Since 1991, the James Beard Foundation has awarded the country’s best chefs and restaurants with one of the industry’s most prestigious honors. The foundation recently released its list of semifinalists for the annual ceremony, which will be whittled down into a list of finalists by March, before the awards are handed out in early June.

As the country’s foodie capital, New York City is well-represented on this list, but how did our local spots do? KRU (190 N. 14th St.) got a nod for Best New Restaurant and Erik Ramirez of Llama Inn (50 Withers St.) is in the running for Outstanding Chef. Three local chefs are contenders for Best Chef : New York State— Gerardo Alcaraz of Aldama (91 S. 6th St.), Giovanni Cervantes of Taqueria Ramírez (94 Franklin St), and Calvin Eng of Bonnie’s (398 Manhattan Ave.)

It’s especially exciting to see recent faves Bonnie’s and Taqueria Ramírez earn such acclaim, considering that we snagged interviews with them in the early days of their opening. With several promising new restaurants set to open in the coming months (Ilis, Cecily, Mariscos El Submarino), keep checking Greenpointers for the scoop on who might become your new favorite.

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