James Beard may have taken a break this year, but the 2020 culinary awards season isn’t a total bust for the hurting restaurant industry.
Take the Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards, which recognizes more than 3.700 restaurants globally for their wine programs. Twenty-four restaurants in Minnesota made the list this year, despite temporary closures, fast-moving pivots to takeout, and — at first — not even being allowed to sell wine to go.
“This year’s Wine Spectator Restaurant Award program celebrates restaurants’ resilience, dedication and bravery during these unprecedented times,” Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator magazine, said in a statement. “We hope that all of our award winners and the people who make them special will find their way through the crisis to once again welcome us through their doors. We look forward to raising a glass together, and to new beginnings.”
Some of the restaurants on the list are longtime winners going back to the ’90s, such as the St. Paul Grill and Bellisio’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar in Duluth.
New to the list this year are Osteria I Nonni in Lilydale, downtown Minneapolis’ Capital Grille, FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar at the Radisson Blu Mall of America, Pittsburgh Blue in Rochester and Matchstick Restaurant and Spirits at Stillwater’s Hotel Crosby.
More Minneapolis winners include Terzo, Manny’s Steakhouse in Minneapolis, Arezzo Ristorante, Fogo de Chão and the Oceanaire Seafood Room.
There are three categories of awards: the Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants with well-chosen wine lists (17 of the Minnesota restaurants earned this title), the Best of Award of Excellence goes to those with more extensive wine selections (seven in Minnesota), and the Grand Award Winner is bestowed on the world’s best wine programs.
The awards first launched in 1981.
In addition to awarding these honors, Wine Spectator’s scholarship fund donated $250,000 in April to José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen.
View the complete list of Minnesota winners here.