Alabama Food Scene Shines with James Beard Award Semifinalists

Á la Carte Alabama

The semifinalists for this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards have been announced and, once again, Alabama is making a strong showing. From our state, two restaurants, four chefs and a bar made the cut.

For the 10th year in a row, Birmingham’s Highlands Bar & Grille is a semifinalist for outstanding restaurant. Mobile’s Southern National received a nod as one of the nation’s best new restaurants.

Highlands’ pastry chef Dolester Miles is once again a semifinalist as outstanding pastry chef. This year marks her fifth time in a row for the honor.

Three other chefs are semifinalists for best chef in the South—David Bancroft of Acre in Auburn, Bill Briand of Fisher's Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina in Orange Beach and Timothy Hontzas of Johnny's Restaurant in Homewood. All three have reached this level before.

Birmingham’s Atomic Lounge is a semifinalist for outstanding bar program.

While being named a semifinalist for the James Beard Award is a big deal in the food world, the next step is bigger.  And making it to the finalist round are Highlands as outstanding restaurant—for the 10th year in a row — and Dolester Miles for outstanding pastry Chef. It's her third straight year of being a finalist.

Winners will be announced at the 2018 James Beard Awards Gala on May 7 in Chicago.