Best Chef

Rob Connoley of Bulrush

Staff Pick

Rob Connoley is obsessive. It's a character trait that made his long-awaited restaurant, Bulrush, take more than three years to come to fruition. It's why he'll devote a tome's worth of text to explaining his flatware and napkin decisions and why, once he decided to delve into Ozark cuisine, he went so far down the rabbit hole of research he was rummaging through boxes of handwritten notes from church ladies in the 1800s. However, that compulsion for perfection is also what has earned the entirely self-taught Connoley innumerable accolades and has resulted in what's currently the most exciting restaurant in town. At Bulrush, Connoley has not just created a great restaurant; he (with the help of his right-hand man Justin Bell) has resurrected a forgotten way of eating from a marginalized culture and is at the forefront of a movement to define what eating in this part of the country means. In this sense, Bulrush is more than a restaurant; it's a testing ground for making us rethink what we eat from a man who is much more than a chef.

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