Chad and Hanna Williams at Friday Saturday Sunday, winner of the 2023 James Beard Award for the nation's best restaurant. (Courtesy Friday Saturday Sunday)

Chefs and restaurateurs from Philadelphia took the two most prestigious prizes at the U.S. restaurant industry’s biggest night of the year.

The 2023 James Beard Awards were announced Monday at the organization’s annual gala in Chicago, where Friday Saturday Sunday was named Outstanding Restaurant and Ellen Yin of High Street Hospitality was deemed Outstanding Restaurateur.

Also notching wins in their categories were cocktail author Toby Malony, who bartends at Hop Sing, and Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon of Kalaya, who shouted out her city after her victory.

“I love this city so much. Philadelphia holds a special place in my heart,” Suntaranon told Billy Penn from backstage at the event, adding that since first moving here she felt the city embrace her “with open arms.”

This year, Philly had seven finalists vying for various categories, up against hundreds of their peers from restaurants across the country. It’s considered an honor for anyone just to make it to this stage, noted Dionicio Jimenez of Cantina La Martina.

“Hoping for the best tonight,” Jimenez said in advance of the event, “but already feel like a winner to be living this experience.”

Here’s a look at who repped Philadelphia at the food world’s most festive night, and how it went down.

National awards

Winner for Outstanding Restaurant: Friday Saturday Sunday

This Rittenhouse restaurant, which first opened its doors in 1973, was given a complete overhaul in 2015 by new owners Chad and Hanna Williams, who’ve managed to revive its reputation as a date night hot spot. The husband-and-wife team had both previously worked with Jose Garces; Chad as Amada’s chef du cuisine.

Winner for Outstanding Restaurateur: Ellen Yin

Five-time finalist Ellen Yin was named outstanding restaurateur for her High Street Hospitality Group which includes Fork, + bar, and High Street. The former health care consultant has long been a key figure in the local restaurant scene, from organizing relief efforts during the COVID pandemic to her efforts with the Wonton Project, which works to combat anti-Asian discrimination.

Nominated for Emerging Chef: Amanda Shulman

Vetri alum Amanda Shulman also earned a nomination in this category last year, for Her Place Supper Club, a cozy Center City dining room where she encourages guests to socialize across the few tables, an extension of the parties she would throw her friends in college. This May, Shulman partnered with fiance Alex Kemp to open her second spot, the French restaurant My Loup.

Winner for Book Awards, Beverage with Recipes: Toby Maloney

Mixologist and Hop Sing Laundromat resident bartender Toby Maloney won his second James Beard Award for his cocktail book “The Bartender’s Manifesto: How to Think, Drink, and Create Cocktails Like a Pro,” coauthored by Emma Janzen. Maloney’s previous win was in 2015 for outstanding bar program at Chicago’s Violet Hour cocktail bar, which he also co-owns.

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

This category features chefs from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. This year’s nominees also included Pittsburgh-based Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski for Apteka, and Michael Rafidi for Albi, in D.C.

Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, Winner

Former flight-attendant turned restaurateur Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon’s previously earned a James Beard award nomination, when Kalaya was up for best new restaurant in 2020. Since being nominated in the same category last year, she relocated her Italian Market BYOB to Fishtown, bringing an expanded menu and full bar program to the larger location. 

“I am very competitive, and not in a very quiet way,” Suntaranon told Billy Penn. “When I opened Kalaya I was hoping for best new restaurant so bad, so bad. And until today I never gave up, I kept pushing.”

Dionicio Jiménez

His Kensington spot Cantina la Martina may have just opened last year, but chef-owner Dionicio Jiménez is a veteran of the local scene. After coming to Philly in 1998, the Mexican chef got his start washing dishes at Center City’s Chin Chin before moving on to Vetri and becoming chef-partner at Michael Solomonov’s Xochitl in Headhouse Square. Following a stint at Stephen Starr’s El Rey, Jiménez launched his own place, where he “combines pre-Hispanic ingredients with the techniques I’ve picked up throughout my journey,” the chef told Billy Penn.

Jesse Ito

Another five-time nominee, Jesse Ito is known to most Philadelphians for his elaborately designed sushi platters as well as the near-impossibility of securing a seat at his omakase counter. Ito got his start at his father’s Collingswood sushi restaurant, Fuji, before opening his Queen Village spot in 2016. 

Ali Mohsen is Billy Penn's food and drink reporter.