Staplehouse, the Old Fourth Ward restaurant benefitting The Giving Kitchen, has already drawn a number of accolades since opening in September. Now, it has one more to add to the collection: It's landed on GQ's list of the best new restaurants in America.
GQ editor-in-chief Brett Martin has high praise for Staplehouse, which shines with its nightly tasting menus. In his travels across the country to comprise the selective list — just 12 restaurants are honored — Martin claims his "favorite meal in a new restaurant all year was at Staplehouse." His admiration boils down to the restaurant's execution as an elusive "neighborhood spot."
Is this not the promise of the Food Revolution? To sit at the bar, Rolling Stones on the sound system, cosseted by warm brick and smooth subway tiles, chatting with regulars and eating food of the highest technique and intelligence? As I traveled the country in search of what was new and wonderful in American dining, Staplehouse acted as a kind of template. It was my first intimation that the best of what's out there are small, idiosyncratic, and intelligent restaurants, homey but not patronizing, borrowing from the evolution of fine dining but making it deeply personal — the kinds of places that make you want to move to their neighborhoods.
It's been a good year for Staplehouse. In March, Atlanta Magazine's Corby Kummer awarded it four out of four stars, the first such rating bestowed by the publication since 2010. Ryan Smith was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: Southeast award, and Staplehouse as a whole was one of five finalists for the Best New Restaurant award before losing out to New Orleans' Shaya.
Joining Staplehouse on GQ's list are Baroo (Los Angeles), Cassia (Santa Monica, Calif.), Mimi (New York City), Monteverde (Chicago), Moruno (Los Angeles), Mud Hen Water (Honolulu), Petit Crenn (San Francisco), Shaya, The Perennial (San Francisco), Untitled (New York City), and Wildair (New York City).