Historic landmark restaurants, high-performers, outstanding new concepts—meet the best operators in cities that are gaining traction as culinary destinations.
Virtù Honest Craft
Mediterranean cuisine in a posh Bed and Breakfast setting, where delicacies such as ox tail and the grilled Spanish octopus are standouts, and this James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2014 elegantly blends wines and cocktails with Chef Osso's approachable menu.
Opened ∕ June 2013
Annual Sales ∕ $1–$3 million
Average Check ∕ $63
Chef/Owner∕ Gio Osso
Albuquerque, New Mexico
With 1,000 seats, El Pinto is the largest restaurant in the Southwest and has served Cinco de Mayo in the White House, delivered takeout to Air Force One, and lays claim to the largest tequila bar in the Southwest with over 160 varieties of 100 percent Blue Agave tequila.
Opened ∕ June 1962
Annual Sales ∕ $6 million
Average Check ∕ $27
Owners∕ John and Jim Thomas
izanami at Ten Thousand Waves
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Integrated into the acclaimed spa Ten Thousand Waves, izanami was a semifinalist for James Beard: Best New Restaurant in 2014, and successfully marries Southwest and Far East flavors in cuisine that includes kozara, the Japanese equivalent of Spanish tapas, along with more than 40 varieties of sake imported from small family-owned breweries in Japan.
Opened ∕ November 2013
Annual Sales ∕ $1.5 million
Average Check ∕ $40
Owner∕ Duke Klauck
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Chef Rios is a six-time James Beard semifinalist, including one for Best New Restaurant; this year he was a finalist for Best Chef: Southwest; and he has been named Chef of the Year by the state of New Mexico two times.
Opened ∕ September 2009
Annual Sales ∕ $1–$2 million
Average Check ∕ Lunch: $22, Dinner: $55
Owner∕ Chef Martin Rios and wife Jennifer
The restaurant, with just 36 seats, has plenty of character and charm, and is in a building that is more than 100 years old, accented with old barn wood and natural limestone. Chef Gilmore was a finalist this year for James Beard Best Chef: Southwest.
Opened ∕ December 2010
Annual Sales ∕ $1.7 million
Average Check ∕ $100 per person
Chef/Owner∕ Bryce Gilmore
Since it opened, every sitting president except Barack Obama has been served at this upscale restaurant that is a hybrid of seasonal French cuisine and a Texas steakhouse.
Opened ∕ 1975, purchased by current owners in April 2013
Annual Sales ∕ $4 million
Average Check ∕ $100–$125 per person
Chef/Owners∕ Larry McGuire and Tom Moorman