The Restaurant of the Year was announced by USA TODAY! This restaurant in Fort Collins made the cut

In a remarkable acknowledgment of culinary excellence, USA TODAY has unveiled its esteemed list of Restaurants of the Year for 2024, placing a spotlight on a diverse array of dining establishments that stand out in the American gastronomic landscape.

Among the celebrated selections is Beijing Noodle, a gem nestled in Fort Collins, Colorado, that has captivated both locals and critics alike with its authentic Chinese culinary offerings. This prestigious list, meticulously compiled by a network of seasoned food journalists associated with USA TODAY, encompasses a total of 47 restaurants.

These establishments were chosen through a rigorous selection process that leveraged the collective expertise and discernment of the network’s food critics, aiming to highlight dining experiences that exemplify culinary innovation, tradition, and excellence across the United States.

Beijing Noodle’s inclusion in this illustrious roundup did not just bring recognition to the restaurant itself but also to the vision and dedication of its founders, Tianxi “Dennis” Zhang and his wife, Yirong Sun.

The couple, who inaugurated the restaurant in 2018 in proximity to the Colorado State University campus, embarked on this venture with the singular aim of introducing the rich tapestry of traditional Chinese cuisine to their new home in Colorado.

Their journey, rooted in Sun’s long-cherished aspiration of establishing her own restaurant, transformed into a mission to share the depth and diversity of Chinese culinary traditions with a broader audience.

The recognition by USA TODAY came as an unexpected honor for Zhang and Sun, who expressed their pride and astonishment at the national acknowledgment of their efforts.

Zhang, in conversations with the Coloradoan, reflected on the journey from their humble beginnings to achieving such significant acclaim, emphasizing that such recognition was beyond their initial dreams for the restaurant.

Beijing Noodle distinguishes itself through its dedication to authentic Chinese culinary practices, offering a menu that features a variety of traditional dishes seldom found in the American dining scene. Among its standout offerings are hard-boiled tea eggs, an epitome of Chinese snack food, and five spice pig ears, a delicacy that showcases the depth of Chinese flavor profiles.

However, it is perhaps the restaurant’s array of scratch-made noodle dishes that most vividly captures the essence of traditional Chinese cooking, offering patrons a taste of genuine Chinese noodle craftsmanship.

The selection of Beijing Noodle by USA TODAY not only celebrates the culinary excellence and authenticity that the restaurant brings to the American dining landscape but also underscores the broader recognition of diverse culinary traditions that enrich the nation’s food culture.

This accolade serves as a testament to the passion and dedication of small restaurant owners like Zhang and Sun, who, through their commitment to their culinary heritage, contribute to the vibrant mosaic of American dining experiences.