Austin’s finest restaurant and chef revealed at 2022 Tastemaker Awards

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Every single year, we have the honor of celebrating Austin’s dynamic culinary scene at our yearly CultureMap Tastemaker Awards.

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Throughout the spring, we have released you to our proficient team of 2022 nominees, who have been chosen by business experts and previous winners, and who represent the finest of the city’s cafe and bar offerings proper now. Immediately after weeks of anticipation (and a heated Finest New Restaurant event), it is time to unveil this year’s winners.

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On April 28, we collected with nominees, business gurus, and the Austin group for the 2022 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards at Honest Sector. Friends savored specialty bites from participating nominees, sipped an array of delightful drinks, and then tuned in for the coveted awards ceremony wherever Alamo Drafthouse legend Tim League uncovered this year’s winners.

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Be part of us in elevating a toast to the 2022 CultureMap Austin Tastemaker Awards winners. Meet them under.

Restaurant of the Year: Cuantos Tacos
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There are several issues Austinites cherish a lot more than a straightforward, delicious taco — and this eye-catching yellow food stuff truck parked on the east side is certainly delivering the goods. With a mouthwatering menu of Mexico City-style avenue tacos, Cuantos Tacos does not hold back again when it will come to exacting seasoning, meaty substances, and traditional Mexican flavors. Well-known favorites like barbacoa, brisket, and carnitas tacos are will have to-haves, but a lot of a regional taco connoisseur has discovered by themselves seduced by Cuantos Tacos’ potentially unfamiliar nevertheless tantalizing tacos that includes delicacies like pork tummy (buche), Mexican chorizo (longaniza), and beef cheek (cachete), and rightfully so. Every dish on this small but delightful menu is really worth devouring.

Chef of the 12 months: Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria
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If there’s been 1 chef’s title on Austinites’ lips for the earlier couple yrs, it is surely Edgar Rico. With the opening of his vital east facet taqueria, Nixta, in 2019, the Culinary Institute of America-properly trained chef introduced this taco-obsessed city to the historic corn-tortilla-creating procedure of nixtamalization (which has given that grow to be all the rage at many a Capital Metropolis taco residence) and produced an rapid splash in a metropolis that was by now household to dozens of taquerias. He says Nixta is the end result of what food usually means to him: “imaginative creations that are steeped in system, historical past, custom, and finesse.” All those finessed creations have not gone unnoticed by Austin taco fans or extolled culinary institutions, like the James Beard Foundation, which not too long ago named Rico a James Beard Award finalist in the Emerging Chef class. 

Bar of the Calendar year: Tiki Tatsu-Ya
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If the island daily life is your jam and you embrace the life’s-a-beach mentality, there’s no will need to swim in opposition to the tide, as Austin is property to what we’ll deem the best tiki bar this facet of Polynesia. But what else would you expect from the innovative culinary pros guiding the universally beloved Tatsu-Ya cafe group? Delight in some rum-ahead concoctions, or dive appropriate on in to the kitschy tiki cocktails, like the Slurping Bastard — served in a superb chalice that bears a hanging resemblance to any Ramen Tatsu-Ya purchaser in mid ramen slurp — or the Stranded on Saturn gin cocktail, the Cobra Kai, or the banana-forward Forbidden Grog. Or make the entire desk satisfied with a Banzai Boat of shooters.

Increasing Star Chef of the Calendar year: Amanda Turner, Olamaie
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If you’ve dined out in this city in the past decade or so, you’ve very likely experienced the satisfaction of devouring any quantity of chef Amanda Turner’s exquisite dishes. A maestro of a selection of cuisines, from Italian, modern-day American, and even Japanese (she interned at places to eat in Japan for various months), Turner reduce her tooth at celebrated Austin institutions like Juniper, Odd Duck, Uchi and Uchiko, and Jester King. But it is her placement as chef de cuisine at lauded eatery Olamaie that has catapulted her into a new culinary realm. She was even not long ago named a James Beard Award semifinalist in the Rising Chef category for her function at Olamaie. With the restaurant’s seasonal menu of gorgeously introduced New American fare, Turner is in her culinary ingredient — and will no question proceed to accumulate extra accolades — and Austin diners get to experience the mouth watering benefits.

