The nominees are in for the 2017 Jean Banchet Awards, which celebrate Chicago’s culinary industry. They’ll announce the winners at the Grand Chef’s Gala on Jan. 15. This year the panel added a new category as "best alternative restaurant" to recognize food trucks, pop-ups and other non-traditional brick-and-mortar experiences.
Oriole looks to be the big winner with four nominations, including "best new restaurant." Sepia, also in the West Loop, earned three nominations including "restaurant of the year." Honey’s also secured three nominations, as did El Che Bar.
Snaggletooth, the cured-fish paradise in Lakeview from Bill Montagne and Jennifer Kim snagged two nominations. The unassuming space finds itself among some big guns. Alinea Group’s casual spot that even offers lunch, Roister, also earned two nominations, as did Schwa, the long-time fine-dining spot in West Town. Sixteen, up in the Trump Tower, also scored two nominations. Sarah Grueneberg’s pastas earned Monteverde two nominations, as well.
Check out the full list of nominees below.
Restaurant of the Year: Blackbird, EL Ideas, Schwa, Sepia
Chef of the Year: Andrew Brochu (Roister), Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde), Gene Kato (Sumi Robata Bar), John Manion (La Sirena Clandestina/El Che Bar)
Rising Chef of the Year: Ashlee Aubin (Salero), Cameron Grant (Osteria Langhe/Animale), Bill Montagne & Jennifer Kim (Snaggletooth), Charles Welch (Honey’s)
Best Chef-de-Cuisine: Wilson Bauer (Schwa), Nick Dostal (Sixteen), Ryan Pfeiffer (Blackbird), Sarah Rinkavage (Lula Café)
Pastry Chef of the Year: Meg Galus (Swift & Sons/Momotaro/BOKA), Genie Kwon (Oriole), Mindy Segal (Mindy’s HotChocolate), Cindy Schuman (Sepia)
Rising Pastry Chef of the Year: Dave Brandenburgh (Band of Bohemia), Alison Cates (Honey’s), Aya Fukai (Maple & Ash), Marianna Reynolds (El Che Bar)
Best Neighborhood Restaurant: Arbor, Owen & Engine, Snaggletooth, Sumi Robata Bar
Best Ethnic Restaurant: 5 Loaves Eatery, Go 4 Food, Hanbun, Immm Rice & Beyond
Best New Restaurant: The Loyalist, Monteverde, Oriole, Roister
Best Sommelier: Rachel Driver Speckan (City Winery), Parag Lalit (Sixteen), Aaron McManus (Oriole), Terry McNeese (de Quay)
Best Mixologist: Griffin Elliott (Sepia), Nandini Khaund (Cindy’s), Julia Momose (GreenRiver), Benjamin Schiller (The Berkshire Room/The Sixth/Steadfast)
Best Restaurant Design: Dixie, El Che Bar, GT Prime, Smyth
Best Restaurant Service: BOKA, Honey’s, Maple & Ash, Oriole
Best Alternative Dining: Claudia, Happy Lobster, Nomad, Tamale Spaceship