BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Michael Limas and Christopher Galicia of Las Ramblas at Market Square in Downtown Brownsville are Chicago-bound after being invited to the 2023 James Beard Foundation Awards as one of just five finalists in the “Outstanding Bar” division.

Referred to as the “Oscars” of the food and drink industry, the James Beard Foundation award is a huge honor for these Rio Grande Valley natives.

“It’s one of those things that you’re always shooting for,” Galicia, cocktail and spirits director at Las Ramblas, said. “It’s something that always feels so out of reach, especially for us that are here in Brownsville, or not just Brownsville but the Rio Grande Valley and cities that are underrepresented.”

Owners Michael and Fabian Limas are brothers and said it is remarkable to be a part of something so grand. The men say they are still in shock since hearing that they had made the finals on Wednesday.

“You always kind of reach for those things and hope that something like that eventually will happen, but it just seems out of reach so it’s kind of out-of-worldly that it’s actually happening,” Galicia said.

Galicia said this accomplishment is not only big for Las Ramblas but also for all the locals trying to put Brownsville on the map.

“For us, it’s all about representation,” Michael said. “We always felt we had a quality product and these massive institutions like the James Beard we always thought ‘How would they know how good we are if they never look our way.”

Open since May of 2019, Las Ramblas aims to create a welcoming environment where people can hang out with friends or enjoy a date night. The bar is located in Downtown Brownsville and prides itself on its creative drink assortment. Every month, the team crafts a new menu of unique cocktails for guests to enjoy.

“Without the team we wouldn’t be here, so this is a lot due to them and the hard work that they’ve put in,” Galicia said.

Regardless of the outcome, the Las Ramblas crew is excited to network with some of the country’s top chefs and restaurant owners at the 2023 James Beard Foundation Awards. On June 5, the Valley natives will be in Chicago representing the Rio Grande Valley.