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Tucson's El Guero Canelo honored with James Beard Foundation's 'America's Classics' award

Posted at 12:59 PM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-18 14:59:54-05

A Tucson restaurant known for its Sonoran hotdogs has been recognized with a James Beard award.

El Guero Canelo is one of five restaurants in the United States to receive the "America's Classics" award for 2018. The winners were announced on Thursday.

That award recognizes restaurants with "timeless appeal and are cherished for quality food that reflects the character of their community," according to a news release.

"Today, Tucson is the American epicenter, and [owner] Daniel Contreras is the leading hotdoguero," the foundation wrote in its release. 

"The original stand is now a destination restaurant, outfitted with picnic tables and serviced by a walk-up order window. Fans converge for bacon-wrapped franks, stuffed into stubby bollilos, smothered with beans, onions, mustard, jalapeño sauce, and a squiggle of mayonnaise," it continued.

Daniel Contreras opened El Guero Canelo as a hotdog stand in 1993 according to the restaurant's website. He has since expanded to three locations and a meat market in Tucson, and a fourth location in Phoenix, according to the website.

"We are honored to receive the James Beard Award! Thank you all for the support!!" the restaurant wrote on its Facebook page.

The other recipients include Sun Wah in Chicago; Galleria Umberto in Boston;  Los Hernandez in Union Gap, Washington; and Dong Phuong Bakery in New Orleans.

Two other Arizona restaurants have received the same award: El Chorro Lodge in 2005 and The Fry Bread House in 2012, the Foundation confirmed.

Since 1998, more than 100 restaurants have received the honor.

To be eligible for the award, restaurants have to be open for at least 10 years and locally owned. The restaurant will be officially recognized at the James Beard Foundation Awards Gala on May 7 in Chicago.

View the full list at www.JamesBeard.org.