The annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards program came to Fort Worth for the very first time, with a brand-new event to honor the city’s talented and hard-working culinary stars.
The winners were crowned at an awards ceremony and signature tasting event on Tuesday, May 10 at the 4 Eleven venue on South Main, emceed by comedian CJ Starr.
For weeks leading up to the event, we published a special editorial series that highlighted nominees in five categories. A panel of expert judges helped select all of the winners, except for Best New Restaurant. That was determined by you, our readers, in a bracket-style tournament.
Now, without further delay, let's raise a glass to the 2022 Fort Worth Tastemaker Award winners:
Best New Restaurant: Dusty Biscuit Beignets
The 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 of the Year: Jenny Castor, Luckybee Kitchen
With a BA from TCU in Education and Art, Castor also graduated with honors in both the Savory and Pastry Arts from The Culinary School of Fort Worth, where she went on to become a Chef Instructor. Her seasonal cooking and eclectic menus have earned her recognition, not only as a boutique food truck owner and caterer, but also as a chef with a passion for flavor, beautiful presentation, and obsession for detail.
Restaurant of the Year: Belenty's Love Vegan Mexican Restaurant
This small but growing local chain does a vegan spin on Mexican food. Founder Belén Hernández is is a skilled chef who previously owned two taquerias and transformed her recipes into vegan versions of burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and tacos, plus a few American items such as vegan burgers and cauliflower wings. Even the milk and cheese is plant-based. She now has three locations including Fort Worth, the original in Granbury, and a new location in Keene.
Bar of the Year: The Lobby Bar at Hotel Dryce
This new hangout opened in 2021 inside the Hotel Dryce, a former dry ice factory that's been transformed into a hotel in the Cultural District by Fort Worth entrepreneur Jonathan Morris, successful businessman and host/star of Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia show Self-Employed. It emerged as one of the most popular hangouts during the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. Steps away from Dickies Arena, it has a modern Western theme that includes photos of cowboys, potted cacti, and a pleasant string-lit courtyard — a great place to sip your craft cocktail on weekend nights.
Best Breakfast: Ol' South Pancake House
Before breakfast was a trend, Ol' South was serving it 24 hours a day, at the ready with strong coffee for the morning crowd and just as welcoming late at night for post-party nosh. Founded in 1962, it's been an institution, thanks to its lengthy menu, super-cheap prices, accessible location off I-30, and proximity to TCU for that built-in college crowd. German pancakes are their signature plus home-cooking dishes such as biscuits and CFS.
Read a full recap of the event here.