BLT is one of 10 establishments on the list and one of only two from Texas. Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Austin's acclaimed izakaya from the owners of Ramen Tatsu-ya, is the other. At a time when prominent men in the restaurant industry have been called to account for sexual harassment by the #MeToo movement, the magazine says it opted to include restaurants "led by women and men with a sense of integrity" rather those that only serve delicious food.
"In the end, the restaurants we fell in love with this year were the ones that offer a rich portrait of the people who made them," Food & Wine restaurant editor Jordana Rothman writes. "They remind us that a good meal can capture the spirit of a place as sharply as a postcard. And while any road warrior will tell you the pleasures of travel are wrapped up in the journey, these 10 restaurants make a compelling case that sometimes, really, it’s all about the destination."
BLT inclusion might seem a little strange, considering it is at least as much a bar as a restaurant — it did just win the CultureMap Tastemaker Award for Bar of the Year — but serving a food menu created by a former Food & Wine Best New Chef winner, co-owner Justin Yu (Theodore Rex), makes it enough of a restaurant for Food & Wine's purposes.
The magazine praises a number of BLT's dishes, including "gnarled lamb belly bites that eat like the world’s best chicharrónes [and] chilled shrimp dotted with Tunisian hot sauce," as well as the signature "party melt" and a chicken salad that's "interesting and delicious." Cocktails overseen by co-owner Bobby Heugel don't hurt, either.
Ultimately, whether Better Luck Tomorrow is more of a bar or more of a restaurant doesn't really matter. When the food is this good, it's worthy of national attention.