Colorado Lands 18 James Beard Nominations and Is Added to a New “Mountain” Region

Today, the James Beard Foundation has announced the semi-finalists for their 2020 Restaurant and Chef Awards, including several Colorado staples. The non-profit’s mission is to educate people on American cuisine as well as bring recognition and acclaim to the restaurants and chefs who excel in making food culture more diverse, sustainable and delicious. The James Beard Awards influence shines a light on many different restaurants improving culinary culture across the United States, and even a mere nomination shows a restaurant’s dedication to their craft. For 2020, the foundation switched it up and updated its nomination regions. Now Colorado has been moved from the Southwest into a new Mountain region that also includes Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. As a result, this year Colorado has 18 nominations in comparison to last year’s eight. This also comes after a slew of changes in 2019 that aimed to make the awards more diverse and transparent.

The Colorado James Beard nominees are as follows:

Best New Restaurant

Sunday Vinyl – Denver

Outstanding Bar Program

Williams & Graham – Denver

Outstanding Restaurant

Frasca Food and Wine – Boulder

Sushi Den – Denver

Outstanding Restaurateur

Jennifer Jasinski, Beth Gruitch, Crafted Concepts – Denver (Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Stoic & Genuine, and others)

Outstanding Wine Program

element 47 at The Little Nell – Aspen, CO

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer

Todd Leopold and Scott Leopold, Leopold Bros. – Denver

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Austin Nickel, Spuntino – Denver

Best Chef: Mountain (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY)

Carrie Baird, Bar Dough – Denver

Caroline Glover, Annette – Aurora

Duncan Holmes, Beckon – Denver

Brother Luck, Four by Brother Luck – Colorado Springs

Tommy Lee, Hop Alley, Denver

Josh Niernberg, Bin 707 Foodbar – Grand Junction

Cindhura Reddy, Spuntino – Denver

Dana Rodriguez, Super Mega Bien – Denver

Kelly Whitaker, The Wolf’s Tailor – Denver

Luis Young, Penrose Room – Colorado Springs


Go here to see the full list. Winners will be announced on March 25.