By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Feb 26, 2020 at 9:23 AM

This morning, the James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2020 awards. And Milwaukee has three reasons to be proud.

For the fourth year running, Paul Bartolotta of The Bartolotta Restaurants is up for the Outstanding Restaurateur award. If successful in making it through the finals, it would mark the third Beard award for Chef Paul Bartolotta who holds James Beard awards for both his work at Spiaggia in Chicago and Ristorante di Mare in Las Vegas.

Semifinalists for Best Chef Midwest include Dane Baldwin of The Diplomat, and Karen Bell of Bavette La BoucherieBell has now made the list for four years running, with Baldwin taking his second turn in 2020.

HOBNOB, the supper club in Racine, made the list for Outstanding Hospitality, a category which honors a restaurant in operation for five or more years that demonstrates consistency and exceptional thoughtfulness in hospitality and service.

Sean Pharr of Mint Mark in Madison also made the "long list" for Best Chef Midwest.

View the complete list of semifinalists here.

More on the James Beard Foundation Awards

Established in 1990, with inaugural awards issued in 1991, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America's food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.

The 2020 James Beard Awards will mark the 30th anniversary of America’s most coveted and comprehensive honors for chefs, restaurants, journalists, authors, and other leaders in the food and beverage industry.

Nominees for all award categories will be revealed on Wednesday, March 25, in Philadelphia at The Barnes Foundation in partnership with VISIT PHILADELPHIA.

The announcement will be followed by the James Beard Awards Gala, which will take place on Monday, May 4, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

For more on the awards process, visit

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.