Part of that celebration includes an editorial series in which we profile nominees for Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, Bar of the Year, and Best Breakfast. Check out our page with all the nominees, all of which have been voted on by a panel of judges consisting of former CultureMap Tastemaker Award winners and local F&B experts.
The category we celebrate today is Best New Restaurant, a bracket-style competition and the only category in which everyone gets to cast a vote, beginning with eight nominees until ensuing rounds cull it down to two finalists.
Who will win? Find out at the Tastemaker Awards party on May 10 at 4 Eleven, at 411 S. Main St., emceed by comedian CJ Starr, where attendees get to dine on bites from nominated restaurants and find out who the winners are in all the categories. (Tickets are on sale here.)
To vote, click here. Don't delay — the first round ends on April 29.
Here are the eight nominees for 2022 Best New Restaurant of the Year:
Dusty Biscuit Beignets
Creative concept does biscuits and beignets such as the Bourbon Street with bourbon-maple glaze, candied bacon, and pecans; and Dusty Cristo sliders, a beignet version of a Monte Cristo sandwich. Owner Trey Smith rotates in wildly creative specials such as beignets with a sweet and tart raspberry glaze and a dusting of rainbow Nerds. In addition to the shop, he also has a stand at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium, serving beignets during football games.
Chef Tim Love takes on Tex-Mex in his latest restaurant, located at the buzzy Mule Alley in the Stockyards District. The menu ranges from classics such as queso and nachos to Love's high-end spins on enchiladas such as prime beef and cheddar, topped with chili con carne, and fajitas made with venison. Always on trend, Love also tackles birria tacos but in Love fashion (and at fine-dining prices), with goat and Muscovy duck.
Latest restaurant from chef Ben Merritt (Fixture, Ben's Triple B) is a step up from those more casual places, with steaks on the menu and decor that includes chandeliers. In addition to steak and roasted half chicken, the menu has a fair amount of seafood including oysters, fried catfish, and lobster corndogs, plus pastas, and a mac & cheese you can get with choice of lobster, bacon, or crawfish.
Good-time place combines restaurant with pickleball, the trendy, fun-and-easy paddle sport that's lately become a buzz. Beyond the games is a pretty big restaurant operation: 7,500-plus square feet of indoor dining and 23,500-plus square feet of outdoor dining, with a menu of poke bowls, Nashville-style hot chicken sandwiches, chimichurri steak & fries, and a big bar serving pretty cocktails, wine, and craft beer.
Jellico's at Westin Southlake
Restaurant at the Westin Southlake Hotel serves Southern with a modern flair: butternut squash ravioli, shrimp & grits, a fried chicken sandwich, and a veggie burger made with an intriguing mix of farro, dates, and sweet potato. It's open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch which has its own menu with blueberry cobbler pancakes and "chicken & doughnuts" with fried chicken and a glazed cake donut. An adjoining lounge-style bar is called The Curve Lounge.
Exceptional vegan pizzeria is from husband-and-wife Landon and Jennifer Cabarubio, who previously ran a vinyl record store but wanted to expand Fort Worth's vegan restaurant scene. They started out as a pop-up, before moving to a full-menu brick-and-mortar at 5716 Locke Ave. Their pizzas aren't just clever vegan versions featuring their own mozzarella made in house, with intriguing varieties such as the Kimchi — with kimchi and gochujang "beef." They're just great pizzas with beautifully billowy crusts.
Vegan burger spot is from Erin Hahn and Zachary Stacy, who started out with a food truck in 2019 before graduating to this permanent location in the River East neighborhood of Fort Worth. It's a vegan, counter-service restaurant, selling burgers, sandwiches, and fries. They have more than one vegan burger option, and they make their own vegan burgers from scratch. They do wonderful beer-battered mushrooms and a mean fried tofu, with a crunchy fried-chicken-style crust.
Taco chain from California is known for a unique kind of crispy taco: Their signature item is the Original Ground Beef Taco, with seasoned ground beef, American cheese, and lettuce, encased in a crispy, grilled stone-ground corn shell, and dusted with parmesan cheese. They roll their own taquitos, which you can order solo or in a kooky item called the taquito burrito, where the taquitos are placed inside a burrito with rice, beans, and choice of protein.