Bar Agricole, El Pípila, and Benu Win 2019 James Beard Awards

The Bay Area didn't do all that spectacularly, but SoMa sure did.

El Pipila’s picadilllo sopes owe everything to those corn masa medallions. Photo by Peter Lawrence Kane

Hosted by actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the James Beard Awards were announced this evening in Chicago, a day after what would have been the chef-author’s 116th birthday.

The Bay Area — or really, the San Francisco Bay Area plus Wine Country — had a number of finalists in the running, including GQ‘s “Best New Restaurant” Angler, Atelier Crenn pastry chef Juan Contreras, and Sorrel’s Alexander Hong (for Rising Chef Star of the Year).

But in the end only three restaurants won, all of which are in SoMa. Among newcomers, La Cocina alum Guadalupe Guerrero’s El Pípila won in Outstanding Restaurant Design Awards, in the subcategory “Other Eating and Drinking Places.” That’s a curious distinction, since the other two subcategories depend on size — strictly speaking, whether a restaurant can accommodate 75 diners or more. But it’s nonetheless notable in that, although the decor honors the textiles of the Mexican state of Guanajuato, the family-run El Pípila is not a splashy kind of place. (In Situ won last year.) S.F. firm Schwartz and Architecture was the project’s designer.

Having been nominated every year since it opened, Bar Agricole finally took home the award for Outstanding Bar Program, while Corey Lee’s Benu won in Outstanding Wine Program. See the full list of 2019 James Beard winners here.

 

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