It is time now—drumroll, trumpets, etc.—to announce the winners of the 2012 Eater Awards. In over a dozen categories in 19 cities, the winners comprise a diverse group of the finest and most interesting chefs, operators, and characters in the country. We applaud them. You are hereby instructed to applaud them. So, without further ado—actually, a few quick pre-ambling thoughts....
To recap, Eater's local editors in 19 cities nominated candidates for five major local categories: Restaurant of the Year, So Hot Right Now Restaurant, Chef of the Year, Bartender of the Year, and Stone Cold Stunner. Eater readers then voted to narrow the field to a final three in each category. From that final three, the Eater editorial team chose the winner. Our Eater National brain trust then got together to decide the national winners for those categories. In addition to these main stage winners, said Eater editorial team has named worthy winners in more specialized categories, for myriad notable achievements.
Nominees and winners alike will be feted at a party tonight in Manhattan. Those winners that couldn't make it should watch their mail for packages containing cans of Italian peeled tomatoes. And now, without further ado, the winners in Los Angeles.
Click through for the full rundown of winners across the country on Eater National.
Eater Awards 2012
Restaurant of the Year
Nominees: Spago, Water Grill
Finalists: 800 Degrees, Mo-Chica
Winner: Bäco Mercat
Chef of the Year
Nominees: Casey Lane, Chad Colby
Finalists: Bernhard Meiringer, Josef Centeno
Winner: Jason Neroni
So Hot Right Now
Nominees: Spago, Nobu Malibu
Finalists: Superba Snack Bar, Messhall
Winner: Laurel Hardware
Bartender of the Year
Nominees: Vincenzo Marianella, Aidan Demarest
Finalists: Devon Espinosa, Mia Sarazen
Winner: Josh Goldman/Julian Cox
Stone Cold Stunner
Nominees: Farmshop, Ray's/Stark Bar
Finalists: Superba Snack Bar, M.B. Post
Winner: Bill Chait