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New England’s 2024 James Beard Award Semifinalists

Dorchester’s Comfort Kitchen and Downtown Crossing wine bar Haley.Henry made the list

Eight colorful plates filled with food and arranged on a beige table.
One of the buzziest openings in Boston last year, Comfort Kitchen, is a James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.
Malakhai Pearson/Eater Boston
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

It’s that time of year again: The James Beard Awards are back. The food industry non-profit announced today the semifinalist list for its annual awards show that highlights restaurants and chefs across the country.

Boston chefs, bars, and restaurants nabbed semifinalist nods across three categories, including Comfort Kitchen, up for Best New Restaurant; Haley.Henry and Rebel Rebel, up for Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages; and a range of local chefs nominated for Best Chef: Northeast, including Cecelia Lizotte of Suya Joint, Laurence Louie of Rubato, and Patricia Estorino of Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar.

Some of the semifinalists are familiar faces from last year’s list: Chef Rachel Miller of Lynn tasting menu hot spot Nightshade Noodle Bar was a finalist for Outstanding Chef in 2023; this year, she’s up for Best Chef: Northeast. This is the third time that snug Somerville wine bar Rebel Rebel has gotten a nod from James Beard, and the second time in a row that the bar has been named a semifinalist in the Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages category. Tracy Chang’s Cambridge restaurant Pagu was a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant last year; this time around, Chang is a semifinalist for Best Chef: Northeast.

This is the first James Beard semifinalist nod for Cecelia Lizotte, who runs the excellent West African restaurant Suya Joint in Roxbury. Likewise, Laurence Louie of the award-winning Rubato in Quincy and chef Conor Dennehy of Talulla, a tasting menu spot in Cambridge, are first-time James Beard semifinalists this year.

Across New England, semifinalists included Renee Touponce of the Port of Call in Mystic, Connecticut for Outstanding Chef; Sky Haneul Kim of Gift Horse in Providence, Rhode Island for Emerging Chef; and Kristina Zontini of Super Secret Ice Cream in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, in the category for Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker.

Next up, the semifinalists will be whittled down to a short list of finalists that will be announced on Wednesday, April 3. Winners will be announced in an awards presentation on Monday, June 10 in Chicago.

Check out the full list of New England semifinalists below:

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Cara Stadler and Cecile Stadler, BaoBao Dumpling House, Tao Yuan Restaurant, and ZaoZe Cafe & Market, Portland, ME
  • Chris Viaud, Greenleaf, Ansanm, and Pavilion, Milford, NH

Outstanding Chef

  • Renee Touponce, The Port of Call, Mystic, CT

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Bywater, Warren, RI
  • Coracora, West Hartford, CT

Emerging Chef

  • Sky Haneul Kim, Gift Horse, Providence, RI
  • Joe Robbins, Bissell Brothers Three Rivers Kitchen, Milo, ME

Best New Restaurant

(Note: Restaurants that opened between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023 were considered eligible for this award.)

  • The Alna Store, Alna, ME
  • Comfort Kitchen, Dorchester, MA
  • Tuxpan Taqueria, Central Falls, RI

Outstanding Bakery

  • ZU Bakery, Portland, ME

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

  • Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery, Portland, ME
  • Kristina Zontini, Super Secret Ice Cream, Bethlehem, NH

Outstanding Hospitality

  • Giusto, Newport, RI
  • Woodford Food & Beverage, Portland, ME

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

  • Haley.Henry, Boston, MA
  • Rebel Rebel, Somerville, MA

Outstanding Bar

  • Barr Hill Cocktail Bar, Montpelier, VT
  • Courtland Club, Providence, RI

Best Chef: Northeast

  • Celia Bruns, Artemisia Cafe, Portland, ME
  • Peter Carvelli, Foglia, Bristol, RI
  • Tracy Chang, Pagu, Cambridge, MA
  • Cara Chigazola Tobin, Honey Road, Burlington, VT
  • John daSilva, Chickadee, Boston, MA
  • Conor Dennehy, Talulla, Cambridge, MA
  • Subat Dilmurat, Jahunger, Providence, RI
  • Ian Driscoll, Bar Futo, Portland, ME
  • Patricia Estorino, Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar, Cambridge, MA
  • Lee Frank, Otis Restaurant, Exeter, NH
  • Valerie Goldman, The Honey Paw, Portland, ME
  • Cecelia Lizotte, Suya Joint, Boston, MA
  • Laurence Louie, Rubato, Quincy, MA
  • Maria Meza, Dolores, Providence, RI
  • Rachel Miller, Nightshade Noodle Bar, Lynn, MA
  • David Standridge, The Shipwright’s Daughter, Mystic, CT
  • Jake Stevens, Leeward, Portland, ME
  • Micah Tavelli, Paradiso Hi-Fi, Burlington, VT
  • Andy Teixeira, Newport Vineyards, Middletown, RI
  • Basil Yu, Yagi Noodles, Newport, RI

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.