The James Beard Foundation Awards will remain in Chicago through 2027, city officials announced on Monday morning. Over the last four years, the Beards, which recognize the best restaurants and chefs in the country, have been held annually in Chicago. The Beards’ current deal with Chicago was to expire in 2021 and there was speculation the awards could move.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose administration was instrumental in bringing the Beards from New York to Chicago, announced in September that he would not seek reelection. Emanuel was on hand on Monday morning at the Chicago Cultural Center for the announcement on the six-year extension.
As Emanuel exits, restaurant owners wonder if they’ll receive the same support from whoever replaces him. The city’s tourism office, Choose Chicago, has worked with restaurateurs to promote those businesses to visitors. Reps from Choose Chicago and the Illinois Restaurant Association joined the mayor during the announcement.
The Beards have helped establish Chicago as a premier dining destination. It’s the second extension with Chicago and the Beards. The 2019 awards will take place on May 6 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, according to a news release. Today’s announcement means the Lyric will likely host the Beards for the next nine years.