Jamie Malone's Grand Cafe is one of the country's best restaurants

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Oh yeah, and Malone takes home Dish of the Year honors to boot. Alma Guzman

You may recall how we were just the littlest bit salty last month upon learning that Grand Cafe -- a City Pages favorite and 2018 James Beard Award semifinalist in more categories than one -- didn't make the cut as a JBA finalist this year.

"Kind of a drag," we said, by which we meant, "Sort of feels like chef Jamie Malone may have been royally robbed, here."

Well wouldn't you know it, but we got a little bit of validation this morning. Food & Wine Magazine, "after a six-month, 37,000-mile odyssey and countless dining rooms," has announced its 10 Restaurants of the Year. And Grand Cafe?

Yeah. It's one of 'em.

In singing its praises, the mag first dives into the restaurant's "long and storied life" (Malone's Grand Cafe, as you may know, is a reboot of the 70-year-old bakery turned restaurant), even including a nod to blues pianist Cornbread Harris. Then, they get into what makes Malone's version so special.

"The Grand Cafe of 2018 preserves the soul of the original: Decades later, the gas oven still fires like a dream, and at 91, Harris still plays at the Grand Cafe every Sunday night," F&W staffers write. "But there are also Malone’s gentle tweaks, which elevate the old girl: You might drink en rama sherry instead of Burgundy beneath the hand-painted palm frond wallpaper. You can now wave down a roving marble cart set with a rich, nutty Tennessee ham."

More specifically, they shout out Malone's Paris-Brest -- which is also their pick for Dish of the Year. The dessert, with black honey-coated pastry surrounding an "ethereal" chicken liver mousse, actually appears in all of its savory-sweet glory on the magazine's May cover, as the Strib's Rick Nelson notes

You can read up on Food & Wine's full list of winners here.

And, uh, if you haven't yet been to Grand Cafe?

Now might be the time to go. You can make those reservations here


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