OpenTable Reviews Reveal #DinersChoice Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in America — with Slideshow

In celebration of our country’s progressive food and dining culture, we are pleased to honor the 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Newer eateries rule the list, with the majority of winners opening in the last three years. More than 20 were founded in 2012 alone, while 15 launched in 2013, and six debuted as recently as 2014. Also, 14 of the honorees have women as executive chefs. American fare is overwhelmingly popular, but French and Italian restaurants are common among the honorees.  Other popular cuisines include Japanese, Spanish, Middle Eastern, modern European, tapas/small plates, and vegetarian.

Showcasing restaurants with unique menus, easygoing ambience, and passionate chefs who have a “source local, cook global” approach, the complete list includes award winners in 29 states, including Aviary in Portland, Odd Duck in Austin, and Vedge in Philadelphia. Restaurants in Portland and Philadelphia collectively account for almost 25 percent of the list. California has the greatest number of winners with 14, followed closely by Oregon and Pennsylvania with 13 each. New York has eight honorees, while Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington all have five, and Illinois has four. Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas each have three winning restaurants. Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, North Carolina, and Virginia, respectively, have two award winners. Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin are also represented.

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Chef Naomi Pomeroy of Beast in Portland on Motherhood + Running a Restaurant

naomi headshot - alicia roseOn the heels of highlighting the Top 10 Mom-Owned Restaurants in America, we’re pleased to bring you a series of interviews with the talented women on the list. First up is Naomi Pomeroy, the chef-owner of Beast. Beast opened in 2007 and is one of Portland’s most acclaimed restaurants. Not surprisingly, chef Pomeroy took home a well-deserved 2014 James Beard Award for Best Chef. She is mom to daughter, August, who is 13, and, two years ago, she joyfully acquired two step kids, 8 and 6. 

Which came first for you — motherhood or owning a restaurant?

I had August before I opened my first restaurant, but I had already started catering at that point, which can be similarly stressful. I never really had to choose.

Did you have any role models who inspired you to pursue both parenthood and culinary entrepreneurship?

I remember hearing about Alice Waters raising her daughter, Fanny, around the kitchen at Chez Panisse. I don’t necessarily think that was at the forefront of my thinking. Nowadays, as far as a current role model goes, Suzanne Goin of Lucques and AOC is a huge role model. She and her husband are both in the food industry and have three relatively young children. They’re always doing charity events, and I have no idea how they find the time to balance all that they do!

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in attempting to balance family life and owning a restaurant?

I don’t know, but my daughter laughed when she heard that question asked! It was hard for me when August first started going to school, specifically when she was about 5 or 6. She started needing me a little bit more at that time, which coincided with the opening of my first independent project, so the timing was the most difficult part of it all. When your kids are in school, their off-times are your busiest times, so, occasionally, it’s hard to find the time to spend together. That’s specifically why I haven’t worked brunch on Sundays for a long while now, and I’ve established certain times for us to be together.

Honestly, I was blessed with having the right kind of kid. She has a great temperament and is happy wherever she is, so it was much easier for me to get the help I needed when it was needed. I think that if I had a different kid who was more demanding, it would have been much more challenging for me.

Obviously, as all moms do, I’m sure you’ve experienced guilt and felt pulled in two directions. How did you handle those moments? Continue Reading

On Our Plate: National Dine Out Day for Sandy Relief; Save on Taste of the Nation Palm Beach Tomorrow; Restaurant Weeks + More

TOTN-Portland
Taste of the Nation Portland brings together some of the area’s best chefs.

Happenings on and around OpenTable…

* TODAY is National Dine Out Day! Dine at a participating restaurant to support those still suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

* Save 15% on Taste of the Nation Palm Beach tickets tomorrow night. Discover more and get tickets now for 6/19.

* Don’t miss Taste of the Nation Maine on June 23rd. Learn more about Portland’s premiere culinary event.

* Portland Restaurant Month is in full swing. Make a reservation for three-course gourmet meals for just $29, June 1-30.

* Indianapolis Chow Down Midtown has arrived. Check out special three-course, prix-fixe meals at participating restaurants, June 10-23.

* Coral Gables Restaurant Week has begun. Take advantage of special $17-$29 lunches and $17-$49 dinners, June 10-30Continue Reading

On Our Plate: Summer Restaurant Weeks Begin in Palm Springs, San Francisco, Portland + More

Coral-Gables-RWIt’s the most wonderful time of the year: summer restaurant week season has begun. For the next four months, most major metro areas across the U.S. will be hosting culinary celebrations of their cities, from Atlanta to San Diego and everything in between. First up, whet your appetite for steals on meals in these cities. And, remember to book your tables early as the hottest spots fill up fast!

* Palm Springs Desert Resort Restaurant Week reservations are live. Reserve to enjoy special $26 or $38 dinners, May 31-June 16.

* Dine About Town San Francisco is almost here. Book now for $18.95 two-course lunches and $36.95 three-course dinners, June 1-15.

* Portland Restaurant Month starts soon. Make a reservation for three-course gourmet meals for just $29, June 1-30.

* Triangle Restaurant Week kicks off in Chapel Hill-Durham-Raleigh area. Don’t miss $15 lunches and $20 and $30 dinners, June 3-9.

* Coral Gables Restaurant Week is two weeks away. Take advantage of special $17-$29 lunches and $17-$49 dinners, June 10-30.