America's Classics: The Bright Star, Bessemer, Alabama

America’s Classics Award–winning restaurants have timeless appeal and are beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Here is the final eatery that earned this prestigious distinction in 2010. A clump of feta, tucked in a salad of iceberg and cucumbers. A stipple of oregano on a broiled snapper fillet. At the Bright Star in Bessemer, Alabama, an old steel town southwest of Birmingham, the vestiges of Greece are few. Greek immigrants built the Bright Star, a vintage dining hall of intricately patterned tile floors, nicotine-patinaed woodwork, WPA-era murals of the old country, and brass chandeliers. The Bright Star opened in 1907. Descendants of Bright Star founding fathers—Tom Bonduris and his cousin Bill Koikos, natives of the farming village of Peleta in the mountainous Peloponnesus region —still work the floor. Jimmy Koikos, a septuagenarian, and brother Nicky, seven years his junior, are in charge now. The menu is an honest—and very old—fusion, Greek meets Southern, as interpreted by African American cooks: fried red snapper throats, house-cut from whole Gulf fish, are on the menu

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America's Classics: Gustavus Inn, Gustavus, AK

America’s Classics Award–winning restaurants have timeless appeal and are beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting the eateries that earned this prestigious distinction in 2010. Three generations of the Lesh family have welcomed guests to this farmhouse at the edge of a meadow overlooking Alaska's Icy Strait. Jack and Sally Lesh started the inn in 1965, operating it as a drop-in restaurant, grocery store, and hotel. For many years it was also the town’s weather station, airline counter, and radio and telephone contact. From 1976 to '79 their daughter Sal and husband, Tom McLaughlin, continued these services, supporting the crew building nearby Glacier Bay Lodge. Dave and JoAnn Lesh took over as innkeepers in 1980 and raised their three sons and daughter there. Over the years, the town has acquired power, phones, and city status, allowing the Gustavus Inn to rely more on serving tourists to Glacier Bay National Park during the summer months. Supper is served family style and usually features local catches like Dungeness crab, salmon,

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America's Classics: Mary & Tito's Café

America's Classics Award–winning restaurants have timeless appeal and are beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Over the next few weeks, we'll be spotlighting the eateries that earned this prestigious distinction in 2010. Carne adovada—long-braised pork in red chile sauce—might be the most characteristic of New Mexico’s robust and deceptively simple dishes. New Mexicans argue the merits of various carne adovada preparations statewide, but aficionados nearly always rank Mary & Tito’s tops. The

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America's Classics: Al's French Frys, South Burlington, VT

America's Classics Award–winning restaurants have timeless appeal and are beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Over the next few weeks, we'll be spotlighting the eateries that earned this prestigious distinction in 2010. Founded by Al and Genevieve Rusterholz in the late 1940s, Al's French Frys was originally housed in a small hut, open to the elements. Many Chittenden Countians encountered Al’s French Frys stand at the Champlain Valley Fair, where it earned a reputation that has endured for more than half a

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JBF Awards 2010 America's Classics Award: Mary & Tito's Cafe in Albuquerque, NM

Mary & Tito's Cafe in Albuquerque, NM have been serving New Mexico classics like carne adovada—long-braised pork in red chile sauce—and fried turnovers to its faithful clientele since 1963.

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JBF Awards 2010 America's Classics Awards: Calumet Fisheries in Chicago, IL

The James Beard Foundation America's Classics Awards recognize restaurants with timeless appeal, beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Calumet Fisheries, a stand-alone hutch located on the Calumet River in Chicago, has been frying and smoking seafood since 1948. Its smoked salmon, shrimp, chubs and trout have been drawing crowds since it opened 62 years ago.

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Awards Watch: First Awards of the Night

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Timothy Hollingsworth, The French Laundry, Yountville, CA America’s Classics: Calumet Fisheries, Chicago Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional: John Shafer and Doug Shafer, Shafer Vineyards, Napa, CA Outstanding Wine Service: Jean Georges, NYC, Wine Director: Bernard Sun

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America's Classics: Maneki

Maneki A restaurant doesn’t have to serve fried chicken or pie to be an America’s Classic. Our list of America’s Classics represents the wide variety of cultures, cuisines, and people that make up the country’s food scene.  At first mention, Japanese food might not seem like a natural choice, but Maneki is a perfect example of a classic American eatery. Maneki is a family-owned enterprise whose roots stretch back to the early years of the twentieth century. Some believe it was founded in 1904. Others claim a date of 1911. No matter; it’s the only surviving restaurant from Seattle’s once bustling Japantown. Since 1974, the Nakayama family has been at the helm, first Kozo, now his wife, Jean. Maneki has long claimed a place at the center of Seattle’s Japanese-American community. In the 1930s one of the restaurant’s dishwashers was a University of Washington student named Takeo Miki, who later served,

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Awards Watch: The 2010 America’s Classics Winners

beard medal

If our 2010 America’s Classics Award winners got together to prepare dinner, it would be one incredible meal. Maybe they’d start things... Read more >

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America's Classics: Doe's Eat Place

Doe's Eat Place Every one of America’s Classics has a unique story to tell, but together these restaurants represent the country’s rich fabric and illustrate how the closest communities cohere around food. As 2007 award recipient Shug Signa said about her family’s 68-year-old restaurant, Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville, Mississippi, “People come together, never meet a stranger, and it’s the American way.” This family-owned and -operated restaurant is an icon of the culinary and cultural landscape of the Mississippi Delta. Doe’s Eat Place grew out of a 1940s grocery store that sold homemade hot tamales, eventually transforming itself into a casual steak joint that served both the African-American and white communities in segregated Mississippi. Pivotal during the civil rights era, Doe’s Eat Place has become a symbol of the region’s multiracial culture. Learn more about America's Classics and watch a video about Doe's Eat Place by visiting

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