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Boka Restaurant Group Claims Four Jean Banchet Awards

Boka earns Restaurant of the Year nod on Friday night at the Grand Chefs Gala.

Boka Restaurant Group takes home hardware.
Boka Restaurant Group takes home hardware.
Huge Galdones/Facebook
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Boka Restaurant Group cleaned up on Friday at the 18th annual Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence, claiming four out of 12 awards.

The big day culminated in a win in the Restaurant of the Year category, with the group's namesake, Boka, taking home the honor. The restaurant's Lee Wolen also earned Chef of the Year. Genie Kwon from Boka and GT Fish and Oyster claimed Rising Chef of the Year, while the group's new Japanese joint — Momotaro — won for Best Restaurant Design.

The Best Neighborhood Restaurant category was new this year, and La Sirena Clandestina won the inaugural award. Parachute, the acclaimed Korean-American spot, was recognized as Best New Restaurant. Jake Bickelhaupt, of Michelin two-starred 42 Grams, won Rising Chef of the Year.

The Jean Banchet Awards are a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser in its 18th year. Check out the full list of honorees:

  • Chef of the Year: Lee Wolen (Boka)
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Dana Cree (Blackbird)
  • Best Chef-de-Cuisine: Erling Wu-Bower (Nico Osteria),
  • Rising Chef of the Year: Jake Bickelhaupt (42 grams)
  • Rising Pastry Chef of the Year presented by Nielsen Massey-Vanillas: Genie Kwon (Boka/GT Fish and Oyster)
  • Best Sommelier: Arthur Hon (Sepia)
  • Best Mixologist: Alex Bachman (Billy Sunday)
  • Best Restaurant Design: Momotaro
  • Best Restaurant Service: Embeya
  • Best New Restaurant: Parachute
  • Best Neighborhood Restaurant: La Sirena Clandestina
  • Restaurant of the Year presented by the Illinois Restaurant Association: Boka

GT Fish & Oyster

531 North Wells Street, , IL 60654 (312) 929-3501 Visit Website


1729 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (312) 337-6070 Visit Website


564 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60661


614 North 2nd Street, , PA 19123 (267) 324-5224 Visit Website


3500 North Elston Avenue, , IL 60618 (872) 204-7138 Visit Website

Nico Osteria

1015 North Rush Street, , IL 60611 (312) 994-7100 Visit Website

La Sirena Clandestina

954 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 226-5300 Visit Website


123 North Jefferson Street, , IL 60661 (312) 441-1920 Visit Website

42 grams

4662 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640 Visit Website

Billy Sunday

1115 North Brevard Street, , NC 28206 Visit Website


820 West Lake Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-4818 Visit Website