Pastry Chef of the Yr: Susana Querejazu, Lutie’s
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One particular of Eater’s previous Youthful Guns, Susana Querejazu has absolutely shot ahead among the ranks of pastry chefs in Austin. The executive pastry chef at the Commodore Perry Estate and its back garden cafe, Lutie’s, has contributed to some of the city’s most influential dining establishments: Enoteca Vespaio and Vespaio Ristorante, Uchi and Uchiko, Odd Duck and Barley Swine. Querejazu remaining Austin in 2017 on a transient hiatus with her husband, government chef Bradley Nicholson, to branch out creatively in the kitchen. As Nicholson adjusted positions, so much too did the multitalented Querejazu, who worked as an assistant sommelier and pastry sous chef (like some time at Michelin-starred cafe Saison in San Francisco). No issue the place she is, Querejazu is an authority on the excellent lamination of croissants, and she loves making use of that expertise to excellent leads to by organizing charity bake gross sales.

Bartender of the Calendar year: Cory Starr, Tiki Tatsu-Ya
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When Tiki Tatsu-Ya arrived in Austin past Oct, this concept park of a bar developed its individual specialized niche. Our Bar of the Calendar year winner in its very first 12 months, it hardly ever misses an chance to dazzle in the campiest way achievable. Beverage supervisor Cory Starr dove straight into that excessive with 200 bottles of rum, documented the Austin Chronicle. Tackling possibly the most broadly recognized (and major handed) style in mixology, Starr’s solid feeling of tiki whimsy is well balanced by impeccable recipe-building abilities honed more than 5 a long time in Hualalai.

Very best New Cafe: Wax Myrtle’s
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Wax Myrtle’s, the new indoor-outdoor cafe and bar at Austin’s Thompson Resort home, offers all the things a summer months pool lounger demands: included cabanas, an oversized fireplace, regular programming, a menu of modern day American delicacies, and a lot of curated cocktails. The Wax Myrtle’s menu incorporates great pool treats (we’re seeking at you, charred octopus skewer), as nicely as heartier fare like burgers, pork chops, and beef ribs. And with an extensive menu of cocktails, beer, and wine, Wax Myrtle’s provides everything you will need to whilst away an afternoon by the pool. 

Community Restaurant of the Yr: Greater 50 % Espresso & Cocktails
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Parked squarely amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin, this West Fifth Street scorching spot could have easily faded into its noisy environment and come to be just an additional flash in the pan. Luckily, for neighborhood locals who recognize each a lively early morning food and a lip-smacking night burger with a side of pastrami-loaded queso and a several rigid cocktails, this all-working day cafe is listed here to stay. This neighborhood joint recently up-to-date its menu, rolling out tempting new dishes like crispy pork stomach with refried black-eyed peas, and shrimp and crab-finger orzotto, a need to-have risotto-fashion plate. Of program, we won’t fault you if you decide for the typical jalapeño-honey-butter-drenched hen biscuit.

Wine System of the Year: Birdie’s
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This new East Austin cafe and purely natural wine bar has had locals buzzing because it opened in the summer time of 2021, many thanks in portion to its extraordinary wine record, which consists of a blend of classics and new producers with an emphasis on “mindful farming and minimal intervention in the cellar.” Built to evolve with chef Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel’s European-motivated food items menu, the wine checklist runs the gamut from sparkling wines and Champagnes to an array of whites, oranges, rosés, and tons of luscious reds. This family members-operate neighborhood location also serves up an abundance of off-list wine gems showcasing hard-to-find bottles, so be positive to have interaction the enlightened employees about the several available decisions.

Brewery of the Year: In the meantime Brewing Co.
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This neighborhood-oriented South Austin brewery and taproom debuted in the Money City in late 2020, and even with obtaining its roots in the Portland beer realm, Meanwhile has entrenched by itself in the Austin scene, getting to be a go-to spot for locals trying to get a environment-course beer to swig among the a sweeping outside place that includes a phase and events location, a soccer field, and a lot of shady places to kick back again with a few pals and a pint. In fact, the Meanwhile taproom capabilities a assortment of 20 rotating beers, wines, and reduced-evidence cocktails, so there is constantly the likelihood to look at out a new favourite. Meanwhile’s coffee and bites from quite a few onsite foodstuff vehicles include to the allure. Truthful warning: It’s extraordinarily easy to when away an afternoon below, so terminate your night ideas and remain awhile.

Very best Vegan Restaurant: Counter Lifestyle
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A person of Austin’s most talked-about vegan restaurants acquired its name above a lot more than a decade in business enterprise, starting as a foodstuff truck and settling in its legendary retro turquoise haven curated by owner and DJ Sue Purr. Counter Lifestyle employs make from regional farmers and inspires lots of grateful raving about vegetarians’ and vegans’ location in barbecue, thanks to their jackfruit offerings. The cashew cheesecakes also draw in equally practiced vegans and omnivores looking at slicing back again. There is a extended consume list of smoothies, juices, beers, and wines, generating Counter Lifestyle a good put to commit an total afternoon.

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Chantal Rice and Brianna Caleri contributed to this story.

Trisha Anderson

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