James Beard Foundation Awards
- Kevin Boehm & Rob Katz
- Winner / Outstanding Restaurateur / 2019
Finalist / Outstanding Restaurateur / 2016, 2017, 2018
BOKA RESTAURANT GROUP was founded by Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm in 2002 and has since become one of the premier chef-driven restaurant groups in the country. Anchored by partnerships with six of America’s great chefs, Stephanie Izard, Giuseppe Tentori, Chris Pandel, Lee Wolen, Jimmy Papadopoulos and Gene Kato, BRG has 23 entities, each of them individually crafted and conceptually unique.
Boka, the group’s first restaurant, opened in 2003 and has received a Michelin Star every year since its inception. It has received 3 stars from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine, and has received the coveted 4 Diamond AAA rating from 2011 to present. Chef/Partner Lee Wolen was named ‘Chef of the Year’ by Eater in 2014 and won ‘Best Chef’ at the Jean Banchet Awards in 2014. Wolen was a finalist for the James Beard Awards in the ‘Best Chef: Great Lakes’ category in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. In May 2019, Boka placed #5 on Phil Vettel’s ranking of the top 50 restaurants in Chicago.
Boka Catering Group, helmed by Chef Giuseppe Tentori, began in 2007 and has since skyrocketed to the forefront of restaurant-quality catering, creating seamless catering experiences for high-profile events such as Hedge Fund Cares and The Sundance Film Festival. Boka Catering was named ‘Best Caterer’ at the Jean Banchet Awards in 2013.
Girl & The Goat opened in 2010, and has consistently been one of the most difficult reservations to get in the country. Saveur Magazine named it ‘The Best New Restaurant in America,’ and it was also nominated for the James Beard Award for ‘Best New Restaurant.’ Eater National, the Chicago Tribune, and Time Out Chicago all named Girl & the Goat ‘Restaurant of the Year’ the year it opened. Chef/co-Owner Stephanie Izard was named Food & Wine’s ‘Best New Chefs: 2011,’ won the James Beard Award for ‘Best Chef: Great Lakes’ in 2014, and an Iron Chef in 2017. TripAdvisor named Girl & the Goat the #4 restaurant in the world in its annual awards and The Daily Meal named it #9 in the U.S.
GT Fish & Oyster opened in 2011 and was awarded 4 stars by Time Out Chicago, 3 stars by the Chicago Tribune, and 3 stars by the Chicago Sun Times. Chef/Partner Giuseppe Tentori was named Food & Wine’s ‘Best New Chefs: 2008,’ ‘Chef of the Year’ by Chicago Social, and the restaurant was named ‘Best New Restaurant of the Year’ by the Chicago Tribune.
Balena opened in 2012 and received 3 stars from the Chicago Tribune, 4 stars from Time Out Chicago, and was listed as one of the ‘50 Best New Restaurants in America’ by Bon Apetit. It was also listed as one of the ‘10 Best New Restaurants in America’ by Gayot, as well as a James Beard semi-finalist for ‘Best New Restaurant.’
Little Goat Diner, Stephanie Izard’s second venture with Boka Restaurant Group, opened in December 2012. It received 3.5 stars from Red Eye Chicago and was named one of the ‘Best Diners in America’ by Food & Wine.
Elaine’s Coffee Call opened in March 2012. It was nominated for ‘Best New Coffee Shop’ at the Time Out Awards and was awarded one of Chicago Magazine’s ‘Best 50 Sandwiches in Chicago’ for its PB&J.
The J. Parker opened in the summer of 2012. It was nominated for ‘Best New Bar’ at the Time Out awards, was listed as one of the ‘50 Best Bars in Chicago’ in Chicago Magazine, and was named one of the ‘Best Hotel Bars in America’ by Food & Wine.
