p.m. (it is closed Mondays and Tuesdays). “Oh, wow,” said the maître d’ upon seeing the crowd. But the lines are likely to get longer. Like many places nowadays, JuneBaby only takes reservations for a limited number of large parties (8 to 12 people), and Jordan says reservations are already up 20 percent. Best bet for trying JuneBaby’s award-winning Southern food — and maybe getting to shake Jordan’s hand — is to round up a big group and call right away. Or there’s Jordan’s first restaurant, Salare, also in Ravenna just two blocks away: They do take reservations.
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