Boulder is now home to the restaurant with the best service in the country, according to the James Beard Foundation.
At the annual James Beard Foundation Awards — also known as the Oscars of food — held in Chicago on Monday night, Frasca Food and Wine took home the award for Outstanding Service. One of the top honors at the ceremony, it’s given for “consistency and exceptional thoughtfulness in hospitality and service,” according to the foundation.
Frasca went up against five other nominated restaurants: Brigtsen’s in New Orleans, Canlis in Seattle, Saison and Swan Oyster Depot, both in San Francisco, and Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Restaurants open for at least five years were considered for all of the awards by a committee of industry experts including restaurateurs, chefs and journalists.
Frasca partners Bobby Stuckey, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and Peter Hoglund, together with general manager Rose Votta, accepted the award Monday. In his speech, Stuckey stressed the importance not only of servers, but also of the entire restaurant in giving diners a quality experience.
“I think our industry is not about front-of-the-house or back-of-the-house, it’s the whole house. And that’s what hospitality is about,” Stuckey said of Frasca’s approach. “It’s not what we do to somebody, it’s how we make them feel. (…) What we do every night is open our door and give every guest a bear hug.”
Frasca was the only Colorado restaurant that made it to the finals this year. Eight Colorado restaurants, chefs and distillers had made it to the semifinals back in February.
The Boulder fine-dining spot previously won two James Beard Awards — for best Wine Program in 2013 and Best Chef Southwest, for chef Mackinnon-Patterson, in 2008. For the past three years, it was a nominee for Outstanding Restaurant but never won.
“You don’t ever want to project that you want something like this, but quietly, as a team, we really care about hospitality,” Stuckey told The Denver Post in April, following the nomination. “To be in Boulder, Colorado, and just be spoken of in the arena is a big deal, and I think we should be honored.”
Frasca opened in 2004, bringing to Boulder a hyper-regional Northern Italian cuisine from the Friuli region. It celebrates its 15th anniversary this summer.