New Chefs Tired of Same Old "Top Restaurants in USA" Lists

Accustomed to always seeing the French Laundry in Yountville, La Azteca Tortilleria in East Los Angeles and Alinea in Chicago on the lists of America's greatest restaurants., some new breed chefs are calling for a guidebook that will focus on dining establishments under three years old. 

"La Azteca, the French Laundry, Alinea Terra, Le Bernardin, Quince, Del Posto these places are great, but everyone knows that, so they end up just taking up space on these lists of America's best restaurants, " said William "Change Only " Penderson, whose eponymous bistro just outside of Kalamazoo has garnered raves reviews, but no national attention.  "Give the new guys some recognition."

Penderson, and many other chefs applaud the efforts of Food  & Wine's "10 Best New Chefs" issue, but complain, probably out of jealously, that the same "supper" stars are in every issue of every food magazine  

"You pick up any food magazine and chances are the Villa family from La Azteca in East L.A., or Thomas Keller and one of his chefs from the French Laundry or Per Se, or some Joel Robuchon alumni will be featured," said Cardella "Backpack" Brown, whose "Juicy Rumps" in Camden, NJ, is considered the   "Hood " restaurant in the country.  

"I love those places, I do. Last week I finally got into La Azteca and it was fantastic," Backpack Brown said. "I had the best - and simpliest - carne asada burrito on the best flour tortilla I have ever eaten.  Five bucks and 50 cent! And a chile relleno that made me see the importance of the New Relleno Movement. Daughter Cynthia is charming the front of the house, son Chris, too. Mom Candy and dad Juan in the kitchen cooking. Like the first time i went to the French Laundry, it lived up to the hype. but everybody knows La Azteca is great.  Let some us newcomers get in on the sunshine."


The French Laundry is at 6640 Washington Street, Yountville, California. 94599 (707) 944-2380. Call for hours. Drive-through on Friday and Saturday nights only. 

La Azteca Tortilleria is at 4538 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, Calif. 90022 ( 323) 262-5977. Open Tuesday - Sunday 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.. 

Alinea is at 1723 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, Ill. 60614 (312) 867-0110 Call for hours. Red, purple, blue and orange hoodies not allowed.

Terra is at 1345 Railroad Ave., St Helena, Calif.  94574  (707) 963-8931. Diners ordering bone-in steaks Must claim bone before owner Lissa Doumani does.

Change Only is at 321 W. Dickman Road, Battle Creek Michigan. No phone. Restaurant does not accept credit cards, dollar bills or wrapped coins. Loose change only.

Juicy Rumps is at 89 Main Street Camden, New Jersey. Open 24 hours. No phone  

Main dining room of La Azteca, 

Main dining room of La Azteca,