Video by Tracy Schuhmacher and Virginia Butler
Geneva, N.Y. restaurant FLX Table has bested big-city competition to be named the country's best new restaurant in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice poll.
FLX Table, owned by husband-and-wife team Christopher Bates and Isabel Bogadtke, has one communal table that seats 12. The cozy eatery is on the narrow, block-long Linden Street in Geneva.
The 20 nominees were chosen by a group that included editors from USA TODAY and 10Best, as well as a panel of experts and sources from other Gannett properties. The winners were determined by four weeks of online voting.
The atmosphere at FLX Table is unique and personal. The rustic table was constructed by Bates and the mismatched chairs were purchased by Bogatke during her visits to antique shops. A cascading canopy of herbs growing in wooden boxes hangs above the table.
Bates prepares a different single five-course menu, based on seasonality and local sourcing, each evening. FLX Table also features an array of local and global wines, set out on the communal table to consume by the glass. Various levels of wine pairings are also available.
"We’re doing some really, really cool things – things that aren’t happening anywhere else," Bates said. "That wouldn’t be possible if we weren’t getting guests who were allowing us to do that.”
Bates said the attention from the competition, from word of mouth as well as from local and national media, helped keep the table full throughout the holiday season. January is booked for the limited number of nights it will be open, and February reservations also are going quickly, he said.
"It’s been a little bit crazy," Bates said. "Obviously we hoped that it we would get the attention we got, but we didn't expect the attention we got."
Video by Jamie Germano Jamie Germano and Tracy Schuhmacher
"Our Best of the Year categories are some of our most competitive," said Lydia Schrandt, 10Best editor. "This year our panel of experts nominated nearly 60 different restaurants, so just making it onto the final ballot of 20 was a big accomplishment."