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Forget star ratings: Austin's own land on Bon Appetit's 20 Most Important Restaurants in America

Forget star ratings: Austin's own land on Bon Appetit's 20 Most Important Restaurants in America

Austin Photo Set: News_caitlin_bon appetit_20 most important restaurants_feb 2013_uchi uchiko
Sushi bar at Uchi Courtesy of Jennifer Davick/Bon Appetit
Austin Photo Set: News_caitlin_bon appetit_20 most important restaurants_feb 2013_frankline barbecue sandwich
Franklin Barbecue Courtesy of Caroline Hatchett/Bon Appetit
Austin Photo Set: News_caitlin_bon appetit_20 most important restaurants_feb 2013_uchi uchiko
Austin Photo Set: News_caitlin_bon appetit_20 most important restaurants_feb 2013_frankline barbecue sandwich

This one's a little different: Instead of predictably naming the "best," "newest," or "highest rated" restaurants of the year, Bon Appetit's dedicated foodist, Andrew Knowlton, has released his list of the 20 Most Important Restaurants in America

Knowlton describes his selections as fearless restaurants that drive chefs to innovate. And wouldn't you know, two Austin favorites landed on the list.

First, Knowlton combines Uchi and Uchiko and comically reports:

I can hear the sushi snobs already: "This know-it- all is saying the best sushi in America comes from a white dude. In a 1920s bungalow! In Texas?" But yes, that is what I'm saying. Tyson Cole is the Japanese-speaking, James Beard Award–winning perfectionist behind these Austin institutions. 

Second, Knowlton lauds Franklin Barbecue as the nation's leader of all things smokey, meaty and messy. Then, he asks the man behind the pit, Aaron Franklin, a few quick questions:

How are people okay with you running out of meat?
Maybe because I tell them how we can only make so much of it and that I'm real sorry. But now running out of food is, like, a cool thing to do.

How long would you wait for barbecue? 
I can't eat barbecue anymore. I'd stand in line for a good salad, though.
 

It's nice to see that the restaurants selected by Bon Appetit have proved themselves as anything but a flash in the pan. Uchi, first opened in 2003, continues to expand without losing its unique approach to cuisine, while Mr. Franklin sticks to what works, proving that genuine, hard work pays off.

Only nine other cities can now claim themselves home to one of the 20 Most Important Restaurants in America: New York City, Napa, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Brooklyn, Portland, New Orleans and Rockland, Maine. We'd say Austin is keeping great company.