The James Beard Foundation Awards, a.k.a. the Oscars of Food, don't happen until May. But after getting completely snubbed at the 2016 awards, San Francisco is at least guaranteed to be taking home one nice honor this year, which goes to the Mission's La Taqueria. As Eater reports via the JBF website, La Taqueria has been named one of this year's American Classics, which is the category in which the foundation honors legacy restaurants around the country, "often family-owned, that are treasured for their quality food, local character, and lasting appeal."
In the text tied to the award, which will be officially bestowed at the May ceremony in Chicago, the James Beard folks say that "quality stays high" at owner Miguel Jara's 44-year-old taqueria which can also lay claim to winning the FiveThirtyEight blog's "burrito bracket" in 2014, getting crowned the best burrito in the country, which SFist continues to take issue with but whatever.
The full text:
The Mission-style burrito is a beloved expression and encapsulation of Mexican-American culinary heritage in the Bay Area. Burrito connoisseurs endlessly debate which taqueria makes the definitive version of the foil- wrapped, all-in-one meal of meats, beans, rice, cheese, and more, wrapped in a whopper of a flour tortilla, and often called a “silver torpedo,” Through the years, La Taqueria has stood out as a standard-bearer, and a barometer upon which to argue over other burritos. Jara is from villa Guerrero, Jalisco and grew up in Tijuana. The burritos he serves are not of any specific region of Mexico. At his counter-service restaurant, filled with simple wooden tables, Jara rejects the beans-and-rice approach, doubles down on the meat, and griddles his burritos golden-brown. Discussions about the merits and culture of the burrito form always, at some point, lead to La Taqueria, where the line to get gets more and more absurd as time goes by, but the quality stays high.
Anyway, La Taqueria's unique tacos are also awesome and rank among SFist's Must-Have Classic San Francisco Dishes and congrats to Jara on the much deserved honor. He'll be around for the foreseeable future, keeping the quality up, because as he told Eater, "I'll retire the same day they put me in the funeral home."
Other American Classics announced today are Sahadi’s, Brooklyn; Schultz’s Crab House, Maryland; Gioia’s Deli, St. Louis; and Bertha’s Kitchen, North Charleston.
Related: The 16 Best Tacos In San Francisco