There's no doubt this has been a great year for the Boka Restaurant Group. After months of anticipation, Stephanie Izard's Girl & The Goat opened to great acclaim. Then the successful restaurant group owned by Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz announced it would open a fifth restaurant. Now, Crain's recognizes their success.
Out today, the new issue of Crain's lists the 40 people under the age of 40 who have made an impact on Chicago's business world in various categories including tech/media, law, health care, and what we care most about, dining. Three people were tapped and two come from the Boka Group: Izard and Boehm. The third is South Side restaurateur Quentin Love.
Even before Girl & The Goat opened, it was difficult to get a reservation. Now? Even harder. The restaurant rings about $160,000 in weekly sales, but even then Izard, who just celebrated her 34th birthday Oct. 30, said, "I don’t want to be the hottest new restaurant in town," referring to the reality she needs to keep things fresh if the Goat will continue to see success. Ever the over achiever, the University of Michigan grad is also shooting a pilot for a cooking show (could she be the next Rachael Ray?) and concepting a breakfast-and-lunch spot. But possibly her biggest endeavor is the desire to build a chicken-processing plant.
Boehm, 39, just made the cut as he turns 40 next month, is never one to rest on laurels. The Boka Group restaurants are on track to pull in close to $20 million in sales this year across the four places—Perennial, Boka, Landmark and the Goat. They're planning to open a new concept, GT Fish & Oyster, in February with current Boka executive chef Giuseppe Tentori heading the kitchen. Boehm has also told us that he and Katz don't want to slow down until they have at least 10 restaurants. All this on top of being a dad.
Quentin Love, the third recipient on the prestigious Crain's list is revolutionizing how people on the South Side eat, one restaurant at a time. In 2001, he opened Quench, an eatery focusing on fresh ingredients that didn't include beef or pork. He opened other restaurants that failed, then focused entirely on Quench. Today, there are seven spots throughout the South and West sides and an eighth is opening this week in Calumet City.
In August, Love partnered with food activist LaDonna Redmond to open Chatham's 2,500 square-foot Fresh Family Foods to sell fresh produce, meats, smoothies and other healthy items in an otherwise food desert. "I’ve learned you can’t change the community by yourself," Love said. "But you can do anything with a team."