Two Kansas City businesses named James Beard Award Finalists

James Beard Awards 02 Photo Eliesa Johnson

Photographs of the 2019 James Beard Awards. // Photos by Eliesa Johnson and Melissa Hesse of The Restaurant Project® 2019Y

The James Beard Awards announced their 2023 finalists today during a live ceremony at the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville. Two Kansas City favorites were in the mix: Drastic Measures for “Outstanding Bar” and Yoli Tortilleria for “Outstanding Bakery.”

The James Beard Foundation recognizes the crème de la crème of restaurants and chefs across the United States. It is a non profit organization that is focused on lifting up people in the food industry and creating a standard of good food based on using quality ingredients and dedication in the kitchen.

“The James Beard Awards celebrate outstanding achievement and exceptional culinary talent, as well as all those doing incredible work on behalf of our communities and wider food system. This year’s nominees, winners, and honorees are inspiring exemplars of that,” says Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “We congratulate all those recognized today and look forward to celebrating them at another exciting Awards Weekend in Chicago this June.”

Drastic Measures is a cocktails-only bar and a staple of Shawnee, KS. They have cultivated a diverse menu and an upscale yet welcoming atmosphere. They also use their space to host special events for the public, like their upcoming “Foraging for Cocktails” tasting event.

Yoli Tortilleria was founded by Mark and Marissa Gencarelli when they saw a need for authentic, delicious tortillas in Kansas City. The bakery uses fresh ingredients in all of their dishes and promotes community engagement through their Eat Yoli zine.

This is the first year that the foundation is recognizing Outstanding Bakery as an award category, highlighting skilled bakers and restaurants that give back to their neighborhoods.

Just to be selected as a finalist is an astonishing accomplishment. Both establishments had to beat out 15 other semi-finalists in their award categories. Judges, selected by the James Beard Foundation, visited each semi-finalist location and scored their dining experience. The top five results moved on as finalists.

To determine the winners, the judges will visit the locations again.

Winners will be announced at the 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony in Chicago, June 5 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Tickets for this event will be on sale March 31 at 6 p.m. It will also be live-streamed on Eater and will premiere on the Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, and Destination America.

Categories: Food & Drink