In a ceremony held on Thursday, June 2, the Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) honored the winners of the 2022 Foodist Awards. Results were based on public nominations and votes from the community in support of the food and beverage industry.
“It was our absolute pleasure to return in person for an amazing celebratory event where we could raise a glass and honor to this incredibly talented group of people,” says Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri. “We have all worked diligently through the extreme challenges of the pandemic to keep our hospitality growing and thriving — and these are just a few of the amazing people we want to credit. There are so many more out there and we hope to recognize and celebrate them in the future, too.”
Winners in their respective categories are as follows:
Innovative Fast Bites — Thai Chili 2 Go
Outstanding Signature Dish — CRUjiente Tacos’ Korean Fried Chicken Taco
World Class Dessert — Café Zuzu’s Show Stopper Shake
Exceptional Happy Hour — Postino
Top Arizona Brewery — Huss Brewing Co.
Superb Bar/Nightclub — Garden Bar PHX
Best Beverage Program — Maple & Ash
Most Creative Cocktails To-Go — Pigtails’ Quarantine and Chill
Innovative Fine Dining Restaurant Concept — Cloth & Flame
Emerging Restaurant of the Year — Chantico
Outstanding Local Restaurant Group — Fox Restaurant Concepts
Uniquely Arizona — Macayo’s Mexican Food
Pandemic Good Neighbor — Sasha Raj, 24 Carrots
Employee of the Year — Mary French Dafoe, Tonto Bar & Grill
Manager of the Year — Jim Gallen, Mountain Shadows Resort
Top Mixologist | Bartender — Kim Haasarud, Garden Bar PHX
Top Chef — Braden Levine, Sel
Food Pioneer — Jeff Smedstad, Elote Café and Michael Rusconi, Rusconi’s American Kitchen
Restaurant Tourism Ambassador — Debbie Johnson, Arizona Office of Tourism
Legislator of the Year — Karen Fann, President of the Arizona Senate
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the Arizona Restaurant Association is pleased to have reunited the best of the best in the food and beverage industry for a night of celebrating their hard work and dedication to the Arizona culinary scene. The Foodist Awards honor the culinary minds that help shape the state’s culinary landscape. whether they cook regularly in their kitchen, dream up the next great concepts of tomorrow, mix it up behind the bar or manage foodservice solutions, these are the people that contribute to exciting and exhilarating food and beverage developments.
For more about the Foodist Awards, visit foodistawards.com.