After twenty years, eight nominations and endless servings of filet mignon, San Francisco's Boulevard restaurant has taken home the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant – the highest honor in the nation.
The award was announced at Monday night's 25th annual James Beard Award ceremony in New York
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"We're all really excited about it," said Boulevard Chef de Cuisine Tim Quaintance to The Huffington Post. "This is something we work towards all the time, but it's really nice to get the recognition. We're extremely proud."
Boulevard Chef and Owner Nancy Oakes shared the award with her partner Pat Kuleto - one of the Bay Area's most famous names in food. The restaurant has been nominated eight times in the past ten years, but this year was the first time Boulevard took home the title. A restaurant can only win the award once.
"I'd like to think that more people have gotten out here to actually experience Boulevard," said Quaintance. "We've really been focused on keeping our standards high while evolving. We've also had a core group here for a long time; I've worked at Boulevard for 18 years – some of the people here worked at other restaurants with Nancy before. That really builds consistency."
New York dominated this year's ceremony, with several nods to Los Angeles, as well. While several Bay Area names were nominated, Boulevard was the only winner of the night. However, San Francisco pastry chef and author Emily Luchetti was inducted into the Who's Who of Food & Beverage – the foundation's hall of fame.
Boulevard's Outstanding Restaurant award was significant not only because it singled out Boulevard over every other restaurant in the country, but because it was the first time the award has returned to the West Coast since French Laundry took the prize in 2006. Only a handful of other Bay Area restaurants hold the honor.
So how did the team celebrate the honor?
"We had a reception here afterwards, and they [Oakes and team at the awards ceremony] went out last night," said Quaintance. "I have no idea how late they were out – they might still be out!"
Check out photos of the winners and the awards ceremony in our slideshow below. Bravo Boulevard!