No shot at Beard Awards for Milwaukee chefs this year

All seven local semifinalists strike out

Karen Bell

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pm

Karen Bell

The race for a 2019 James Beard Award has come to an end for several local restaurants and chefs who were all overlooked for finalist nominations.

Milwaukee’s dining scene was well represented when the James Beard Foundation announced its selection of semifinalists last month.

Dane Baldwin of The Diplomat on Brady Street, Karen Bell of Bavette La Boucherie in the Historic Third Ward, and Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite of EsterEv, Dan Dan and Fauntleroy, all in the Third Ward were semifinalists for Best Chef Midwest.

Those chefs lost out on nominations to three chefs from Minneapolis, one from Kansas City and one from St. Louis.

Paul Bartolotta and Joe Bartolotta of The Bartolotta Restaurants were semifinalists for Outstanding Restaurateur for the third consecutive year, sitting among a group of 20 national semifinalists for that category.

In addition, iconic Milwaukee bar Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge was in the running for Outstanding Bar Program, another national category with just 20 semifinalists.

Milwaukee in past years has been represented by at least one finalist nominee– last year, Bell and Justin Carlisle of Ardent received finalist nominations, but both went home empty handed.

The James Beard nomination was the first ever for both Baldwin and Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge. Jacobs and Van Rite landed the honor for a second year in a row.

Besides Milwaukee, Madison was the only other Wisconsin city that was represented on this year’s seminfinalist list. Tory Miller of L’Etoile was nominated for Outstanding Chef and Jonny Hunter of Forequarter was nominated for Best Chef Midwest, but both chefs will not advance.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.