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James Beard Foundation Announces 2018 America’s Classics Awards

Five restaurants made the cut

Duck at Sun Wah.
VXLA / Flickr
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

It’s finally Beard season. Today the James Beard Foundation announced the five 2018 recipients of its America’s Classics awards. The Foundation gives this title every year to restaurants that are “regional establishments, often family-owned, that are treasured for their quality food, local character, and lasting appeal.” Generally, these restaurants have been open for more than 10 years, and the award taps establishments, chefs, and restaurateurs generally overlooked by the other Beard award categories.

It’s considered an honor and also recognition of both quality and longevity; past winners have included beloved restaurants like New York City’s Keens Steakhouse; Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Crook’s Corner; Brooks’ House of BBQ in Oneonta, NY; and, more recently, La Taqueria in San Francisco.

Here are this year’s recipients:

Dong Phuong Bakery, New Orleans: One of the first Vietnamese bakeries in NOLA, Dong Phuong has served its iconic banh mi for over 30 years, and supplies bread to po boy vendors throughout the city.

El Guero Canelo, Tucson: Sonoran hot dogs transformed this Tucson stand into a must-visit local restaurant.

Hot dogs at El Guero Canelo.
Photo: Alyson Hurt / Flickr

Galleria Umberto, Boston: A decades-old stalwart from the North End, Galleria Umberto is known for its Sicilian-style pizza.

Los Hernandez, Union Gap, WA: Tamales are the name of the game here; the owners mill their own masa and serve different combinations to match the seasons.

Sun Wah, Chicago: A family-run business with a reputation for superb duck, the younger generation took over in 2008.

Semifinalists for the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards will be announced on February 15, and nominees on March 14. The James Beard Awards Gala, where the America’s Classics winners are also acknowledged, will take place on May 7.

Watch more about Dong Phuong bakery here: