The James Beard Foundation (JBF) has announced today (7 March) that The American Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, has been awarded this year’s Design Icon Award.
The accolade, which celebrates landmark examples of great restaurant design, will be given to the owners of the eatery, which was described by the prize’s jury as “equally known for its architectural and culinary artistry.”
The American Restaurant opened on Valentine’s Day 1974 atop Crown Center in Kansas City. Its architect, the US modernist Warren Platner, described his work as “bridging the contrast in scale between great volumes of space and the minute detail of food and tableware, between public gathering and personal intimacy.”
“The design,” he added, “entertains the diner and gives distinction to the server in this emporium of elaborate meals.”
The Design Icon Award is chosen by the JBF’s Restaurant Design Committee, led by architect James Biber. In order to qualify, a restaurant's design must have remained substantially unchanged for at least 20 years and must have influenced and inspired the design of subsequent restaurants and dining spaces.
The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on 7 May, 2018. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the best Restaurant and Chef in America will be handed out. Two further design categories will award restaurants with 75 seats and under, and 76 seats and over.
Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognise culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and furthers the foundation’s mission “to celebrate, nurture, and honour chefs and other leaders making America's food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.”
The winner of the Design Icon Award last year was awarded to The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant in New York, located under the chambers of Grand Central Station designed by architect Rafael Guastavino Moreno.