Stories / Foundation News

Letter from the President: James Beard Restaurants Around the Country

Susan Ungaro

Susan Ungaro

January 21, 2016


James Beard once said, “I don’t like gourmet cooking, or ‘this’ or ‘that’ cooking. I like good cooking.” To be sure, Beard relished the fine-dining establishments he frequently visited, but he also loved the neighborhood restaurants where simple food and good company were on the menu. In recognition of that type of restaurant, in 1998 the James Beard Foundation added the America’s Classics category to the annual James Beard Awards ceremony. The criteria for these awards are that the restaurants must have timeless appeal and be beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their communities. They also must have been in existence for at least ten years and be locally owned to qualify. I am happy to announce that our newest cookbook, James Beard’s All-American Eats: Recipes and Stories from Our Best-Loved Local Restaurants, is being published by Rizzoli this March. It features more than 75 recipes from these very special restaurants, along with fascinating stories from the families who run them, a foreword by Andrew Zimmern, tips from Sean Brock and other chefs about what to order at these eateries, and charts about regional American food. I hope you will pick up a copy. The book is available now for pre-order through our website at

“Consistent, simple food tastes great. Food with a story tastes better. Food with a story you haven’t heard before tastes better than that, and if you can connect to that story, well, that makes it an American Classic, one of our best-loved restaurants.” — JBF Award Winner Andrew Zimmern, from the foreword in James Beard’s All-American Eats

Find JBF Restaurants Around the Country!

Wish you could eat at more James Beard Award–winning restaurants around the country? Check out our JBF Restaurant Finder. Enter your city—or a city you’re traveling to—and get a list of all the local restaurants that have won James Beard Awards or have been semifinalists and nominees. The Restaurant Finder includes everything from America’s Classics Award–winning restaurants featured in James Beard’s All-American Eats, to the winners of our Outstanding Chef and Best New Restaurant awards.