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Cafe Juanita in Kirkland voted as one of the top restaurants in America
Critics rave about Café Juanita. Television executives gave their stamp of approval when owner Holly Smith competed on the Food Network show The Next Iron Chef in 2009. The public continues to have its say about Café Juanita, as it was recently voted one of the top 100 restaurants in America by OpenTable.com.
"We are all very excited to be included in this list," said Smith. "While we have been fortunate to receive a lot of local and national recognition, we honestly work from the position of our guests every single day … this list is guest generated and that feels great."
The poll results are a conglomerate of more than 5 million reviews by diners of nearly 19,000 restaurants across the United States. OpenTable.com has an online reservation system that allows it to verify that diners have patronized the establishment. The reviews were submitted from November 2012 to November 2013.
"We love making guests happy, transporting them from what could be a bad day, nasty traffic and let them relax and enjoy," said Smith.
Only the top 10 restaurants were numbered. The other 90, including the upscale Kirkland eatery, were listed in alphabetical order.
Café Juanita opened in Kirkland in 2000 and Smith has shown that TV is not reality, after being voted off Iron Chef during the second episode of the second season.
"It was a fun experience and I got to meet some really nice people," Smith told the Reporter in 2009. "It was a lot of stress at times and kind of hard to adapt."
Smith was given the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Northwest in 2008. The latest accolade is just one of many Café Juanita has garnered throughout the years. It was a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant two years ago and voted Outstanding Chef in 2011 and 2012 and Outstanding Service in 2013. Smith snagged the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest in 2008.