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11 Houston-Area Restaurants, Chefs Selected As Semifinalists For 2019 James Beard Awards

Texas received a total of 27 nominations.


Eric Sauseda for H Town Restaurant Group
All four Houston James Beard winners of Best Chef: Southwest. From left to right: Chris Shepherd (2014), Hugo Ortega (2017), Justin Yu (2016) and Robert Del Grande (1992).

Adding to its list of culinary accolades, the greater Houston area has received a total of 11 semifinalist nominations for the 2019 James Beard Chef and Restaurant Awards.

Among the semifinalists are long-time locale The Original Ninfa's on Navigation, which is up against 19 national restaurants for Outstanding Restaurant, and Indigo Chef Jonny Rhodes, who is in the running against 22 chefs for Rising Star Chef of the Year.

Across the state, Texas received 27 nominations in five cities: Houston, Austin, Dallas, Lubbock, San Antonio and Pearland. The awards are often referred to as the "Oscars of the food world," covering categories such as Best New Restaurant and Outstanding Chef.

This year Houston will also play an additional role in the awards — it was selected to host the announcement of the award finalists on March 27. The winners will be announced in Chicago on May 6.

Here are the Houston semifinalists:

Outstanding Bar Program: Anvil Bar & Refuge

Outstanding Chef: Chris Shepherd, Georgia James

Outstanding Restaurant: The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

Outstanding Restaurateur: Tracy Vaught, H Town Restaurant Group (Hugo's, Caracol, Xochi, among others)

Outstanding Service: Hugo's

Outstanding Service: Tony's

Outstanding Wine Program: Pappas Bros. Steakhouse at the Galleria

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Jonathan "Jonny" Rhodes, Restaurant Indigo

Best Chef Southwest: Kaiser Lashkari, Himalaya

Best Chef Southwest: Trong Nguyen, Crawfish & Noodles

Best Chef Southwest: Ronnie Killen, Killen's Steakhouse

View the full list of nominations, here.