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June 6, 2023

Monson restaurant wins prestigious James Beard Award

Food on a table in restaurant The Quarry The Quarry, a restaurant in Monson, is the winner of a 2023 James Beard Award for Outstanding Hospitality. Plated here is the ry Adobo Cornish hen.

Portland may have a new rival for Maine's foodie capital after the Quarry restaurant in the Piscataquis County town of Monson, population 663, received a 2023 James Beard Award.

The award for "Outstanding Hospitality Presented by American Airlines" is given to a restaurant, bar, or other food or drinking establishment that fosters a sense of hospitality among its customers and staff.

"Move over Portland, here comes Monson," Kathleen Pierce, director of membership and communications at HospitalityMaine, told Mainebiz on Tuesday. "Building community is the heart of hospitality. How a restaurant makes you feel is as important as the latest culinary twist.”

Finalists 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.

Of 11 semifinalists this year from Maine, the Quarry was the only one to make it to the finals, a rare honor in itself. Winners of the foodie world's "Oscars" were announced at a celebratory event in Chicago Monday night.

In receiving the honor, the Quarry beat out fellow finalists Black Cypress, of Pullman, Wash.; Bottega, in Birmingham, Ala.; Lula Drake, in Columbia, S.C.; and Sepia, in Chicago. The Quarry, which describes itself as a fine-dining restaurant, serves unusual dishes from baked crab rangoon to five-spice duck.

"Absolutely speechless," the Quarry team posted on its Facebook page after being crowned the winner. "There aren't enough words to thank everyone for all of their kind word and support. We wouldn't have done it without you ... Monson, we're coming home."

The Quarry, located at 15 Tenney Hill Road in Monson, has 3,500 followers on Facebook and 2,800 likes. On Yelp, one reviewer commented on the eatery's "Michelin-quality cuisine with impeccable service," while another said the meal was one of the most special she had ever had.

The award comes four years after Allagash Brewing Co. founder Rob Tod took home a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirts Producer.

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