Clean Plate Awards

Industry pros share their favorite restaurant dishes of the year

For a decade, Restaurant Business has been asking a rotating panel of industry pros—chain CEOs, corporate chefs, restaurateurs, market watchers and more—to tell us the best thing they ate at a restaurant all year. But we want to do more than just make readers salivate from afar—the goal always has been to provide ideas that will help restaurant operators run their business better. So every year, we ask our judges to choose their faves not only based on taste, but to ponder from their unique perspective as restaurant-world insiders: What makes this dish a real standout? 

2016 Restaurant Business Clean Plate Awards

Read on to see which award-winning dishes made this year’s distinguished panel literally clean their plates in 2016.

clean plate silverware

These Restaurant Business staff Clean Plate Awards reveal some industry trends on the rise as well as classic comfort foods that stand the test of time.

Once again, we’ve gathered an esteemed panel of industry insiders to name the restaurant dishes they enjoyed most over the last year—the ones that literally made them clean their plates. In 2013, these expert eaters sampled from menus close to home and around the country and the world, discovering new tastes and returning to familiar flavors.

In a sneak preview of Restaurant Business’ 2015 Clean Plate Awards, here’s a sampling of what our stellar panel picked as their favorites to eat by hand.

Clean Plate Awards

Chefs and industry folks aren’t the only ones who blend pleasure and profession over restaurant meals. At Winsight Media, we are constantly tracking trends.

jacks bbq

A number of Clean Plate judges planted their culinary map pins due South—in Dallas, Austin, New Orleans and Atlanta. Winning dishes were updates of classics.

From meatloaf to eel pie, the top dishes chosen by our panel of restaurant industry notables.

For the nearly four dozen dishes submitted, their words revealed the following insight about what makes a winner: it’s just plain “delicious.”

We've gathered an esteemed panel of industry insiders to name the restaurant dishes they enjoyed most over the last year-the ones that literally made them clean their plates.

Once again, we have tapped some of the top tastemakers in the country to nominate the most irresistible, most scrumptious restaurant dishes they’ve enjoyed over the past year.

When folks in the restaurant business are asked to name their favorite dishes, it’s not easy to narrow down the choices. But our team of passionate industry insiders dug into their collective food memories and came up with their top picks. Tacos, french fries, steaks and pig popped up on a few lists, but there were plenty of surprises, too.