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Bon Appétit Names Its 20 'Most Important Restaurants'

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Momofuku Ssam Bar
Momofuku Ssam Bar
Photo: Noah Kalina/Facebook

Bon Appétit expands its listicle-making game today with the unveiling of its "20 Most Important Restaurants in America." As restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton explains, "This isn't an All-Time Greatest list or a Hall of Fame. It's a list of the spots where chefs want to eat today, the places on the forefront of what is happening in dining at this moment." And the magazine's Editor in Chief Adam Rapoport writes in his editor's letter that "restaurants—more than movies or music or literature—are this generation's arbiters of taste." And so it is that Momofuku tops the list as an empire that "has changed our dining culture for good," while The Restaurant at Meadowood, Husk and Alinea also nab top spots.

It's sort of an interesting list spanning from Shake Shack to Eleven Madison Par and Franklin Barbecue to Pok Pok. Knowlton admits that selections are bound to be controversial, but swears that "no place was added to the list or excluded solely to piss people off." That said, he does hope to generate that controversy, writing, "After all, what's the point of making a list if no one talks about it?" Knowlton also notes the 13 restaurants that didn't quite make the cut, including Daniel, The French Laundry and Spago. And some of the listed chefs also also name their own most important American restaurants, from the Cheesecake Factory (David Chang) to Next (Danny Bowien).

Here now, the full list:

The 20 Most Important Restaurants in America

1. Momofuku, multiple locations
2. The Restaurant at Meadowood, Napa, CA
3. Husk, Charleston, SC
4. Alinea, Chicago, IL
5. Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
6. Roberta's, Brooklyn, NY
7. Eleven Madison Park, New York, NY
8. Pok Pok, Brooklyn, NY and Portland, OR
9. Mission Chinese Food, New York, NY and San Francisco, CA
10. Uchi/Uchiko, Austin, TX
11. Animal, Los Angeles, CA
12. Avec, Chicago, IL
13. Le Bernardin, New York, NY
14. Cochon, New Orleans, LA
15. The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle, WA
16. Shake Shack, multiple locations
17. Franklin Barbecue, Austin, TX
18. Balthazar, New York, NY
19. Primo, Rockland, ME
20. Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco, CA

· The 20 Most Important Restaurants in America [Bon Appétit]
· All Listicles on Eater [-E-]