East Passyunk Ave. Teeming With James Beard Semi-Finalists; Vedge and Opa Score Lofty Praise

Will's Christopher Kearse is in the running for "Rising Star Chef" Photo: Will BYOB

In case you missed it, the James Beard Foundation dropped its annual list of restaurant and chef semi-finalists. No surprise here: big names like Marc Vetri, Stephen Starr, and Fountain Restaurant and Vetris eponymous flagship all make the list. But the big news is, Vernick Food & Drink is up for Best New Restaurant, Artisan Boulanger Patissiers Andre Chin and Amanda Eap are in the running for Outstanding Pastry Chef, and Monks Tom Peters is on list for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional.

East Passyunk Avenues booming restaurant row scored three nods, with Will BYOBs Christopher Kearse and Le Virtus Joe Cicala making the Rising Star Chef list, and aforementioned Artisan Boulanger Patissier on the pastry list. Meanwhile Bibous Pierre Calmels, Kanellas Konstantinos Pitsillides, Tashans Sylva Senat, Amis Brad Spence, Fonds Lee Styer, and Barbuzzos Marcie Turney, and Zeppolis Joey Baldino are all up for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.

The JBF announcement is hardly the only prestige local restaurateurs are bringing home. Heres a quick run-down:

Details named Opa one of this countrys best new greek restaurants, heaping praise upon the Midtown Village spots Feta-stuffed bifteki burger, and its Drury Beer Garden.

Alan Richman ranked Vedge number three on GQs The 12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013 list.