Over the past 12 months, I've spent something like 250 nights eating out, sometimes with my family, sometimes with friends and colleagues, and often on the road by myself, fork in one hand, local newspaper in the other. Not a bad gig, I admit--especially since there are few things I enjoy more than (1) a great meal and (2) telling people about it. I love meeting the talented folks behind restaurants. I love their stories. I have more than ten years' worth of notebooks scribbled with favorite dishes, memorable meals, and sentences like "Chef is going to be a star." Each year, the best of those meals make it onto a list that I take very seriously: my top-ten best new restaurants.
I can't promise that your list for 2011 will match mine--after all, how fun would food be if we didn't get to argue about it? One thing I can promise is that all the spots I've chosen, from a Southern gem in Charleston, SC, to a surprising indie hit in Robbinsdale, MN, are driven by passionate people who care deeply about the food they're cooking. They all have a story to tell, and I'm thrilled to share them with you before I start eating my way toward next year's list. Bon Appetit!
Note: After the September issue went to press, we learned that M. Wells had lost their lease and would be closing at the end of August. Bummer--we liked that old diner cart. Thankfully, they've found a new location nearby and will be opening shortly. Long live snails and bone marrow!