Readers' Choice Eat Out Awards 2003
Time Out New York
May 22, 2003

If we were the type to sugarcoat, we'd say that New Yorkers are passionate about restaurants. The truth is, diners in this town are relentless gossips - chattering nonstop about whether Mario Batali would be able to pull otl pizza and what would happen to the desserts at Gramercy Tavern when pastry goddess Claudia Fleming left for (holy fast-food chain!) Pret a Manger. We aren't crazy enough to get into the middle of a great food fight, so once again we lett the contests for best new restaurant, best celebrity chet and 23 other categories for you, the reader, to settle. On the following pages you'll find this year's Readers' Choices for the city's finest eating and drinking, including a best-of-the-perennial-best champion's cup. Of course, TONY's reviewers couldn't stay out of the discussion altogether: You'll also find 25 Critics' Picks - quirky, delicious and otherwise notable restaurant gems we discovered while doing this gluttonous job for the past year. Feel free to spread the word. - MaiIe Carpenter, Eat Out editor 

BEST BREAD - Amy's Bread
Other nominees: Balthazar Boulangerie, Eli's, Hot &Crusty, Sullivan Street Bakery Few award categories, save perhaps best pizza and best burger, incite such heated debates among food lovers as does the prize for the best crusty loaves. Amy Scherber wins your vote for revolutionizing bread baskets across the city with her signature semolina–fennel–golden raisin rolls and warm, dense organic whole-wheat walnut bread. Scherber's business, now almost 11 years old, has grown from a single quaint Hell's Kitchen storefront into a bakery empire that supplies more than 100 restaurants and stores with their daily bread. Not that the growth has killed any of the charm; if we didn't know better, we'd think the master was still in the back of her Ninth Avenue store in the middle of the night, baking it all herself.