My Table magazine is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2011 Houston Culinary Awards. This is the 15th year for our awards program, which celebrates Houston’s best restaurants, chefs, mixologists, service, bakeries, bars, food trucks, food blogs and more. (Scroll down to see the awards finalists.) Actual voting begins Monday, August 1.

2010 Foodie Star Award winners for Favorite Food Truck, Little Miss Cupcake (twins Sarah and Emily Giffin)

So how did we come up with the seven finalists in each category? In June we assembled a nominating committee of 16 local foodies for a meeting in the community room at Central Market. The committee included representatives from the culinary awards sponsors, food journalists (both freelance and staff), local food bloggers and culinarians. We started with as many nominees in each category as we could possibly think of. A lively discussion fueled by wine, cheese and charcuterie ensued, and even more names were tossed into the stew. After 90 minutes, each committee member turned in his/her completed ballot. (A few committee members who could not be at the meeting had to vote via email.) All of their choices were recorded by a non-voting helper, and the list of finalists you see below was compiled.

All finalists were vetted — e.g. we checked the birth dates of the Up-and-Coming Chef of the Year candidates, and places of employment were confirmed. However, a few people have changed jobs since June, so we’ve tweaked the list below to reflect that. Voting begins on Monday, August 1, and continues through Friday, September 9. One vote per person, please!

Twenty-five awards will be given at our gala dinner on Sunday, October 2, at the Hilton Hotel on the University of Houston campus. This is the magazine’s biggest night of the year, with cocktails, sit-down dinner and free-flowing wine. Our meal this year will be prepared by a team of Houston’s brightest young chefs, and we hope to see you there.

Voting for the 2011 Houston Culinary Awards and ticket sales for the dinner both begin Monday, August 1, at



(2010 winner: Alex Brennan-Martin)

Claire Smith (Canopy, Shade)

Harris & Chris Pappas (Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Pappasito’s, etc.)

Marco Wiles (Da Marco, Dolce Vita, Poscól)

Mark Cox (Mark’s American Cuisine)

Schiller-Del Grande (Cafe Annie, The Grove, etc.)

Tracy Vaught (Backstreet Cafe, Hugo’s, Trevisio)

Elouise Adams Jones (Ouisie’s Table, The Bird & The Bear)




(2010 winner: Chris Shepherd)

Anita Jaisinghani (Indika, Pondicheri)

David Denis (Le Mistral)

Hugo Ortega (Hugo’s, Backstreet Cafe)

Marco Wiles (Da Marco, Dolce Vita, Poscól)

Mark Cox (Mark’s American Cuisine)

Randy Evans (Haven)

Ryan Pera (Revival Market)


UP-AND-COMING CHEF OF THE YEAR (age 35 or younger)

(2010 winner: David Cordúa)

Brandon Fisch, 25 (Xuco Xicana)

David Grossman, 32 (Branch Water Tavern)

Grant Gordon, 25 (Tony’s)

Jason Chaney, 30 (The Barbed Rose)

Jeramie Robison, 27 (Restaurant Cinq)

Philippe Gaston, 31 (Haven)

Rolando Soza, 35 (Bistro Alex)




(2010 winner: The Tasting Room)

13 Celsius



Mockingbird Bistro

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

RDG + Bar Annie

Vic & Anthony’s


PASTRY CHEF OF THE YEAR (includes breadmakers)

(2010 winner: Ruben Ortega)

Bobby Jucker (Three Brothers Bakery)

Chris Leung (Bootsie’s Heritage Cafe, Tomball)

Dominique Bocquier (Au Petit Paris)

Heath Wendell (Slow Dough)

Sara Brook (The Dessert Gallery)

Scott Tycer (Kraftsmen Baking)

Michael Savino (Michael’s Cookie Jar)





(2010 winner: Capital Grille)


Branch Water Tavern


Downing Street Ltd.


Mockingbird Bistro

Truluck’s Steak & Stone Crab


SERVICE PERSON OF THE YEAR (includes dining room managers)

(2010 winner: Sean Beck)

Arthur Mooradian (Del Frisco’s)

Brandon Busch (La Griglia)

Charles Criswell (Eddie V’s, CityCentre location)

Hector Andrade (Mockingbird Bistro)

Jon Paul (The Steakhouse, Galveston)

Mary Donna Moceri (Grotto)

Tim Neely (Rainbow Lodge)


HOUSTON CLASSIC (a restaurant in business for 10 or more years)

(2010 winner: Carrabba’s)

Backstreet Cafe

Brenner’s Steakhouse (Katy Fwy. location)

