The Arizona Restaurant Association is calling for nominations for its 2019 Foodist Awards, which recognize the pursuit and achievement of excellence in the state’s food and beverage scene. Nominations are being accepted now through Sunday, June 30. Finalists and winners will be recognized during a plated dinner ceremony on Thursday, October 10th at Young’s Market Company’s Seventh and Union.

“We are proud to be a leader in the support of Arizona’s culinary scene and the people behind it through the Foodist Awards,” says Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri. “And we are excited to once again honor the creative minds that help shape Arizona’s vast culinary landscape, but we can’t do it without the input of Valley foodies so we encourage everyone to get online and vote, vote, vote!”

This year’s Foodist Award categories include:


Innovative Fast Bites — This award honors the fast-casual segment and the restaurant that constantly brings innovation to the table.

Arizona Craft Retail Food Product  This award honors the tried-and-true recipes that consumers want to have available at home.

Signature Dish — Honors the restaurant that quite simply does it best.


Arizona’s Best Coffee House — Honoring Arizona grown coffee that is taking the state, and maybe even the country, by storm. 

Favorite Arizona Winery — Toasting the top Arizona winery.

Top Arizona Brewery — Raising a glass to the best Arizona brewery.

Cocktail Program  Raising a glass to an elite cocktail program.

Wine Program  Recognizing an outstanding restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence and innovation in their wine program.

Best Beverage Program — Recognizing a bar or restaurant that keeps their beverage menu edgy yet approachable embracing all things beverage – spirits, wine and beer.


Innovative Restaurant Concept — Recognizes a restaurateur or restaurant group who demonstrates that they don’t follow trends, they define them by setting the bar in restaurant operations and the overall customer dining experience.

Fantastic Food Truck — Recognizes outstanding achievement in mobile nourishment, operations and community development.

Emerging Restaurant of the Year — Honors promising up-and-comers that demonstrate exemplary talent, showcase innovation and have already distinguished themselves as pacesetters in food, beverage and service.

Top Arizona Caterer — An Arizona grown catering team that provides quality dining experience at any location and exemplary service.

Outstanding Local Restaurant Group — Honors a culinary group with more than three locations with the same or different brands, demonstrating exceptional achievement and commitment to excellence in marketing, menu design and customer service.

Uniquely Arizona — Home to some of the oldest documented food traditions, Arizona has a rich culinary past steeped in tradition. These restaurants embrace not only the local food but are staples of the state.


Acclaimed Industry Instagrammer — Honoring the best Instagrammer who has captured the hearts of its visitors with outstanding Instagram food photography.

Best of the Best Food Writer — This award recognizes a writer, blogger, or food critic who dedicates time, passion and energy to capturing the beauty of our industry with the written word in any form.

Good Neighbor — Recognizes the outstanding community leadership and exceptional devotion to making a difference in our neighborhoods and community at large.

Employee of the Year — Recognizes the front or back of house employee (non-managerial) that has set the gold standard for exemplary customer service and enhancing the overall dining experience.

Manager of the Year — Recognizes the manager that has set the gold standard for exemplary customer service and leadership as well as enhancing the overall dining experience.

Top Mixologist | Bartender — Honoring an individual who is behind the bar, constantly raising the bar and setting trends in the beverage scene.  

Top Chef — Pays tribute to outstanding culinary excellence, breaking new ground with an innovative menu while enhancing the dining experience.

Food Pioneer  — Lifetime Achievement Award. Honors a lifetime of outstanding culinary excellence that continues to educate, inspire, entertain and foster a deeper understanding of the culinary culture in Arizona. 

Nominations are now being accepted via through 11:59 p.m. (MST) on Sunday, June 30. Finalists and winners are selected by a panel of industry experts organized by the Arizona Restaurant Association. For more visit,