Though most publications like to release their "best of" lists around December, Time Out Chicago hosts its annual Eat Out Awards in the middle of April, which explains why last night a collection of some of the best chefs in Chicago crowded into an event space in Ravenswood for this year's festivities. For the past few months, readers have been voting in a number of relatively straightforward categories (best new restaurant, best new pizzeria), and I should know, considering Time Out featured my picks, along with the picks from other writers around town, on its site. Anyway, you can find the readers' choice winners below.
But also announced were the very esoteric critics' picks, like "Most Legitimately Farm-to-Table Restaurant" and "Boys to Men Award for Best Grown-up Drinking." No complete shockers, but I was very pleased to see Tony Hu receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. As I found out by eating at all his restaurants, he definitely deserves it.
The Readers' Choice winners are:
BEST NEW RESTAURANT: NEXT
BEST NEW BAR: THE AVIARY
BREAKOUT CHEF OF THE YEAR: DAVE BERAN
CHEAP EATERY OF THE YEAR: PLEASANT HOUSE BAKERY
BEST NEW SWEET SHOP: DOUGHNUT VAULT
BEST NEW RESTAURANT COCKTAILS: PERENNIAL VIRANT
BEST NEW PIZZERIA: ROOTS
BEST NEW BYOB: GOOSEFOOT
BEST COMEBACK: THE PUMP ROOM
BEST NEW FOOD TRUCK: THE SOUTHERN MAC
BEST NEW BURGER JOINT: BUTCHER & THE BURGER
BEST NEW BREAKFAST: WAFFLES
BEST NEW SPORTS BAR: PUBLIC HOUSE
BEST LOCAL CHAIN: EPIC BURGER
BEST FRO-YO CHAIN: FOREVER YOGURT
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Tony Hu of Lao Sze Chuan, Lao Hunan, Lao Beijing and Lao You Ju.