USA Today’s annual 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards to choose the best new restaurant in America closes at Noon today. A Finger Lakes restaurant has consistently led the voting.
As Christopher Bates prepped dinner for the first seating at FLX Table in Geneva on Friday afternoon, he said even being included in the contest was something of a surprise.
“They actually reached out to Isabel and we just sort of thought it was for a listing or for a little blurb. The day that it went live, they let us know that was actually happening. So, it was really a surprise to us. I mean, I think the first day we found out about it, we logged on and we were already 17, but we had no idea it was going on.”
Throughout the month of December, his restaurant was consistently first or second in the voting. It’s a notable performance for a small restaurant. FLX Table seats only 12 diners at a single table that is pretty much an extension of Bates’ kitchen. It’s an intimate dining experience in a relatively small city.
“I think if we look at the competition and what the other people are doing, they’re in much bigger markets and they’re in places that I think you would expect to find restaurants of this caliber and it’s really exciting and really cool to be recognized amongst those. A lot of those restaurants are people that I’ve been reading about for the last year that I knew were opening and a lot of them were really big projects.”
It’s hard to say where FLX Table stands right now. The leaderboard was removed last week from the website, but regardless of the outcome Bates believes the attention is not only good for his restaurant, but for the region.
“Hopefully there’s more press coming that want to see what else is happening in the Finger Lakes and what else is happening upstate. You know, I think sort of the emergence of Rochester lately and of Buffalo and hopefully as we see Syracuse start to come along I think the more attention that we get from national media that comes up here and sees what’s happening up here at the restaurant, but also what’s happening with the wineries, what’s happening with the other restaurants, what’s happening with the cocktail scene and the bar scene here in Geneva and in upstate in general. It’s awesome."
Voting continues through Noon today at 10best.com. The winner will be announced on Friday, January 6th.