We're excited to bring back our Tastemaker Awards, honoring the best in local food and drink. With the help of our panel of judges, we're spotlighting the best players in the field, including Bartender of the Year, Bar of the Year and the Best Burgers in town, and we have more categories to come.
But this category, Best New Restaurant, is special: It's the one where you choose the winner.
We have 16 nominees, listed in alphabetical order below, all of which have opened in the past year. We've matched them up, bracket-style; you vote for your favorite from each matchup. The winners advance to the next round. And one final winner emerges.
You can vote once a day for the duration. Round one runs until May 1. Round two spans May 2-5. Round three goes from May 6-8, and the finals take place May 10-13. The winner, and the champions from the other categories, will be announced at our grand tasting event on May 14.
Check out the contenders for Best New Restaurant, then pick the ones that should advance to the next round:
Small Greenville Avenue spot sells kolaches, klobasneks, hot dogs, coffee from Noble Coyote, tea, beer and wine. It also hosts live music performances and free Wi-Fi. Made onsite from a family recipe, the kolaches come in a variety of flavors, some limited-edition based on what's in season, such as pumpkin during the fall. Menu also offers homey dishes such as chicken and dumplings.
Charitable restaurant concept serves as a culinary training facility for disadvantaged youth. But, happily, it's also a place to get a very good meal, with a staff of experienced chefs led by founder Chad Houser. Menu follows the seasons with dishes such as root vegetable salad with watercress, and short rib with polenta and fried onions.
Clark Food & Wine/C'Viche
After a tenure in the corporate world, former Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek chef Randall Warder dives back into the restaurant fray by opening two adjoining concepts side-by-side, in the hottest stretch of Greenville Avenue. Clark Food & Wine is an American restaurant with a modern European sensibility. The menu features shared plates and house-smoked meats. C'Viche is a casual drop-in with several varieties of ceviche and a fabulous bar with sangria, tequila, mojitos, caipirinhas and margaritas.
Dallas Grilled Cheese Company
As the name implies, this place is dedicated to the grilled cheese sandwich, with more than a dozen versions running from the classic with American cheese on white to a gourmet corker with American, cheddar and Gruyere on sourdough. Salads are nicely composed, but don't overlook the trio of soups, including tomato with basil. Located in hip Bishop Arts, DGC is the perfect match of restaurant and neighborhood.
California-based burger and New American restaurant with craft beer. Founded in 2009, Eureka does a slight expansion on the "better burger" trend, with a menu of burgers sporting gourmet toppings, enhanced by other sandwiches, salads and starters.
American tavern in the old Sfuzzi space from club owner Peter Loyd serves gastropub fare. Menu includes chipotle barbecue shrimp on crispy fried grits, short ribs braised in a local ale and served with potato dumplings, and lots of shared dishes — from an assortment of sliders to flatbreads and salads.
Bread Winners' more sophisticated spin-off breaks the jinx in a formerly doomed space at the base of Highland Park. Helmed by chef and Hell's Kitchen alumna Ro DiLeo, the restaurant-bar gives classic dishes a funky, appealing twist such as a burger topped with bone marrow and bacon. Customer amenities include a dog-friendly patio and brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays.
Luscher's Red Hots
Chef Brian Luscher brings a taste of the Windy City to Deep Ellum at this Chicago-style hot dog restaurant. Using his Post Oak Red Hots line of sausages, he offers a variety of sandwiches and dogs in buns that evoke classic Chicago grub, such as the Polish kielbasa with grilled onions, mustard and sport peppers in a poppyseed bun. The menu also includes an Italian beef sandwich, cheeseburger, chili and notable sides such as onion rings and hand-cut fries.
Colorado-based chain does top job of serving good, healthy food at an affordable price. Menu includes salads, sandwiches, excellent pizzas and homestyle entrées of chicken, steak or tofu, with choice of two sides. A number of dishes can be ordered in half-portion size, including the pizzas, which is very practical. There's wine on tap, starting at $2 a glass. Calories are listed on the back of the receipt.
Oso Food & Wine
Oso is the creation of Dallas dining veteran Michael Cox, who fulfills his longtime dream of owning a restaurant. Cozy atmosphere and friendly service make it the ultimate neighborhood spot. Chef Kelly Hightower oversees a menu that includes a fun mezze platter with falafel to share, burgers with house-made fries, or chicken liver fra diavlo on polenta with honey-glazed bacon.
Public School 214
Gastropub from California features a school theme, with scholastic influences on the menu and in the warmly elegant decor. Food includes trendy basics such as ahi tuna tacos and chicken and waffles, done with a chefly flair. Bar has a serious commitment to craft beer with rotating taps featuring brews that are hard to find elsewhere in Dallas.
Ramen hits Addison at this small yet high-energy spot. Although there are five ramen options and two broths, the basic Hakata ramen comes with special sauce, chashu, soft-boiled egg, green onion, black mushroom and bean sprouts. Ramen is supplemented by a few appetizers, including seaweed and squid salad, fried oysters, raw octopus salad, and tsukemono, or traditional Japanese pickles. The beer lineup includes Japanese brews in addition to domestics.
Soda shop concept from owners of HG Sply Co. and chef Danyele McPherson features a menu of comfort food classics — burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, fried bologna — done up chef style. Cocktails and sodas get the same careful treatment by bar manager Mate Hartai.
Initially launched in Fort Worth in 2012, this stab at the burger concept by the Wynne family (Flying Saucer, Meddlesome Moth) comes off nicely, with a long menu of burgers with quirky titles such as the one named for Mayor Mike Rawlings with Irish cheddar. The classic remains the "Caca Oaxaca," a beef and chorizo burger with avocado, pico de gallo, queso fresco, Tabasco mayo and a fried egg. This being the Wynne family, there is of course a firm commitment to craft beer.
Chef Misti Norris is putting some of the things she learned at FT33 to good use at this Oak Cliff brewpub, where she's curing and pickling up a storm. Recent offerings have included house-made pasta with mustard greens and chicken feet from Windy Meadows farms with sweet potato and collards. The pub also makes beer in small batches, from IPAs to exotic brews such as black pepper pilsner.
VH stands for owner Victor Hugo, previously general manager at Bistro 31 in Highland Park Village and manager of Al Biernat's. In the kitchen is chef Eric Brandt, formerly of Lombardi Concepts and the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. VH's menu is described as American, with prices starting at $7 for an appetizer of bean dip with chips, and maxing out at $24 for a filet mignon with mashed Yukon potatoes and Broccolini.
Buy tickets now to the Tastemaker Awards on May 14.