On Wednesday morning, the James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for its highly coveted awards, and Seattle scored a trio nominees in the national categories: Belltown’s Rob Roy is up for best bar, Copine scored a nomination for outstanding restaurant, and sisters Yenvy and Quynh-Vy Pham of Pho Bac were nominated for best restaurateur. Across the Cascades, Black Cypress in Pullman got a nod for best hospitality. In the best chefs, northwest and Pacific region category, Aaron Verzosa of Archipelago earned a nomination.
Founded in 2009 by Anu Apte, Rob Roy has become one of the centers of Seattle’s thriving cocktail scene (and Apte has since launched several other bars). It’s known for its laid-back vibe but mostly for its drinks — Rob Roy does the classics exceptionally well, but it also serves a lot of innovative drinks, including an extensive mocktail menu.
Yenvy and Quynh-Vy Pham inherited Pho Bac, supposedly the city’s first pho restaurant, from their parents, and have in recent years turned it into a mini-empire. The original Pho Bac location is now the buzzworthy brunch spot the Boat, the Denny Triangle Pho Bac has an imaginative cocktail bar upstairs called Phocific Standard Time, and Yenvy Pham opened a Little Saigon coffee shop called Hello Em. Through all these projects the sisters have cultivated an air of playfulness and invention. “We’re not pretentious,” Yenvy told the Seattle Times last year.
Copine is a Ballard restaurant run by Shaun McCrain and Jill Kinney, a true fine-dining experience in a part of town that leans toward the casual. It features an ever-changing prix fixe menu that combines classic French techniques with global influence.
Aaron Verzosa’s nomination for his work at Archipelago is going to make it even harder to score a seat at the 12-seat Hillman City tasting menu restaurant. Verzosa and his wife, Amber Manuguid, have created a dining experience that doubles as a journey through the history of Filipino influence in the Pacific Northwest. His nomination is a marker of how important Filipino cuisine is to Seattle.
Seattleites may not be familiar with the Black Cypress, from chef Tony Brown, but it is widely regarded as one of Pullman’s best restaurants. Seattle institution Lark was a semifinalist in the hospitality category along with the Black Cypress, but it was the eastern Washington landmark that made the shortlist.
The full list of James Beard finalists can be found here.
The winners will be revealed in a Chicago awards ceremony on June 5.
Update March 29 10:19 a.m.: This post has been updated to include Copine.
Correction March 30 7:00 a.m.: An earlier version of this article misstated Anu Apte’s name.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards. Eater is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to livestream the awards in 2023.