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Best of Arlington 2014

Food & Drink

Best Chef

David Guas, Bayou Bakery

The acclaimed chef has showcased his mastery of Cajun and Creole cooking in plenty of TV segments (including several on NBC’s Today show), and in 2012, Food & Wine magazine chronicled his first culinary expedition to Cuba in an eight-page feature. He’s got his own cookbook, too (DamGoodSweet, Taunton Press, 2009).

But Arlington’s affection for Guas is personal. It has been ever since 2010, when the New Orleans-trained chef launched Bayou Bakery in Courthouse, where he has parlayed his considerable talent and easygoing style into a neighborhood hangout that is big on flavor and low on pretense.

“We are hands-on, from scratch and thought-through,” says Guas, a tattooed motorcycle enthusiast, whose colloquial café features plenty of comfort food (think jambalaya, pimento cheese and braised collard greens), free Wi-Fi and a soundtrack blending jazz, zydeco, blues and funk. His top-selling beignet pastries, biscuits and “muff-a-lotta” sandwiches are made with ingredients from small producers who, he says, have “become like family.” Bayou routinely stages live music, fundraisers, Sunday football screenings (Saints, of course) and other community gatherings.

Graphic artist Ken Matthews drops by regularly for a shot of espresso and a savory scone. “New Orleans is my favorite city and Bayou has that ambience,” says Matthews, who lives in Falls Church. “From the menu to the devotion in the cooking, it’s all tied in. You get the experience.” –W.N.

1515 North Courthouse Road, 703-243-2410, Arlington, www.bayoubakeryva.com

Other top vote-getters:

Tracy O’Grady (Willow)
Scot Harlan (Green Pig Bistro)
Liam LaCivita (The Liberty Tavern)
Will Artley (Pizzeria Orso)