The family-owned restaurant, which has been cooking up Tex-Mex recipes for decades, was given an "America's Classics: Texas Edition" award by the James Beard Foundation. The foundation gave an America's Classics award to six restaurants across North and South America that have "timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of its community," according to a press release.
The other five restaurants that won their region's award are located in Montana, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine and Puerto Rico.
Joe's Bakery has been serving the East Austin community with its famous pan dulce and double-fried bacon for generations of Austinites new and old to love, share and enjoy with one another. The James Beard Foundation said one of the reasons that cemented Joe's as an Austin staple is its firm sense of community.
"It's the service and firm sense of community under the stewardship of three generations of Avila women, led by Joe’s widow Paula, that keeps people coming back again and again. A melting pot of new and old Austin, it is not unusual to find old-timers reminiscing about Austin and sharing their stories and recommendations at the breakfast counter with Joe’s Bakery newcomers," the foundation said in the release.
In addition to Joe's, several other Austin restaurants made the list of James Beard Award semifinalists. The semifinalist categories highlight bakers, chefs, bars, restaurants and more.
Only one Austinite was nominated for "Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker," and that is Mariela Camcho of Comadre Panaderia. The bakery has a "goal of nourishing the Latinx diaspora and its rich food culture with whole, organic ingredients," according to its website. Camcho is the founder and baker at the bakery.
The only wine and beverage program to make the semifinalist list in Austin is Suerte, which is "an award-winning restaurant driven by a passion for masa, an ingredient at the heart of Mexican cooking," its website details. Suerte's bar "offers some of Mexico's most unique agave and succulent spirits state-side, as well as highlighting a rotating selection of natural wines and craft cocktails," according to its website.
Three Austinites got into the semifinalist round for "Best Chef":
Only one restaurant in Austin was nominated for "Outstanding Restaurant," and the semifinalist is La Condesa. The restaurant describes itself as "where Mexico City meets Austin. La Condesa's menu features interior Mexican dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, plus a renowned bar program with one of the largest collections of 100% blue agave tequila and mezcal in the city."
The semifinalists will be selected as nominees on Wednesday, March 29, and the winners for each category will be selected on Monday, June 5.
The James Beard Foundation describes itself as a nonprofit organization "whose mission is to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability."