James Beard Award Noms — RI Shines

Rhode Island restaurants and chefs have done us proud, garnering more nominations than ever for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards. There are five RI chefs on the regional semifinalist list, two with restaurants here in Providence: Maria Meza of Dolores on Hope Street; and Subat Dilmurat of Jahunger on Wickenden Street.

We first wrote about Jahunger when it reopened three years ago following a fire. At that time Uyghur cuisine was new to the local food scene and I fell for it pretty hard. I recommend the Spicy Tiger and the hand-pulled Jahunger Noodles (below). And the dumplings.

Locals were already in love with Maria’s brand of hospitality (she visited every table, every night) and the delicious food she had been serving up at El Rancho Grande, when the Meza family opened Dolores, right before the lock down! Somehow they survived . . . a testament to their exciting menu of contemporary food from the Mixteca Region, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, as well as the innovative bar program which focused on distilled agave spirits. Check out the RI Monthly article to see the Mezas celebrating the nominations.

Gail Ciampa covered the awards in the ProJo, noting that Maria Meza will be opening a second restaurant at Track 15, the planned food hall in Providence. Ciampa notes the other two award categories where Providence garnered nominations.

Sky Hanuel Kim of Gift Horse is a semifinalist in the “Emerging Chef” category.

The category honors “a chef who displays exceptional talent, character and leadership ability, and who is likely to make a significant impact in years to come while contributing positively to their broader community.”

And Courtland Club is listed under “Best Bar.”

The speakeasy opened in 2017 at 51 Courtland St., a quiet lane between Broadway and Atwells Avenue. It was conceived of by Jason Shechtman. It’s also a performance venue with DJ sets most nights and a social club as well as a cocktail bar.

Congratulations to everyone. You make us all proud  . . . and hungry.


Jahunger Noodles: Hand-pulled noodles topped with thin slices of beef, seasoned with a tongue-numbing secret sauce prepared using Sichuan peppercorns.

Dolores on Hope Street.



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