30 November, 2022, 09:21

El Guero Canelo receives James Beard Foundation 2018 “America’s Classics” award

Tucson Sonoran dog legend El Guero Canelo just earned some national prestige.

The James Beard Foundation announced the five recipients of its 2018 America’s Classics award on Thursday. The award, first introduced in 1998, is “given to restaurants that have timeless appeal and are cherished for quality food that reflects the character of their community.”

Out of five recipients this year from across the U.S., El Guero Canelo was awarded. While the Sonoran dog originated in the Sonoran capital of Hermosillo,  the award announcement called El Guero Canelo owner Daniel Contreras the leading “hotdoguero” in Tucson, the “American epicenter” of Sonoran hot dogs.

Contreras opened the Sonoran dog stand in 1993 at age 33. Nowadays, El Guero Canelo has three restaurants in Tucson, a meat market, and one restaurant in Phoenix.

In 2015, Thrillist named El Guero Canelo one of the 21 best hot dog joints in America.

The annual James Beard Foundation Awards Gala will celebrate this year’s winners on Monday, May 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

James Beard Foundation 2018 America’s Classics Award Honorees

  • Sun Wah (5039 N. Broadway St., Chicago; Owners: Kelly Cheng, Laura Cheng and Michael Cheng)
  • Galleria Umberto (289 Hanover St., Boston, MA; Owners: Paul Deuterio and Ralph Deuterio)
  • Los Hernandez (3706 Main St., Union Gap, WA; Owner: Felipe Hernandez)
  • El Guero Canelo (5201 S 12th Ave., Tucson, AZ; Owner: Daniel Contreras)
  • Dong Phuong Bakery (14207 Chef Menteur Highway, New Orleans, LA: Owner: Linh Tran Garza)

For more information about America’s Classics, visit jamesbeard.org. For more information on El Guero Canelo, visit elguerocanelo.com.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.