It was all the very best food and drink at the 2022 DallasTastemaker Awards, CultureMap's celebration of the top restaurants, bars, and culinary masters, held at the Fashion Industry Gallery in downtown Dallas on Thursday, May 12.
Dozens of nominated chefs and restaurants dished out spectacular tastes in a hedonistic feast for 800 attendees. A portion of the proceeds benefited Harvest Project Food Rescue, which fights food insecurity in Dallas.
Lines formed quickly for small plates and samples from some of Dallas' most popular and influential eateries. Buzzy dishes included "Fig & Pig" Pizza, one of four varieties served by Best New Pizza nominee Mission Pizza; Parisian Gnocchi from Restaurant of the Year nominee and Chef of the Year winner Sloane's Corner; Green Eggs and Jamón from Bar of the Year nominee Apothecary; "B.O.B." brisket-biscuit from Best New Restaurant nominee Loro; and Red Velvet and Coffee Caramel Petit Gâteau from Best Pastry Chef nominee Le Reve.
Best New Restaurant nominee Sueño Modern Tex-Mex had some of the longest lines of the night, and it's no wonder: They not only plated Tostaditas del Mar, but crafted two beautiful cocktails — one featuring serrano-pineapple tequila and the other, bourbon with raspberry-agave reduction and elderflower liqueur. Both Instagrammy drinks were "smoking" with dry ice and topped with delicate pink orchids.
Speaking of Instagrammy, it was impossible not to whip out the phone and shoot a quick vid of the rep from Best New Pizza nominee Pegasus Pizza tossing dough high into the air. (When it got caught in the rafters, he jumped up and retrieved it.)
VIP ticket-holders could arrive early to valet park easily and mingle at a dedicated bar just for them. Beer drinkers made themselves at home in the Beer Garden presented by Deep Ellum Brewing Company and Ellum Ranch Patio Water.
The main bar poured signature cocktails featuring the spirits of sponsors Maestro Dobel Tequila and Stranahan's Rocky Mountain Single Malt Whiskey: The Dobel Ranch Water, Black Diamond Margarita, Stranahan's Fireside Old Fashioned, and Strawberry Fields Mocktail. Guests paced themselves with plenty of Topo Chico.
But this party wasn't just a feeding frenzy; we had some awards to present. Celebrity emcee, comedian CJ Starr, announced winners in 11 categories from restaurants and bars across Dallas. Each time a new category was announced, drummer Kyle Thomas heightened the suspense with a dramatic snare drum roll.
The nominees and winners were selected by judges consisting of past winners, food and beverage industry experts, and CultureMap editors (Brooks Anderson, Matt Balke, Eric Dreyer, Liz Mitchell, Sara Nam, Carol Nguyen, Meaders Ozarow, Anastacia Quinones-Pittman, Corey Thomson, Amanda Albee, Hannah Davis, Tim Lavender, Vy Lu, Amy McCarthy, Marc Ramirez, and Teresa Gubbins) — all except one category, Best New Restaurant, which was selected by readers in a bracket-style competition on our website.
The winners were:
- Rising Star Chef of the Year: Aldo Lugo, Jose
- Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year: Hillside Tavern
- Bar of the Year: Rattlesnake Bar
- Bartender of the Year: Reid Lewis, Atlas
- Wine Program of the Year: Monarch
- Pastry Chef of the Year: Amy La Rue, Carte Blanche
- Brewery of the Year: Vector Brewing
- Best New Pizza: 400 Gradi
- Best New Restaurant: Hawkers Asian Street Food
- Chef of the Year: Ji Kang, Sloane's Corner
- Restaurant of the Year: Meridian
Winners accepted gorgeous glass trophies onstage and posed for pictures; some groups even streamed the presentation live on social media for their fans to watch at home.
Between feasting and celebrating, guests stopped to snap Insta-worthy photos at the photo booths and bought raffle tickets benefiting Harvest Project Food Rescue. Danae Gutierrez gave heartfelt remarks about the mission of the organization.
Spotted in the crowd, having great foodie fun, were Dallas dining VIPS, award nominees, and guests including: Yudith Bustos, Connor Caldwell, Viani Puerto, David Limpede, Robert Kalaj, Jason Fulenchek, Felipe Gutierrez, Clara Gutierrez, Carlos Gonzalez, Salomon Miller, Demitria Lowe, Nikki Morrill, Ashley Michel, Thom Gibbons, Demetra Miller, Michael Bowen, Jared Harms, Emily Harms, Russ Pereira, Dane Patterson, Lauren Bryan, Amber Henter, Greg Brown, Dean Norwood, Audrey Ste-Marie, Amanda Batsakis, Haley Naylor, Jessica Velasco, and Kristen Stansbury.
Hungry to be a part of it all next year? You can read about all the winners here, and we'll see you in 2023. Cheers!