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Awards Watch: Meet the 2015 America’s Classics

JBF Editors

February 26, 2015

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Today we're excited to announce the recipients of one of our most popular awards: the America's Classics! This honor is given to regional establishments, often family-owned, that are treasured for their quality food, local character, and lasting appeal. Read on to learn more about our 2015 America's Classics. These awards will be bestowed at the James Beard Awards Gala at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 4.  

Read the full press release here.

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Archie’s Waeside, Le Mars, IA (Owner: Robert Rand)

Set in what was once a roadhouse bar, Archie’s is a citadel of American beef cookery. Seated in a commodious booth, in a dining room accented with Christmas tchotchkes, regulars drink perfect Manhattans, snack on handmade onion rings and well-curated relish trays served alongside homemade salads, and eat porterhouses, dry-aged in-house for up to 60 days.

Archie Jackson, who escaped Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution, worked in the meat cutting business in Sioux City before heading to Los Angeles where he learned to cut and dry-age beef in packinghouses. He opened the Waeside in 1949. Valerie Rand, his daughter, grew the business in the 1960s and 1970s. Her youngest child, Robert Rand, is now the owner, presiding over a menu that features 12 cuts of dry-aged beef, sourced from farms in northwest Iowa and northeast Nebraska, a large selection of seafood including freshwater fish like walleye, and a deep cellar of Napa Valley red wines.


Beaumont Inn, Harrodsburg, KY (Owners: Elizabeth and Dixon Dedman, and Helen and Chuck Dedman)

Founded by Glave Goddard and Annie Bell Goddard in 1917, the Beaumount, which opened for business in 1919, is still operated by their descendants. Set in a former women’s college built in 1845, the Beaumont main house is columned and formal. The menu is deeply rooted in Kentucky’s culture and history. The Dedman family, now at the helm, serves Kentucky products with pride, including Weisenberger corn meal, Meacham hams, and bourbons from the best distillers in the state.

Recipes for dishes like corn pudding and fried chicken, handed down through five generations, form the core of the menu. As their forebears did, the Dedmans serve two-year-old country ham, which they bring to maturation in their own aging house. Little has changed since the days when the pioneering critic Duncan Hines was a regular. “Now write this down for the people in Kentucky,” he told a reporter back in 1949. “[Say] I’ll be happy to get home and eat two-year-old ham, cornbread, beaten biscuits, pound cake, yellow-leg fried chicken, and corn pudding. And you can say what I think is the best eating place in Kentucky: Beaumont Inn at Harrodsburg.”


Guelaguetza, Los Angeles (Owners: The Lopez Family)

Guelaguetza, founded by Fernando Lopez in 1994, is the center of Oaxacan life in Los Angeles, and the setting for countless quinceañeras, weddings, and anniversaries. A sprawling restaurant located in Koreatown, it features live music on a bandstand every night. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant draws both homesick Oaxacans and outlanders in search of honest Oaxacan foods.

Bricia Lopez, one of the four children of Fernando Lopez and Maria de Jesus, now runs the restaurant along with her brother, Fernando Lopez, Jr., and her sister Paulina Lopez. They have added a mezcal bar and often bring in top producers from Mexico for seminars. The real star, however, remains the soulful Oaxacan food, including enfrijolados, tamales steamed in banana leaves with mole, bowls of goat stew, and big rounds of tlayudas, baked corn tortillas topped with semi-dried beef, Oaxacan cheese, and sometimes even grasshoppers.


Sally Bell’s Kitchen, Richmond, VA (Owners: Martha Crowe Jones and Scott Jones)

Sarah Cabell Jones met Elizabeth Lee Milton at the Richmond Exchange for Woman’s Work. Founded in 1883, the Richmond Exchange sold handmade goods produced by women. Jones and Milton opened Sally Bell’s Kitchen (then called Sarah Lee Kitchen) in 1924. By 1985, Martha Crowe Jones, the third-generation family proprietor, had taken the reins. Each generation of Jones women has proved faithful stewards of this beacon of female entrepreneurship.

Sally Bell’s is a take-away operation. Step to the counter and order a chicken salad or egg salad sandwich, among a number of other options. The counterwoman will hand over your prize in a white pasteboard box, tied with twine. Inside will be a paper cup of potato salad or macaroni salad, a deviled egg half wrapped in tissue, a cheese wafer crowned with a pecan, and a cupcake enrobed in glaze. All will taste like someone’s grandmother made them. Nine decades after it first opened, Sally Bell’s still excels at handmade goods prepared by industrious women.


Sevilla Restaurant, NYC (Owners: Jose Lloves and Bienvenido Alvarez)

The area around 14th Street and Eighth Avenue was known as Little Spain as early as 1900. In addition to community resources like the Spanish Benevolent Society, the neighborhood was also home to a wealth of Spanish restaurants. Sevilla, which began life as an Irish pub in 1923, opened as a Spanish restaurant in 1941 under the direction of Luis Fernandez and Alfonso Uchupi. In 1967, the chef Jose Lloves bought it. Five years later, his brother Bienvenido Alvarez, joined as a partner.

At Sevilla, the walls are decorated with bull heads and oil paintings of busty doñas. The deep and discreet booths are lit by glowing lanterns. The cocktail list is a time capsule of stingers, grasshoppers, and brandy Alexanders. Waiters wearing burgundy vests and bow ties serve tableside from covered metal cazuelas. And regulars flock for shrimp with green sauce, mariscada with hot garlic sauce, veal chops, and pitchers of sangria.

The 2015 America's Classics are presented by Brand USA.