How many awards does it take to honor a local restaurant scene? In Houston, that number is growing.
The "season" began with the inaugural Houston Entree Awards, when online voting began mid-June and winners were announced today. Some of the (predictable) results: El Real Tex-Mex Cafe for Best Newcomer, Carrabba's for Best Italian (Casual) and Fung's Kitchen for Best Chinese. In a departure from other entities, Houston Entree announced the finalists along with the winners.
Second up are the Houston Culinary Awards, put on by My Table Magazine. In their 15th year, these awards have an actual dinner ceremony where restaurateurs, chefs and local food personalities can hobnob and break bread together. Online voting began August 1st. Categories range from interior design to best up-and-comers (chefs under 35).
Last, and much less milquetoast, are the Best of Houston awards from the Houston Press. Their food critic Katharine Shilcutt explained one of the major differing factors, "We have two different kind of Best Of awards, however: awards chosen by editorial, and awards chosen by popular vote. Not all of the awards are up for popular vote [...] but a large majority are." This year marks the 23rd annual Best of Houston edition, which is out in late September, making it the longest standing of all three.
UPDATE: Houston Press will also host BestFest to celebrate this year's Best of Houston edition. It's a two day event combining food, art and music. Tickets are available now.
While those are the most local, here are a few more we didn't have room for: City's Best from AOL, Best of Citysearch Houston, Rising Stars from StarChefs.com and probably a whole lot more that have fallen off our radar.
Now it's your turn. Which awards, if any, do you pay attention to? At what point does "winning" turn into #winning? Let us know in the comments.
Disclaimer: Eater also sponsors nationwide and regional awards.