If you kept going back to the same restaurant for years, you’ll understand why the James Beard Foundation, that organization that recognizes excellent new and upcoming chefs, eateries and bars with annual awards, also has annual America’s Classics awards.
Announced on the easily remembered date of 02/20/2020, the designation was accorded to restaurants in the Great Lakes, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, New York boroughs, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southwest and West.
I’ve been lucky enough to have visited at least one classic restaurant in each of those areas so I know they are well chosen and worth a visit.
Speaking just about the first area, I try to get to The Berghoff, a more than 120-year-old, family-owned, Chicago establishment during its Oktoberfest celebration for good beer, huge pretzels, great sandwiches and atmosphere.
I also try to get to the St. Elmo Steak House downtown Indianapolis for its always excellent steak, potato and old time, dark paneled, classic ambiance.
With more people watching the food channels and talking about the latest eatery to come to town, the lure of expanding food presentation and preparation is understandable. However, the JB Foundation got it right. It’s just as important to discover or go back to a restaurant that has been in business a long time for a reason.
For the full list of classic designations visit James Beard classics.