1. Franklin Barbecue, 39 pts
What to order: Everything, especially the brisket, sausage, and pulled pork
The winner by the slightest of margins, Aaron Franklin’s bellwether continues to attract lines up to five hours long. The restaurant recently closed temporarily to expand their kitchen space, but re-opened just in time for a visit from President Obama. Franklin’s brisket is simply one of the best things you can eat in the state of Texas, and his consistency is a model for the craft. Eating here requires planning and patience, but brisket fans should accept the challenge at least once.
Seating: Indoor and patio
Others receiving votes: Live Oak Barbecue, Mann’s Smokehouse, Rudy’s, Iron Works, Bowie BBQ (Whole Foods Market), Green Mesquite.
Jessica Sanders, drink.well:
Jessica Sanders is co-owner of North Loop’s popular cocktail bar and restaurant drink.well. She is also the secretary of the Austin chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild.
June Rodil, McGuire Moorman Hospitality:
After successful stints at Congress and Qui, June Rodil now heads the beverage programs at MMH, which include popular Austin restaurants like Jeffrey’s, Perla’s, Lambert’s, Clark’s, and Elizabeth Street Cafe.
Drew Curren, ELM Restaurant Group:
Drew Curren is the executive chef at the ELM group’s 24 Diner, Easy Tiger, and Arro. A fourth ELM restaurant focused on Italian food will arrive later this year Downtown.
Janina O’Leary, LaV Austin:
Janina O’Leary is head pastry chef at East Austin’s acclaimed LaV restaurant.
Josh Loving, Half Step:
Josh Loving is one of Austin’s perennial favorite bartenders. After working at Jeffrey’s, Weather Up, FINO, and Midnight Cowboy, Loving is currently consulting on the beverage program at Olamaie and developing a bar concept.
Bill Norris, Alamo Drafthouse:
Bill Norris is the beverage director for the Alamo Drafthouse. He oversees the drink programs at all cinema locations, as well as the Highball, Glass Half Full, and 400 Rabbits bars.
Paula Rester, Congress Austin:
Paula Rester is the beverage director at Congress Austin. She is also currently working on new concepts with David Bull’s La Corsha group, including the upcoming Boiler Nine at Seaholm.
Grae Nonas, Olamaie:
Grae Nonas is an alum of Son Of A Gun in Los Angeles and Lenoir in Austin. Along with co-conspirator Michael Fojtasek, he is scheduled to open the Southern-focused Olamaie later this Summer on San Antonio St.
Mark Schmidt, Blackbird & Henry:
After a successful run at Cafe 909 in Marble Falls, Mark Schmidt launched the upscale tavern Blackbird & Henry near the University of Texas earlier this year.
Matt Wright, Wright Bros. Brew & Brew:
Matt Wright is the co-owner of 78702’s new Wright Bros. Brew & Brew, a craft coffee and beer bar in the former Progress Coffee space.
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