clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Topolobampo, Boka Group Highlight Chicago’s James Beard Finalists for 2017

New, 1 comment

The Windy City has 10 finalists for restaurant and chef awards

James Beard Awards 2016 Chicago Hangover Observations
The Lyric Opera House in Chicago, site of the James Beard Awards again in 2017
Marc Much

10 Chicago restaurants, chefs, and restaurateurs have a chance to be awarded an "Oscar of the Food World" on May 1. The James Beard Foundation announced its award finalists today, and Topolobampo, the Boka Restaurant Group, and all five Best Chef: Great Lakes finalists highlight Chicago’s nominees for the 2017 Restaurant and Chef Awards.

Rick Bayless’ Mexican fine-dining legend Topolobampo has a chance to win what many consider to be the top award, Outstanding Restaurant. The Boka guys Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz are finalists for Outstanding Restaurateur for the second year in a row. And Jenner Tomaska of Next has a chance to win the Rising Star Chef of the Year award.

More than 20 semifinalists from Chicago sadly didn’t advance to the finals. Those include Tony Mantuano and Carrie Nahabedian (for Outstanding Chef); Oriole, Roister, and Smyth (for Best New Restaurant); Aya Fukai and Meg Galus (for Outstanding Pastry Chef), plus Jake Bickelhaupt, 42 grams, Paul Fehribach, Phillip Foss, Gene Kato, Edward Kim, Ryan McCaskey, Iliana Regan, Noah Sandoval, Charles Joly, Sepia, Lost Lake, David Park (of Hanbun), and North Pond and Boka (for Outstanding Service).

Read through the full list of local finalists below and head over to Eater National for the list from around the country. The awards take place at the Lyric Opera House on May 1, once again right here in Sweet Home Chicago.

Outstanding Restaurant


Outstanding Restaurateur

Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Jenner Tomaska, Next

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)

Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice

Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde

Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute

Lee Wolen, Boka

Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria

Outstanding Baker

Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread

Best Design, 76 Seats and Over

AvroKO, Momotaro

Best Television Segment

Steve Dolinsky, The Hungry Hound, ABC7

Next Restaurant

953 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 312 226 0858 Visit Website

Nico Osteria

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


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


220 West College Avenue, , PA 16801 (814) 308-9436 Visit Website


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

Fat Rice

2957 West Diversey Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 661-9170 Visit Website


1020 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 888-3041


445 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 661-1434 Visit Website