The 2000 Austin Chronicle Restaurant Poll
While all these restaurants have been opening since the last poll, we haven't exactly been sitting on our hands over here at the Chronicle offices. We began a new capsule review column, first called "Automat" (which no one understood) and now known as "Second Helpings" (I'll spare you the gory details of the names we rejected). This new column gives us the opportunity to group tasty tidbits of information about local restaurants together by genre. It's an important component of our newly redesigned Chronicle Restaurant Guide which debuts on the Web with this issue. Chronicle Web genies Karen Rheudasil and Lindsey Simon have been slaving away on the new guide, streamlining its organization and making it much more user-friendly for the hungry Chronicle reader who wants the lowdown on local eateries. Look for a new index of "Second Helpings" columns (auschron.com/secondhelpings/) and cruise the new Restaurant Guide (auschron.com/guides/restaurant/).
When the Chronicle food staff (Rebecca Chastenet de Géry, Pableaux Johnson, Mick Vann, Barbara Chisholm, Rachel Feit, Wes Marshall, and myself) met to consider our choices for the year, we were pleased to see so much diversity in the readers poll voting and so many new restaurants represented. We let out a cheer of "All right!!" when we saw that journeyman chef and relatively new restaurateur Hoover Alexander of Hoover's Cooking received his props from the readers as best chef, and we agree; it couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. And in the year when the contribution of local women chefs has become a hot-button issue, we wanted to be sure and recognize the tremendous contribution of Jeffrey's chef de cuisine, Alma Alcocer-Thomas. When it came time to choose the best restaurant to take your kids to, the staff members without kids voted "we'd rather not eat with them anywhere," and the staff members with kids swore they never darken the doors of traditional "kid-friendly" restaurants. We were forced to consult an actual child, occasional Chronicle book and restaurant reviewer Rosalind Faires, on that one. She's partial to Güero's Taco Bar, herself. All in all, we came to the conclusion that this is a great time to be writing about restaurants in Austin, Texas. Mangia, y'all.