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Only One Philadelphia Restaurant Makes Final James Beard Award List

Konstantinos Pitsillides, a semifinalist for best chef in the region, says he cooks for customers not awards. (credit: Paul Kurtz)

Konstantinos Pitsillides, a semifinalist for best chef in the region, says he cooks for customers not awards. (credit: Paul Kurtz)

By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Despite Philadelphia’s reputation as a great restaurant city, it will be lightly represented when the annual James Beard Awards are announced in early May.

Only one restaurant made the final cut: Vetri at 13th and Spruce. More than a dozen other establishments and stars were left behind as semifinalists, including Konstantinos Pitsillides, who was again up for best chef/Mid-Atlantic for the Greek/Cypriot fare he serves at Kanella, three blocks east of Vetri.

“We are only a 44 seat restaurant and to be able to get nominated twice in three years, within the four year period of our opening, that says a lot about this place,” Pitsillides says. “My aim is not James Beard, it’s just my customers.”

Standard Tap, a pioneer venue for local craft beer, was a first time semifinalist in the Outstanding Bar program, and co-owner Paul Kimport says he is honored.

“We do it with a draft only and local beer thing that is based on a loose 70 mile radius of our location and then of course we take the same approach to where we buy our pork and everything else.”

The Farm and Fisherman, Tashan and Zeppoli, were also cited as best new restaurant semifinalists.

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