The James Beard Foundation Awards are presented annually to the nation’s culinary best: the elite. Perhaps the awards most interesting category, though, is the America’s Classic Award. Presented since 1998, this particular category has more to do with the beloved national food traditions of our countries regional restaurants. These are restaurants that serve quality food that reflects their communities.
Really, winners in this category are places that are pieces of Americana; reflections of a period or place, rather than forays into highly specialized ingredients and culinary ideas and ideals. This year, apparently, the James beard voters like their American Classics all the way. Yes, the James Beard Foundation recognized Olneyville New York System as one of America’s Classics!