After opening 20 restaurants over 20 years, James Beard award-winning restaurateur Rob Katz has become one of the nation’s foremost visionaries in the field of hospitality. Together with partner Kevin Boehm, Katz combined his deep love of food, design, and people to build a group that has produced some of Chicago’s most iconic restaurants.
Originally from Vancouver, B.C., Katz moved to Chicago in 1987 to work at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. When he started bartending on the weekends, Katz quickly developed a fascination with the business of creating an atmosphere and an experience that brings people together. He opened four highly successful bars and nightclubs in the 1990’s, including Katacomb, Elbo Room, and Waterloo, the latter two establishing him as one of the pioneers of Lincoln Park’s live music scene.
In 2002, Katz partnered with Kevin Boehm, combining their experience, expertise, and vision to form Boka Restaurant Group. Together, they opened 25 distinct restaurants in less than 18 years across Chicago, including Boka, Balena, GT Fish & Oyster, GT Prime Steakhouse, Girl & the Goat, Little Goat Diner, Duck Duck Goat, Swift & Sons, Cold Storage, Bellemore, Somerset, Devereaux, Momotaro, The Izakaya at Momotaro, Cabra, Cira, Lazy Bird, Elaine’s Coffee Call, and The J. Parker. In 2020, they plan to expand to Los Angeles, California, with Girl & the Goat LA.
Katz sits on the board of the Chicago Children’s Choir, travels when he can, and speaks on hospitality panels across the country. He lives with his wife, Kathleen, and their two children, Jamieson and Shelby, who are a constant source of entertainment and inspiration.