Momotaro opened in 2014 and received 4 stars from Time Out Chicago and 3 stars from the Chicago Tribune. It was named ‘Best New Restaurant in America’ by Esquire Magazine, ‘Restaurant of the Year’ by both Chicago Magazine and Chicago Social, and a finalist for ‘Outstanding Design’ at the 2017 James Beard Awards. In May 2019, Momotaro placed #6 on Phil Vettel’s ranking of the top 50 restaurants in Chicago, and received a 3-star review from the Chicago Tribune with the tagline “Gene Kato’s Homecoming Takes Momotaro Deeper into Japanese Grilling.”
Swift & Sons opened in 2015 under Chef/Partner Chris Pandel, was named the ‘#1 Steakhouse in Chicago’ by Time Out Chicago. It garnered a 3-star review from the Chicago Tribune with the tagline ”Best Beef Wellington. Ever.” Swift & Sons also won the category of ‘Best Upscale Restaurant’ at the 2016 Hospitality Design awards.
Duck Duck Goat, Stephanie Izard’s third venture with Boka Restaurant Group, opened in March 2016. Earning 3 stars from the Chicago Tribune, Red Eye Chicago, and Chicago Magazine, Duck Duck Goat swiftly gained a reputation as one of the hottest restaurant openings in 2016.
GT Prime Steakhouse opened in September 2016 and was quickly met with critical acclaim, garnering a 3-star review from the Chicago Tribune and a 3.5 star review from Red Eye Chicago, a Jean Banchet nomination for ‘Best Restaurant Design,’ and was named one of ‘America’s 50 Best Steakhouses’ by The Daily Meal in 2017.
Somerset, featured on InsideHook as its most anticipated fall 2017 opening, is Chef/Partner Lee Wolen’s second restaurant with Boka Restaurant Group. Thrillist named Somerset one of Chicago’s ‘Best Restaurant Openings’ and Chicago Magazine listed Somerset as #1 in its October ‘Hot List.’ The Gold Coast restaurant also received a 3-star review from the Chicago Tribune.
Devereaux opened in September 2017 and was named by Thrillist as one of Chicago’s ‘Best Bar Openings.’ It received 3 stars from the Chicago Tribune, and placed #1 on the Eater and Chicago Magazine ‘Hot Lists.’
Bellemore, Chef/Partner Jimmy Papadopoulos’ West Loop concept, opened in December 2017 and was named Robb Report’s ‘Best New Restaurant in America.’ Bellemore also placed #1 on the Eater Chicago ‘Hot List’ for 6 consecutive months. In May 2019, Bellemore placed #11 on Phil Vettel’s ranking of the top 50 restaurants in Chicago.
Dutch and Doc’s, Chef/Partner Chris Pandel’s third venture with Boka Restaurant Group, opened its doors in May 2018. It was named by Thrillist as one of Chicago’s ‘Best New Restaurants in 2018,’ and Eater Chicago included it in its ‘Best New Burgers’ heat map.
Cabra, Stephanie Izard’s rooftop cevicheria, opened in April 2019 with The Hoxton, Chicago, to immediate acclaim, landing on Eater Chicago’s ‘Hottest Restaurants in Chicago, Right Now,’ and InsideHook’s roundup of ‘The 8 Best Restaurants that Opened in Chicago this April.’
Cira, helmed by Chef/Partner Chris Pandel, opened in April 2019 with The Hoxton, Chicago. It was featured on Eater Chicago’s ‘Hottest Restaurants in Chicago, Right Now,’ and InsideHook’s roundup of ‘The 8 Best Restaurants that Opened in Chicago this April.’
Lazy Bird opened in April 2019 with The Hoxton, Chicago, and was featured in PUNCH’s list of ‘Most Notable New Bars in America.’
Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz were named ‘Restaurateurs of the Year’ at the Time Out Awards in 2010, by the Chicago Tribune in 2011, and at the Eater Awards in 2012. They were semi-finalists for ‘Outstanding Restaurateur’ at the James Beard Awards in 2015 and were finalists in the same category for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 awards. In 2019, the pair won the James Beard Award for ‘Outstanding Restaurateur.’
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