Subscribe for 99¢

The James Beard Foundation on Thursday announced the semifinalists for its annual awards, the so-called “Oscars of the food world.” Four St. Louis-based chefs and two St. Louis restaurants are among the honorees.

Vicia is a semifinalist for “Best New Restaurant,” a nationwide category. The restaurant, from the married team of Michael and Tara Gallina, opened in March 2017 at 4260 Forest Park Avenue.

“It’s been an exciting day,” Tara Gallina said. “It was a goal we had set for ourselves since day one, but you can never expect it to happen.”

Among Vicia’s accolades so far, it was No. 1 on the Post-Dispatch’s ranking of the best new restaurants of 2017 and was named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Eater and Esquire.

“We’ve worked very hard to build a very wonderful team of staff,” Gallina said, adding that she was happy to be receiving national recognition for their menu “celebrating what food in the Midwest is all about.”

Chef Mike Randolph

Mike Randolph, acclaimed chef at Publico and Randolfi's in the Delmar Loop in University City, in his restaurant Publico Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Working with him are sous chef Bryan Russo, center, and Derek Graue, at the hearth. Photo by Karen Elshout

Downtown institution Tony’s is a semifinalist for “Outstanding Service,” another nationwide category.

This is the restaurant’s first appearance as a James Beard Awards semifinalist.

Four St. Louis chefs are semifinalists for “Best Chef: Midwest”: Ben Grupe of Elaia, Lona Luo of Lona’s Lil Eats, Mike Randolph of Privado and Ashley Shelton of Sardella.

This is Randolph’s third consecutive year as a semifinalist in the Midwest category. (He previously was listed under his restaurant Público.)

Grupe, Luo and Shelton are first-time semifinalists in the category, though Shelton was a semifinalist last year in the national “Rising Star Chef of the Year” category.

The James Beard Foundation will announce the five finalists in each category, as determined by a vote of food-media members and past award winners, on March 14.

The awards gala is May 7 at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

Post-Dispatch restaurant critic Ian Froeb is a member of the James Beard Awards restaurant and chefs awards committee.

Ian Froeb • 314-340-8348

Restaurant critic

@ianfroeb on Twitter