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Remembering the Biggest Dining Surprises of 2012

Photo: Courtesy Visit South

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. We've already covered best standbys, top newcomers, 2012 in one word and best restaurant neighborhood. Now it's time for the biggest dining surprise of the year. Readers, please add your thoughts to the comments.

Q. What was the biggest dining surprise of 2012?

Josh Moss, managing editor, Louisville Magazine: The pancakes 610 Magnolia's Edward Lee made on Top Chef -- he used the pancake's crispy edges as the dish's focus, added bacon, berries and marshmallows -- won a challenge judged by...Pee-wee Herman. The hell?

Steve Hacker, writer and brand consultant, Feast (and their barbecued tofu)

Kane Webb, editor, Louisville Magazine: Mellow Mushroom, a chain out of Atlanta, is damn good. And kudos to the owners for keeping the old donuts sign.

Elizabeth Orrick, food writer, Getting the bill after a dinner at Proof on Main. I jest; the best dining surprise was Vietnam Kitchen, experiencing a whole new spectrum of taste and texture and enjoying it.

Melissa Duley, associate editor, Louisville Magazine: Poutine

Antonia Lindauer, freelance food writer, That Vampin' Lady: How great the food is at Holy Grale. Not being much of a beer person, it really says something for me to still love going there. Their beer cheese is the best I have ever tasted, the burger is divine, and other items like pork belly sliders, frites, and duck tacos are all insanely good.

Kevin Harned, chief meteorologist, WAVE 3 and co-host, Secrets of Louisville Chefs Live: The Avalon debacle

Zach Everson, editor, Eater Louisville: Hillbilly Tea opening its second restaurant—in Shanghai.

Holy Grale

1034 Bardstown Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40204 502-459-9939

Vietnam Kitchen

5339 Mitscher Avenue, Louisville, KY 40214 502-363-5154 Visit Website

Hillbilly Tea

120 S 1st Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-587-7350 Visit Website

Feast BBQ

116 W Main Street, New Albany, IN 47150 812-920-0454

610 Magnolia

610 West Magnolia Avenue, , KY 40208 (502) 636-0783 Visit Website

Mellow Mushroom

3920 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40207 502-409-6874