The Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) hosted its annual Foodist Awards banquet yesterday, Thursday, October 10, at Young’s Market Company’s Seventh and Union. The Foodist Awards recognize the pursuit and achievement of excellence in the state’s food and beverage scene throughout a number of categories. Nominations were taken earlier this summer and finalists and winners were selected by a panel of industry experts organized by the Arizona Restaurant Association. 

The ARA announced the following Foodist Awards winners of their respective categories:

Innovative Fast Bites: Chula Seafood

Arizona Craft Retail Food Product: Cutino Hot Sauce

Signature Dish: Cotton & Copper

Arizona’s Best Coffee House: Press Coffee Roasters

Favorite Arizona Winery: Page Spring Cellars

Top Arizona Brewery: Mother Road Brewing Company

Cocktail Program: Little Rituals

Wine Program: FnB

Best Beverage Program: Bitter & Twisted

Innovative Restaurant Concept: Flower Child

Fantastic Food Truck: Maine Lobster Lady 

Emerging Restaurant of the Year: Cotton & Copper

Top Arizona Caterer: Artisan by Santa Barbara Catering

Outstanding Local Restaurant Group: Born & Raised Hospitality

Uniquely Arizona: Kai Restaurant

Acclaimed Industry Instagrammer: @azfoodie

Best of the Best Food Writer: Lauren Saria, Arizona Republic

Good Neighbor: The Dhaba

Top Mixologist | Bartender: Aaron Defeo, Little Rituals

Top Chef: Gio Osso, Virtu

Food Pioneer: Lisa Dahl, Dahl Restaurant Group 

Employee of the Year: Benny Cisneros, The Scott Resort & Spa

Manager of the Year: TJ Martinez, Copper Brothel Brewery