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Eater Awards 2015: Announcing the Detroit Winners

Announcing this year’s best new restaurants and more

Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

It is now time — drumroll, please — to announce the winners of the 2015 Eater Awards in Detroit. These winners comprise a diverse group of the finest and most interesting chefs, restaurants, and bartenders in the city. They’ve defined this year in dining, and we applaud them.

First, a quick recap: Eater's local editors in 24 cities nominated candidates for five major categories: Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, Bartender of the Year, So Hot Right Now Restaurant, and Stone Cold Stunner. These awards are geared toward places that have opened in about the past year, or people who have become involved in new ventures or otherwise changed the game in that time, which is why many renowned veterans don't appear. Eater readers then voted to narrow the field to a final three in each category. From that final three, the Eater editorial team chose one to move forward. The national winners can be viewed here, but now, without further ado, here's who came out on top in Detroit.

Eater Awards 2015

Michelle and Chris Gerard

Restaurant of the Year

Nominees: Republic, Selden Standard, Mabel Gray, Antietam, Gold Cash Gold
Finalists: Mabel Gray, Gold Cash Gold, Republic
Winner: Republic

Sarah Welch (left) [Facebook/Republic]

Chef of the Year

Nominees: Doug Hewitt Jr. (Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails), Sarah Welch (Republic/Parks & Rec), Josh Stockton (Gold Cash Gold), Andy Hollyday (Selden Standard), Garrett Lipar (Marais)
Finalists: Josh Stockton, Doug Hewitt Jr., Sarah Welch
Winner: Sarah Welch

It can prove challenging to follow in the footsteps of a predecessor whose name is so closely entwined with two restaurants — even more difficult to define your own style as a chef while maintaining continuity between past and present. But Sarah Welch has accomplished just that, moving from sous chef to executive chef last spring. She continues to produce an exceptional nose-to-tail eating experience at Republic and doesn't shy away from introducing personal touches like her family's recipe for pepper bread. In Republic's sister restaurant Parks and Rec, Welch further expressed her point-of-view in the kitchen by delivering a chef-driven menu in a laid-back diner.

Bartender of the Year

Nominees: Rudy Leon (Selden Standard), Dorothy Elizabeth (formerly Republic), Chas Williams (The Oakland), Kaytee Querro (Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails), Evan Dawber (The Keep)
Finalists: Rudy Leon, Dorothy Elizabeth, Chas Williams
Winner: Rudy Leon

As part of Selden Standard's outstanding team, bar manager Rudy Leon helped define the relaxed yet refined ethos that describes the restaurant's appeal. Leon's style airs of the side of simplicity, but incorporates house-made bitters and infusions with newer liqueurs for an elevated cocktail experience.

So Hot Right Now

Nominees: Batch Brewing Company, Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles, Townhouse Detroit, Selden Standard, Jolly Pumpkin
Finalists: Batch Brewing Company, Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles, Selden Standard
Winner: Batch Brewing Company

After two years of teasing Detroiters, Batch Brewing Company debuted its nanobrewery concept last winter in Corktown and people can't seem to get enough. From the rotating selection of beer to chef Matt Johnson's enticing, yet approachable menu, Batch was well worth the wait.

Stone Cold Stunner

Nominees: Townhouse Detroit, Antietam, Republic, La Dulce, Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails
Finalists: Republic, Townhouse Detroit, Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails
Winner: Republic

Mindfield's renovations of the G.A.R. Castle returned one of downtown's stunning pieces of architecture into a worthy dining destination. Republic's design pays homage to the building's past without being chained to it. Designer Peter Gurski's flair for set design shines through in jewel-toned seating and antique mirror wall, while artist Greg Siff's expressive painting brings the restaurant firmly into the present.

Best New Bakery

Winner: Sister Pie

Eater Young Guns winner Lisa Ludwinski's charming West Village bakery produces divine pies, cookies, and other pastries, that could easily contend with some of the best shops in the country and they do it with style.

Editor: Brenna Houck
Photos by Chris and Michelle Gerard unless otherwise noted


1942 Grand River, Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 446-8360

‎Batch Brewing Company

1400 Porter St, Detroit, MI 48216 (313) 338-8008 Visit Website

Selden Standard

3921 2nd Avenue, , MI 48201 (313) 438-5055 Visit Website

Sister Pie

8066 Kercheval Avenue, , MI 48214 (313) 447-5550 Visit Website

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