Milwaukee's culinary scene has once again made a strong showing in the preliminary round of the annual James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards.
Four local chefs have been chosen as semifinalists for Best Chef Midwest: Dane Baldwin, owner of The Diplomat on Brady Street; Karen Bell, owner of Bavette La Boucherie in the Historic Third Ward; and Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, owners of EsterEv, Dan Dan and Fauntleroy, all in the Third Ward.
Paul Bartolotta and Joe Bartolotta of The Bartolotta Restaurants have made the list for Outstanding Restaurateur for the third consecutive year. They sit among a group of 20 national semifinalists for the category.
In addition, iconic Milwaukee bar Bryant's Cocktail Lounge is in the running for Outstanding Bar Program, another national category with just 20 semifinalists.
The James Beard nomination is 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.
[caption id="attachment_373063" align="alignleft" width="300"] The Duck à l’Orange at Fauntleroy.[/caption]
Bell was a semifinalist for Best Chef Midwest in 2017 and 2018. She moved on to the finalist round last year, joining chef and restaurateur Justin Carlisle, who was up for the same award, but they were both overlooked.
Carlisle, who owns Ardent and Red Light Ramen on Milwaukee's East Side and Laughing Taco in Walker's Point, did not make the cut this year after landing James Beard semifinalist and finalist nominations annually since 2014.
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.
Selected finalists for each category will be announced on Wednesday, March 27. The winners will be announced on Monday, May 6 at the 2019 James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago.