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Uni’s Tony Messina Wins James Beard Award

The dining room at Uni

Back Bay’s Uni has won plenty of local acclaim for its sushi, but now it is chef Tony Messina’s turn in the spotlight. 

The East Boston native and Uni executive chef and partner won the James Beard award for Best Chef: Northeast Monday night in Chicago, beating out local competition Tiffani Faison and Cassie Piuma as well as James Mark and Benjamin Sukle, both of Providence. Messina was a nominee last year and a semifinalist in 2017, the Boston Globe reports

Uni owner and Executive Chef Ken Oringer was nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur for the third year in a row, but he lost to Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm of Chicago's Boka Restaurant Group. Oringer was still elated with Messina’s win on social media. 

“I know exactly why you won,” Oringer posted to Instagram. “You earned this!”

Messina’s win comes after years of diverse Boston restaurant experience, including stints at Legal Seafoods, Hamersley’s Bistro and No. 9 Park. He started at Uni as a sashimi chef in 2012.

Related Topics: Back Bay, James Beard Awards