ZAGAT's 26 Hottest Food Cities of 2016
It was an incredible year for dining across the U.S. in 2016. With chefs from NY, Chicago and SF moving to smaller markets like Denver, Charlotte, Seattle and Charleston (among others), culinary innovation is booming in cities big and small. But which food town had the biggest growth spurt this year? For one final look back, we've asked editors around the country to make a case for the city they believe had the biggest year in food by assessing the number of exciting new openings, award recognition and national media attention. Then we let some of the top food media brass weigh in on which locales were most exciting.
|Photo: Marvin Shaouni|
The Motor City has gone through a lot of, shall we say, changes over the last few decades. Celebrity chef and James Beard award-winner Michael Symon is often credited with kick-starting the city's food revival when he opened Roast in 2008. Now, Roast alums have opened some of the city’s hottest and most critically acclaimed spots, like Selden Standard, which this year garnered chef Andy Hollyday his second James Beard award nomination. Nick Janutol, who cut his teeth at top-rated restaurants like Eleven Madison Park in New York and Ria in Chicago, also picked up a James Beard nom this year for his work at Forest Grill. And Top Chef contestant James Rigato, of Hazel Park's year-old Mabel Gray, also received a James Beard award nomination, and won acclaim from Eater's Bill Addison with a spot on his Best New Restaurants in America list. Adorable new pastry shop Sister Pie got some love from both Eater and Bon Appetit, earning a nomination for their best new restaurant lists. Other big openings in 2016 include ultrahip Thai spot Katoi from chef Brad Greenhill; Grey Ghost Detroit, which was opened by two well-known Chicago chefs (yes, chefs are leaving other cities to come to Detroit now!); and Chinese-American restaurant The Peterboro, opened by the owners of much-loved Motown spots Wright & Co. and Sugar House. And there's more in store: Twice-nominated James Beard Rising Star of the Year Garrett Lipar's new tasting table spot Albena and Townhouse owner Jeremy Sasson's new modern steakhouse Prime + Proper are two of the city's most anticipated restaurants for 2017. Standbys also got their due: Classic Lebanese spot Al Ameer became the first Michigan restaurant to win the JBF America's Classic award this year.
Meanwhile, Detroit's influence elsewhere continues to grow with the rise of Detroit-style pizza in NYC (Emmy Squared, Talde's new Massoni) as well as expats the Sussman brothers opening two Detroit-inspired concepts in Brooklyn, including a short-lived homage to the hometown icon, the Coney Island diner. Will we see more NYC chefs expanding to Detroit? You betcha. It was also announced this year that NYC Italian chef Andrew Carmellini would be in charge of the food at the upcoming Shinola Hotel in Detroit, opening in 2018.
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