Neighborhood heroes: Foodies who are giving back
Every one of our website’s annual restaurant awards honors people who are “making the industry a better place for their teams and diners alike,” said the editors of Eater.com. The following winners of three of our national awards deserve special recognition.
OberlinProvidence, R.I. This year’s “Best Neighborhood Restaurant” answered a glaring need in the business district of Rhode Island’s capital. Chef Benjamin Sukle had won accolades for Birch, a nearby 18-seat tasting-menu restaurant, before he turned his attention to the area’s growing residential population. Now the locals have “a warm, well-lit space” where they can dine night after night on “high-caliber” renditions of simple pastas and roasted fish, or slurp down oysters and sip sake, cider, beer, and organic wine. 186 Union St., (401) 588-8755
CalaSan Francisco Celebrated Mexico City chef Gabriela Cámara didn’t launch her first U.S. venture expecting it to turn into a social project, “but that’s what ended up happening.” Her general manager, who’d worked in prisoner rights advocacy, chose to fill most staff positions with ex-convicts, and claims that second-chance ethos is paying off. The Cala team is fighting recidivism, and judging from Cala’s rave reviews, “doing it while running one of the best new restaurants in the country.” 149 Fell St., (415) 660-7701
LocolOakland and Los Angeles The mission of this new fast-food chain is “straightforward yet novel.” Launched by fine-dining chef Daniel Patterson and food-truck king Roy Choi, Locol is bent on bringing affordable, healthy, delicious fare to poor urban areas where junk food rules. Oakland and Watts came first; nine additional openings are planned for 2017. www.welocol.com