Monday, March 10, 2014
Worth magazine, which describes itself as " the definitive wealth management and lifestyle magazine for high net worth readers," has named Hugo's restaurant in Portland one of its "Top 10 Iconic Restaurants" in the country.
The restaurant - owned by Mike Wiley, Andrew Taylor and Arlin Smith - is in some heady company. Also on the list are Le Bernardin, Le Cirque and La Grenouille in New York; L'Espalier in Boston, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif.; The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.; the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia; Spago in Beverly Hills, Calif.; and Canlis in Seattle.
The magazine says the list was made on "reputation and influence," and identifies 10 restaurants "that have excelled for at least 25 years."
It makes one wonder how much research the people who make these endless lists actually do before they publish something. While the magazine does note Hugo's has evolved from its "humble Irish pub roots," there is no context. A quarter century ago, Hugo's was owned by former Portland restaurateur Johnny Robinson (it's named after his son). While the restaurant, located at 88 Middle St., was a popular place back then, it was a completely different animal. Hugo's only started gaining widespread notoriety after chef Rob Evans bought the place in 2000, kept the name, and started cooking his way towards a James Beard Best Chef: Northeast award, which he won in 2009.
Oh well, what else can you expect from yet another restaurant slideshow? Everyone knows that Hugo's national reputation in 2014 is well deserved, so...congratulations, guys!
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.