Co-Founder of Boka Restaurant Group
After opening 20 successful restaurants over two decades, James Beard nominated restaurateur Rob Katz has become one of the nation's most successful owner/operators. Katz, along with partner Kevin Boehm have not only built a successful restaurant group, but have established a restaurant culture built on great chefs, inspired hospitality, and amazing design.
A native of Vancouver, B.C., Katz moved to Chicago in 1987 to work at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange, one of the world’s busies trading pits, but quickly became involved in the bar and nightclub business. 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 live music in Lincoln Park.
In 2002 Katz partnered with Kevin Boehm, 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.
Katz along with Boehm won “Restaurateurs of the Year” from Time Out Chicago in 2010, the Chicago Tribune in 2011, and was 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.
Katz sits on the board of Chicago Children’s Choir, dabbles in real estate, and often speaks on restaurant panels around the country. He currently lives in Roscoe Village with his wife Kathleen, and their two children Jamison and Shelby, who provide a constant source of entertainment and inspiration.