Co-Founder of Boka Restaurant Group   / @kevinboehmboka

After opening 12 successful restaurants over two decades, James Beard nominated restaurateur Kevin Boehm has become one of the nation's most successful owner/operators. Kevin, along with partner Rob Katz, have not only built a successful restaurant group, but have established a restaurant culture built on great chefs, inspired hospitality, and amazing design.

Born in 1970, Boehm grew up in Springfield, Illinois and knew at a young age he was destined to be in the restaurant business. After dropping out of University of Illinois, he saved enough money as a server to open his first restaurant in 1992, the quaint Lazy Daze Café, in Seaside, Florida. Indigo Wine Bar (Blue Mountain Beach, Florida), Indigo Restaurant (Springfield, Illinois), and Six Degrees (Nashville, Tennessee) followed and Boehm got his education opening and selling restaurants all before the age of 30.

In 2002, Boehm partnered with Rob Katz and the two established Boka Restaurant Group. The pair would open 10 restaurants in less than 10 years: Boka (2003), Landmark (2005), Perennial (2008), Girl & the Goat (2010), GT Fish & Oyster (2011), Perennial Virant (2011), Balena (2012), Elaine's Coffee Call (2012), The J. Parker (2012), and Lil Goat (2012) and establish themselves as one of the great chef-driven groups in the country.

The groups many accolades include "3 stars" for Boka, Perennial, Girl & the Goat, GT Fish & Oyster, Perennial Virant, and Balena from the Chicago Tribune. A Michelin Star 2011 and 2012 for Boka. A Bib Gourmand for Perennial, GT Fish & Oyster, and Girl & the Goat 2012. "Food and Wine's Best New Chef's" for Boka's Giuseppe Tentori, Perennial Virant's Paul Virant, and Girl & the Goat's Stephanie Izard. "50 Best New Restaurants in America," for Perennial in Travel and Leisure. Restaurant of the Year for Girl & the Goat in Chicago Tribune, Metromix, and Eater, and "National Chef of the Year" at the Eater Awards in New York. Finally, a James Beard nomination for Girl and the Goat for Best New Restaurant in 2011.

Boehm and Katz also won Restaurateurs of the Year from Time Out Chicago in 2010 and the Chicago Tribune in 2011.

Boehm has been a featured speaker at the National Restaurant Show, was named "40 Under 40" in Crains in 2010, and has passed his introductory Sommelier Exam. He is also heavily involved with the Hope Institute, where he sits on the Board of Trustees. Hope, which is the largest autism network in the United States, was started in Kevin's hometown.

Kevin speaks of the culinary landscape in Chicago (featured on
Crain's Chicago Business)