After opening 20 successful restaurants over two decades, James Beard nominated restaurateur Kevin Boehm has become one of the nation's most successful owner/operators. Boehm, 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 would open 16 restaurants together in less than 15 years.
The restaurants and chefs have garnered many accolades, including Michelin stars, James Beard nominations & wins, Food and Wine’s “Best New Chefs,” and one “Iron Chef.” Currently, seven of Boka Restaurant Group’s establishments are included in Chicago Tribune food critic Phil Vettel’s Top 50 Restaurants in Chicago list.
Boehm along with Katz won “Restaurateurs of the Year” from Time Out Chicago in 2010, the Chicago Tribune in 2011, and were named “Empire Builders of the Year” by Eater National in 2011. They were James Beard semi-finalists for “Best Restaurateur in America” in 2015, and finalists in 2016 and 2017.
Boehm has been a featured speaker at the National Restaurant Show, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, MUFSO, keynote speaker at the Asheville Independent Restaurant Show, and has given the commencement address at a Culinary Institute of America in NYC and Kendall College in Chicago. He was named "40 Under 40" in Crain’s Chicago Business in 2010. Boehm currently sits on the Board of Directors of Easter Seals, The Illinois Restaurant Association, and 826 CHI. Kevin lives in Chicago with his wife and 3 children.