New York and California may be the undisputed centers of the American restaurant universe, but Texas is gaining on them. That comes through loud and clear in a national magazine’s latest Best New Restaurants list.
Four Texas restaurants make Bon Appetit‘s respected Best New Restaurants Top 50. California and New York are the only states to land more restaurants than Texas on the list, which is determined by national food critics Andrew Knowlton and Julia Kramer.
You know Chicago — which typically does well in these rankings — is smarting. The Windy City (and Illinois) are not just trailing Texas after placing two restaurants on the list. Illinois is also behind Minnesota and tied with Tennessee.
Houston is shut out this year, but Austin and Dallas each earned two of the coveted spots. Meat palace Dai Due and the vegetable-centric Gardner give Austin two berths on the opposite end of the spectrum from each other. Luscher’s Red Hots, a no-frills sausage restaurant, and Small Brewpub, fittingly a tiny spot lauded for its versions of “bar snacks,” give showy Dallas two surprisingly low-key representatives.
The Top 50 will be pared down to a Top 10 Best New Restaurants later this month. Bon Appetit’s Hot 10 will be announced on August 18.
The two Austin restaurants are likely Texas’ best chance to burst into the Top 10. Bon Appetit paints Gardner as a true Scandinavia-worthy escape. “A meal here truly feels like a special night out, a grown-up excursion in a still-raucous town,” the magazine notes.
For Dai Due, it’s all about meat. Bon Appetit editors note that they love watching the butchers “break down massive primal cuts” in the butcher shop that fronts the restaurant while eating breakfast.
One overriding theme is clear: It’s good to eat in Texas.