Bham’s Automatic Seafood and Oysters named James Beard Finalist for Best New Restaurant in U.S.

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Photo posted on Automatic Seafood and Oysters Facebook page by Alex Fratkin

Automatic Seafood and Oysters in Birmingham’s Lakeview District has been named a James Beard Award Finalist for the best new restaurant in the U.S. category.

According to the James Beard Foundation, the category of best new restaurant recognizes a restaurant opened in 2019 and that ″already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

Muscle Shoals Native

Owners Chris and Suzanne Evans last year at the future site of Automatic Seafood & Oysters in Lakeview. (Photo submitted)

A native of Muscle Shoals and Auburn University graduate, Automatic Seafood is Chef Adam Evans’ first restaurant in Birmingham. Before he arrived in the Magic City, he gained national attention with his seafood dishes at The Optimist, an Atlanta based restaurant when it won Esquire’s Restaurant of the Year and Bon Appétit’s Top Ten Best New Restaurants. Chef Evans also opened Atlanta’s Brezza Cucina with Chef Jonathan Waxman in 2015.

Opened in April 2019, Automatic Seafood has already notched a couple of best new restaurant honors in its inaugural year. In November, it was named by both Esquire Magazine and Thillist as one of the best new restaurants in America. 

We called it

Automatic Seafood. Photo via Facebook

I’ve got to say, here at Bham Now, we foreshadowed Automatic Seafood and Oysters greatness when our own Christine Hull wrote 5 things to know about Automatic Seafood & Oysters opening April 1 in Lakeview.

And the Envelope Please

Legendary chef and restauranteur Frank Stitt sitting at “Frank’s Table” a sculpture honoring him commissioned by the National MS Society. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Called the Oscars of the culinary world, the James Beard Awards will be presented on September 25, 2020.  Normally given out in the Spring, this year’s event was postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Will Birmingham make history again? In 2018, Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill was named the most outstanding restaurant in America. Highlands Dolester Miles also took home the honor as America’s best pastry chef that year. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if Automatic Seafood and Oysters joined their ranks as the nation’s best.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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