Niko Niko’s

Original Ninfa’s on Navigation

Ouisie’s Table

Pico’s Mex-Mex





(2010 winner: Américas/The Woodlands)

Américas (River Oaks)

Bistro Alex

Brasserie 19


Gigi’s Asian Bistro

Philippe Restaurant + Lounge




BEST NEW RESTAURANT (must have opened since June 1, 2010)

(2010 winner: Haven)

Ava Kitchen & Whiskey Bar

Eddie V’s (West Ave location)

El Real Tex-Mex Cafe

Philippe Restaurant + Lounge


The Barbed Rose

Trattoria Il Mulino









1. Favorite Bakery

(2010 winner: French Riviera Bakery & Cafe)

Dessert Gallery

El Bolillo

Kraftsmen Baking

Pie in the Sky

Rustika Cafe & Bakery

Slow Dough Bread Co.

Three Brothers Bakery


2. Favorite Barbecue

(2010 winner: Goode Co. Texas Barbeque)

Burns Bar B Q

Gatlin’s BBQ

Luling City Market

Pierson & Co. BBQ

Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Que

The Swinging Door

Thelma’s Barbecue


3. Favorite Breakfast

(2010 winner: Buffalo Grille)

Avalon Diner


The Breakfast Klub

Fountain View Cafe

Kenny & Ziggy’s

Ouisie’s Table

Tiny Boxwood’s


4. Favorite Burger

(2010 winner: Becks Prime)

Bellaire Broiler Burger

Christian’s Tailgate

Goode Co. Hamburgers & Taqueria

Hubcap Burger Grill

Jax’s Burgers, Fries & Shakes

Little Bitty Burger Barn

The Shack (fka The Love Shack)


5. Favorite Coffeehouse

(2010 winner: Empire Cafe)


Antidote Coffee

Black Hole Coffee House


Catalina Coffee

Inversion Coffee House

Greenway Coffee & Tea


6. Favorite Houston Food Blog

(2010 winner: Cook’s Tour)

29.95 (Houston Chronicle)

Delicious Mischief (John DeMers)

Dude, You Going to Eat That? (Dr. Ricky)

Eating Our Words (Houston Press)

Guns & Tacos (Jay Rascoe)

Houston Foodie (J.C. Reid)

Texas Eats (Robb Walsh)


7. Favorite Mom & Pop Ethnic

(2010 winner: Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill)

Cafe Pita+ (Bosnian)

El Rey (Mexican)

Huynh (Vietnamese)

Irma’s (Mexican)

Mai’s (Vietnamese)

Niko Niko’s (Greek)

Rudi Lechner’s (German)


8. Favorite Food Truck/Cart

(2010 winner: Little Miss Cupcake)

Bernie’s Burger Bus

Eatsie Boys

Fusion Taco

Jarro Cafe

Oh My Pocket Pies

Tacos Tierra Caliente

The Rolling Hunger


9. Favorite Late Night Spot (serves food after 11 pm)

(2010 winner: House of Pies)

BB’s Cafe (Montrose location)

Dot’s Coffee Shop

Katz’s Deli


Spanish Flowers

Tacos A Go-Go

Tan Tan


10. Favorite Mixologist

(2010 winner: Sean Beck)

Alba Huerta (Anvil Bar & Refuge)

Bobby Heugel (Anvil Bar & Refuge)

Claire Sprouse (formerly at Grand Prize)

James Watkins (Soma)

John Klotz (Brewery Tap)

Justin T. Burrow (Haven)

Mindy Kucan (Anvil Bar & Refuge)


11. Favorite Outdoor Dining

(2010 winner: Backstreet Cafe)


Brenner’s on the Bayou


Ouisie’s Table

Raven Grill

RDG + Bar Annie

The Grove


12. Favorite Supermarket

(2010 winner: Central Market)

99 Ranch Market



Hubbell & Hudson

Phoenicia Specialty Foods

Revival Market

Whole Foods


13. Favorite Pub or Bar

(2010 winner: Anvil Bar & Refuge)

Bar Annie

Downing Street Ltd.

Kenneally’s Irish Pub


McGonigel’s Mucky Duck

The Ginger Man

West Alabama Ice House


14. Favorite Sweets/Ice Cream

(2010 winner: The Chocolate Bar)

Amy’s Ice Creams

Araya Artisan Chocolate

Dessert Gallery

Gelato Blu

Hank’s Ice Cream Parlor

Ooh La La Dessert Boutique

Sweet Lola Yogurt Bar


15. Favorite Wine Seller

(2010 winner: Spec’s)

13 Celsius

Central Market


French Country Wines

Houston Wine Merchant

Sonoma Retail Wine Bar & Boutique

The Tasting Room