Anticipation is starting to build for the 2021 rendition of CultureMap's Tastemaker Awards, our annual celebration of the best in Dallas-Fort Worth food and drink. Can you feel it, oh yes you can.
The two-part event begins with our editorial series, where we spotlight nominees in categories such as best restaurants and best bars. The winners are determined by a panel of judges consisting of former CultureMap Tastemaker Award winners and local F&B experts.
But the category of Best New Restaurant is decided by you, via a bracket-style competition where eight new restaurants go head to head.
In this bracket, you can vote once a day for your favorite. The voting goes three rounds, culling down to two finalists.
Who will win? Find out at the Tastemaker Awards party on August 19 at Fashion Industry Gallery, where we’ll dine on bites from nominated restaurants while emcee CJ Starr reveals the winners. Buy tickets here.
To vote, click here. Don't delay: The first bracket ends on August 7.
Here are the nominees for Fort Worth's Best New Restaurant for 2021:
Caterer-turned-cafe serves healthy Southern comfort food, including their famous smoked chicken salad, served most frequently on a puffy croissant. Specials include their chicken fried chicken plate, with mashed potatoes, cream gravy, green beans, and a roll, for $9. Their goal is to be not just another restaurant: They also want to give back to the community and be a place where people can learn skills.
DeLucca Gaucho Pizza
Novel concept is like a marriage between a pizzeria and a churrascaria, with servers circulating the dining room not with meats but slices of pizza, with a choice of up to 20 flavors. Husband-and-wife owners Evandro Caregnato and Vanderleia Mallmann are natives of Brazil who worked for the Texas de Brazil chain. They debuted the concept in Southlake in 2018, followed by this location in Fort Worth's Tanglewood neighborhood.
Italian restaurant at Harper Fort Worth hotel is committed to authenticity, even down to a glass-walled pasta room where pasta is made by hand. They also offer hands-on classes to teach their techniques. Menu features pastas, salads, appetizers like clams with sourdough bread, and big dishes to share at the table such as whole sea bass and a 22-ounce rib eye with bone marrow butter.
Latin-inspired cocktail, seafood, and caviar bar does a unique and fun take on Mexican and South American culture and cuisine. It's the first joint venture for local couple Victor and Misty Villarreal; Victor, who recently had a pizza concept called Abe's Kitchen and has worked at restaurants such as Grace and Clay Pigeon, is handling the food, while Misty oversees the drinks.
Maria's Mexican Kitchen
Latest restaurant from chef Felipe Armenta is inspired by his late mother. It combines authentic family recipes passed down over many generations with a vibrant blend of exciting and unique twists in dishes including fajitas, traditional Mexican dishes, and salads. An extensive bar features margaritas, draft beers, and tequila.
97 West Kitchen & Bar
Restaurant located at the Hotel Drover in the Fort Worth Stockyards' buzzy Mule Alley District features a broad offering of contemporary Texas fare and reimagined Southern comfort foods. The beverage program is "brown spirits forward" and favors local distillers, an all-American wine list, and beer taps featuring domestic and local brews.
Eatery in the Fort Worth Stockyards' Mule Alley complex is from chef Marcus Paslay (Clay Pigeon, Piattello Italian Kitchen). The menu is high-end American comfort food — think smoked beef rib with Texas caviar — with steaks, chicken-fried steak, oysters, plus sides such as crispy okra, braised greens, and cheddar-cheese grits. Cool space has a greenhouse-like entry and two stories, including a loft-level dining room.
Restaurant in the historic W.A. Powers Company building in Fort Worth's SoMa District is from N L D Hospitality (Taco Heads, Sidesaddle Saloon). Inspired by Mexico City, the menu includes rotisserie chicken, pork carnitas, tuna tostadas, and empanadas. Cocktails are classic, but use indigenous spirits, with a wine list sourced from Latin America. The dining room occupies the bottom floor, while the second floor has a bar called Escondite.