7 Pittsburgh Restaurants, Chefs Are James Beard Semifinalists

Eric Heyl

Published February 27, 2019


PITTSBURGH, PA — Seven restaurants and chefs in Pittsburgh are semifinalists for 2019 James Beard Awards. The regional semifinalists for the awards — sometimes referred to as the Oscars of the culinary world — were announced Wednesday.

In Pittsburgh, the semifinalists are in the following categories:

  • Outstanding Restaurateur: Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik, Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group (Butcher and the Rye, Meat & Potatoes, Tako and Pork & Beans, all Downtown).
  • Outstanding Wine Program: Bar Marco, Strip District.
  • Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Producer: Meredith Meyer Grelli, Wigle Whiskey, strip District, Downtown and Ross Park Mall.
  • Rising Star Chef of the Year: Becca Hegarty, Bitter Ends Luncheonette, Bloomfield.
  • Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic: Jamilka Borges, Independent Brewing Company, Squirrel Hill; Wei Zhu, Chengdu Gourmet, Squirrel Hill.

The prestigious Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists represent a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations nationally and across 10 different regions. The 21 award categories include best new restaurants, outstanding bars, outstanding bakers and rising star chefs 30 years of age or younger.

The final winners will be announced during a press conference in Houston on Wednesday, March 27. It will be hosted by James Beard Award–winning chef Hugo Ortega at his namesake Mexican restaurant, Hugo's.

The James Beard Foundation solicits entries for the awards in mid-October of each year. They are reviewed by the Restaurant and Chef Committee to determine eligibility and regional representation, and are then voted on by more than 600 judges from across the country to determine the final nominees.


The same group of judges, which is comprised of leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Award winners, then votes on the nominees to select the winners.

Tabulations to determine the nominees and winners are done by independent auditors Lutz & Carr. The governing Awards committee, board of trustees, and staff of the James Beard Foundation do not vote, and the results are kept confidential until the presentation of winners in May.

Photo via Shutterstock

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