After nearly a week of intensive reader voting, today we announce the winners of the eighth annual Eater Awards, celebrating the chefs and restaurants that made the largest impact on all 24 Eater cities over the past twelve months.
Here now are the establishments — from raw bars and cocktail dens to live-fire neighborhood spots and out-of-town imports — that have taken the Nashville food world by storm. Thank you to everyone who voted last week, and congratulations to the winners of the readers’ choice and editors’ choice awards. Read on to learn more about this year’s best of the best. Editor’s Choice winners will receive an illustrious tomato can trophy via FedEx, along with a full feature on Eater in the coming year.
Chef of the Year
Urban Cowboy Public House, East Nashville
For years, Tom Bayless has worked in the kitchens of top tier Nashville restaurants, helping to open The Catbird Seat, then Bastion. But in Urban Cowboy Public House, tucked away behind a bed and breakfast in East Nashville’s Lockeland Springs neighborhood, Bayless has been given the opportunity to show his creative vision, utilizing the restaurant and bar’s focus on live-fire cooking to create some of the year’s best and most memorable dishes.
Chef of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Tom Bayless, Urban Cowboy Public House
Restaurant of the Year
Henrietta Red, Germantown
One of the most anticipated openings of the year, Henrietta Red is the culmination of years of planning, plotting, and patience by executive chef Julia Sullivan and GM/sommelier Allie Poindexter. The space is bright and beautiful, the raw bar program is the best in the city, Poindexter’s wine selection is interesting and approachable, and Sullivan, after working her way through some of the best restaurants in the country, finally has the stage to fully showcase her own personal style of cooking
Restaurant of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Henley
Design of the Year
Henrietta Red, Germantown
The crisp, bright, coastal vibes at Henrietta Red are not found anywhere else in Nashville. The restaurant, designed by GM/sommelier Allie Poindexter’s sister Kathryn Lager of Kathryn Lager Design Studio out of Los Angeles and local firm Manuel Zeitlin Architects, is the perfect balance of light and dark tones, with a natural flow through the space, from the barroom to the oyster bar and main dining room. It’s not what one would expect to find on this busy corner in Germantown, which makes it all the more a standout.
Design of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Tánsuŏ
New Bar Program of the Year
It’s been a strong year for new bars and bar programs in Nashville, but the creations from Henley’s head barman Jonathan Howard were real standouts. Howard’s challenge was to create cocktails that could match the inventiveness and complexity of executive chef R.J. Cooper’s dishes, and he certainly stepped up to the plate, utilizing ingredients and flavor combinations that kick things up a notch from the usual offerings.
New Bar Program of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club
Restaurant Import of the Year
Chef and owner Gerard Craft’s first restaurant outside of his home base of St. Louis has been an instant hit, and it ticks all the boxes. Looking for a fun date night spot? Grab a couple of seats at the chef’s counter and watch the kitchen whip up some of the best pastas and pizzas in town. Group dinner for ten? Not a problem. Want to take the kids? The dining room is lively and has a children’s menu on offer. Add a full bar and executive pastry chef Mathew Rice’s excellent desserts and gelatos, and Pastaria truly has something for everyone.
Restaurant Import of the Year Readers’ Choice Winner: Pastaria