Food & Wine magazine announced Tuesday that two Texas places had made its list of the ten Best New Restaurants of 2019: Suerte, in Austin (which gained the number two spot), and Indigo, in Houston (which claimed seventh place). Only two other states, California and New York, had two winners each. The news was especially gratifying, coming on the heels of Texas’s surprising shut-out in the James Beard Awards this month.
Suerte, which opened in March 2018 on Austin’s booming East Side, emphasizes interior Mexican dishes, with a special focus on heirloom corn. Of the Food & Wine announcement, owner Sam Hellman-Mass said that he and chef Fermín Núñez “were honored to represent Austin, Texas, among such incredible company.” He added, “It has been so much fun sharing handmade tortillas and mezcal with all of the guests who have visited us.”
Indigo chef Jonny Rhodes was also thrilled. “Recognition like this is not only incredibly flattering but also allows us to spread the mission of Indigo and highlight the inequalities of American foodways on a national stage,” he said. “When my kids are my age and they ask Daddy what he did back in the day, I can truthfully say that I fought vigorously for their future, because food is the base of life.” Since opening in July 2018, the twelve-seat restaurant has received national recognition for its creative fare, which it calls neo-soul food. During dinner service, Rhodes explains the significance of each dish in African American culture.
In our roundup of the state’s best new restaurants in March, Texas Monthly also recognized Suerte and Indigo, placing them at numbers two and eight, respectively. Petra and the Beast claimed the seventh spot.