After five years in the city, chef Paul Virant is departing Lincoln Park and Perennial Virant. Boka Restaurant Group will close the restaurant in the Hotel Lincoln for a few months to reconcept following a final service on New Year’s Eve, and a new restaurant with two new partners should open in the spring.
The changes, which have been rumored for weeks, were confirmed via a news release from Boka. The group’s coffee shop (Elaine’s Coffee Call) and rooftop bar (The J. Parker) inside the hotel are unaffected by Perennial Virant’s closure and will remain open throughout the changes.
Boka will collaborate with two new partners — Ryan See and Dan Warren — on Perennial’s replacement. See is co-owner of Compass Bar in Lincoln Park and Bridge House Tavern in River North. Warren made waves in New York with Common Ground, which closed last year after a 10-year run. He also runs West 3rd Common, and back in 2010, he talked to Crain’s New York about how reasonably-priced restaurants could be recession proof. See and Warren have formed their own company, 90/94 Restaurant Group. Don’t bother Googling—the group’s so new that it results in zero Internet search hits. A Boka rep didn’t immediately provide further details.
Virant’s fans still can sample the acclaimed chef’s food in the suburbs at Vie in Western Springs and Vistro in Hinsdale. After years of looking for a space in the city, Virant joined Boka in 2011 to replace chef Ryan Poli. His arrival also meant a name change for the restaurant, which at that time was only known as "Perennial." Boka added the chef’s last name to the signage to signify the change.
For Perennial’s fans, reservations are still available for the duration of the month. You’ll have until Dec. 31 to say farewell.