The fact that Frank and Pardis Stitt and their restaurant family at Highlands Bar and Grill had to wait 10 years for this moment makes it even sweeter.
On Monday night, after going home disappointed in each of nine consecutive years as a finalist, the celebrated Birmingham restaurant finally won the elusive James Beard Foundation Award for the most outstanding restaurant in America.
Let that sink in for a moment. Savor it. Revel in it. And shout it out loud.
A restaurant from Birmingham, Ala. -- which, until an ambitious and imaginative young chef from Cullman named Frank Stitt came along and opened Highlands Bar and Grill in 1982, was better known for its barbecue and meat-and-threes -- now stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the finest dining establishments in the country.