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Boka Group, North Pond, Mi Tocaya Highlight Chicago’s 2018 James Beard Award Semifinalists

Chicago received 28 total nominations this year

James Beard Award
The James Beard Awards take place May 7 in Chicago.

The 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists — also known as the “long list” — were announced today and Chicago nabbed 28 of them compared to 31 in 2017. The Boka Restaurant Group once again leads the local pack with four nominations (including once again for Outstanding Restaurateur) while the city’s new darling of Mexican cuisine, Mi Tocaya Antojeria and chef/owner Diana Dávila, nabbed two for Best New Restaurant and the regional Best Chef: Great Lakes award.

North Pond is Chicago’s semifinalist representation for the top award, Restaurant of the Year, while Tony Mantuano and Carrie Nahabedian once again are nominated for the next top award, Outstanding Chef. First-time local nominees include HaiSous for Best New Restaurant and Jennifer Jones Enyart of Dos Urban Cantina for Outstanding Pastry Chef. And Chicago once again dominates the Best Chef: Great Lakes semifinalists, with 13 of the 20 nominees coming from the Windy City.

Finalists will be announced on March 14. For the fourth consecutive time, the awards will take place at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, this time on May 7.

In January, the Beards honored Sun Wah BBQ with a 2018 America’s Classics Award. Chicagoans took home two Beards awards in 2017 as Rick Bayless’s Topolobampo won Outstanding Restaurant and Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde) won for Best Chef: Great Lakes.

Here are this year’s nominees (* also denotes a 2017 nomination), and head over to Eater National for the full long list from around the country.

Best New Restaurant


Mi Tocaya Antojería

Outstanding Baker

*Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread

Outstanding Bar Program

*Lost Lake

Outstanding Chef

*Tony Mantuano, Spiaggia

*Carrie Nahabedian, Naha

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Jennifer Jones Enyart, Dos Urban Cantina

*Meg Galus, Boka

Outstanding Restaurant

North Pond

Outstanding Restaurateur

*Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group

Outstanding Service



Outstanding Wine Program

The Boarding House

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional

*Charles Joly, Crafthouse Cocktails

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Sarah Rinkavage, Marisol

Best Chef: Great Lakes (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio)

Andrew Brochu, Roister

*Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice

Diana Dávila, Mi Tocaya Antojería

*Paul Fehribach, Big Jones

Brian Fisher, Entente

Jason Hammel, Lula Café

*Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute

*Ryan McCaskey, Acadia

David Posey and Anna Posey, Elske

*Iliana Regan, Elizabeth

*Noah Sandoval, Oriole

Zoe Schor, Split-Rail

*Lee Wolen, Boka

Big Jones

5347 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (773) 275-5725 Visit Website


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


1350 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-1314 Visit Website


1639 South Wabash Avenue, , IL 60616 (312) 360-9500 Visit Website

Dos Urban Cantina

2829 West Armitage Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 661-6452 Visit Website

Mi Tocaya Antojería

2800 West Logan Boulevard, , IL 60647 (872) 315-3947 Visit Website


2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4413 Visit Website


661 West Walnut Street, , IL 60661 (312) 877-5899 Visit Website


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

Lyric Opera

20 N Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606 312 332 2244 Visit Website


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


980 North Michigan Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 280-2750 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


951 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 789-4896


700 North Sedgwick Street, , IL 60654 (312) 285-2247 Visit Website


205 East Pearson Street, , IL 60611 (312) 799-3599 Visit Website

The Boarding House

720 North Wells Street, , IL 60654 (312) 280-0720 Visit Website


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

Lost Lake

3154 West Diversey Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 293-6048 Visit Website


1800 S. Carpenter St., Chicago, IL Visit Website

North Pond

, , IL 60614


500 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 321-6242 Visit Website

Elizabeth Restaurant

4835 North Western Avenue, , IL 60625 Visit Website

Mi Tocaya Antojeria

2800 W Logan blvd, Chicago, IL 60647 (872) 315-3947 Visit Website