GAYOT’s 2020 Restaurant Awards

By Sophie Gayot

December 9, 2020

Each year around this time, we publish our “Restaurant Issue” in which we bestow awards on restaurants in America for their accomplishments over the course of the last 12 months. The recurring categories include the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., the Best New Restaurants in the U.S., and Best Restaurateur.

As we have all been experiencing, 2020 is an unprecedented year. The least we can say is that restaurants have not been able to operate normally. Depending on the period of time, the state, the county, and, sometimes, the city, the health orders have been different and have continuously evolved depending on the case numbers and court rulings. Some can have dine-in, others can solely provide outdoor dining, and many can only offer takeout and delivery (most of the time, using platforms costing them an important commission). We know and we have seen it — chefs and restaurateurs have put their imagination to the task. They have come up with great ideas to attract and retain diners, turning unthinkable spaces into pleasant patios when they did not already have one. They have made important investments for the protection of their employees and of the diners. We have seen staff working for hours wearing both a mask and a visor while keeping a smile on their face and being courteous. If they have done it to retain their job, they also have done it for us so we could enjoy a meal outside of the house while we are seated maskless. Have you ever ventured into a restaurant’s kitchen where, most of the time, the heat is unbearable? Imagine being in there with a mask for eight hours…

It has become clear that we love our restaurants, and don’t want to see them shutter. In support of the restaurant industry, which by the way, involves much more than the team you can see in the restaurant, we have decided that all the restaurants in operation in 2020 are GAYOT’s winners.

We are very sad to see that the pandemic has forced many restaurants to close forever, but we are also happy to see that the culinary level in America is in constant elevation. It is a very good thing, because it triggers a “chain of command” of “requiring better” in many other domains. Wouldn’t you agree that if you have better food (which implies better ingredients), wouldn’t you want better music, better art, better movies, better books? Wouldn’t you better respect your surroundings? That would be your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues… not forgetting the environment, our legacy to our children and grandchildren and all the generations to come.

We feel very hopeful with the prospect of the COVID-19 vaccine. Yesterday marked the first time the vaccine was administered to someone outside of a clinical trial, a 90-year-old lady in the UK.  [UPDATE 12/15/2020: Shipments of it are starting to arrive across the U.S.] The beginning of our victory against the virus is now a reality. We think we can all say that we are impatiently looking to close this chapter of our life and move to 2021. We wish you all good health and present our condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

To the next year!