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Updated: March 30, 2023

Monson restaurant is Maine's sole finalist for James Beard Award

Food on a table in restaurant The Quarry, a restaurant in Monson, is a 2023 James Beard Award finalist for Outstanding Hospitality Presented by American Airlines.
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The Quarry, a restaurant in the Piscataquis County town of Monson, population 625, is the only Maine contender for a 2023 James Beard Award after making the cut as a finalist to advance to the next round.

Finalists for the "Oscars" of the foodie world were announced Wednesday, and the Quarry was the only Maine establishment named of 11 semifinalists from the Pine Tree State announced in late January. 

The Monson dining spot is up for "Outstanding Hospitality Presented by American Airlines," given to a restaurant, bar, or other food or drinking establishment that fosters a sense of hospitality among its customers and staff. Finalists in the Outstanding Hospitality category are also judged on whether they serve as a beacon for the community and demonstrate consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality and operations while contributing positively to the broader community.

"We are absolutely speechless," the Quarry said in a post on its Facebook page, which has 2,800 followers. "It is such an honor to be nominated, and an extreme honor to be a final nominee. We couldn't have done it without my amazing crew who is now family, and every single one of my customers who are now friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!"

Other finalists in the category are the Black Cypress, of Pullman, Wash.; Bottega, in Birmingham, Ala.; Lula Drake, in Columbia, S.C.; and Sepia, in Chicago.

The Quarry, located at 15 Tenney Hill Road in Monson, describes itself as a fine dining restaurant, regularly posting photos of colorful dishes including elaborate chocolate creations on its Facebook page. On Yelp, one reviewer called The Quarry "a truly magical spot run by some of the most welcoming friendly people I have met." Another marveled at a "great surprise" he stumbled upon while hiking near Moosehead Lake, which is less than 20 minutes north of Monson.

"My favorite part of the meal were the maple butter and the steak's bourbon glaze," David G. of San Francisco wrote. "The Quarry is a great part of the fine dining scene in the Moosehead Lake region."

The nominees were announced during a live ceremony at the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville, Tenn., and the winners will be announced in Chicago on June 5.

“The James Beard Awards celebrate outstanding achievement and exceptional culinary talent, as well as all those doing incredible work on behalf of our communities and wider food system. This year’s nominees, winners, and honorees are inspiring exemplars of that,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “We congratulate all those recognized today and look forward to celebrating them at another exciting Awards Weekend in Chicago this June.”

The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards, which was established in 1990 and first awarded in 1991, is one of five separate recognition programs of the James Beard Awards. This program celebrates excellence across a range of experiences, from fine-dining establishments to casual gems, and emerging talents to established leaders. The 2023 Restaurant and Chef Nominees are recognized across 22 categories, including a new Award for Outstanding Bakery.

Find the full list of 2023 James Beard Awards finalists here.

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April 3, 2023

A well deserved accomplishment. We are so proud of you all.

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