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2022’s Jean Banchet Award Nominations Are Live in Chicago

The local awards, back for the first time in two years, have expanded to highlight non-traditional “alternative dining”

A chef wearing a white mask and blue beanie hat uses chopsticks to arrange food in a round bento box.
Chef Kelly Ijichi’s pop-up Mom’s Chicago is among the nominees for the Banchet Awards’s newest category.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The Jean Banchet Awards, Chicago’s top awards for the city’s chefs, restaurants, and bars not given out by a media company, on Wednesday released its list of nominees for the 2022 awards. Like the James Beard Foundation Awards, which announced its collection of semifinalists in late February, the Banchet Awards did not name any winners in 2021.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its profound impact on both the restaurant industry and dining culture, the local awards have introduced a new category: Best Alternative Dining. It’s a noteworthy change that indicates a broader, more inclusive understanding of hospitality in Chicago. The new category’s nominees are the Hot Dog Box, the playful shipping container-turned-restaurant with locations in Bronzeville and Portage Park; Japanese-American pop-up Mom’s; Brazilian restaurant and catering company Sinhá on the Near West Side; regional Indian virtual spot Tasting India in Andersonville; and barbecue food truck hit Soul & Smoke based in suburban Evanston.

Finalists for Restaurant of the Year include the recently refurbished fine dining destination Oriole in West Loop (a regular in the category), innovative Uptown restaurant Brass Heart, elegant Korean tasting menu spot Jeong in West Town, farm-to-table stalwart Lula Cafe in Logan Square, and Moody Tongue, the world’s only two Michelin-starred brewpub, in South Loop.

Chef of the Year contenders — who are all men, save for chef Beverly Kim — include well-known local culinary stars Carlos Gaytán (Tzuco), Thai Dang (HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen), Kim and Johnny Clark (Wherewithall, Parachute), Erick Williams (Virtue), and Lee Wolen (Boka, Alla Vita). Rising Star Chef, a category that highlights prominent up-and-comers in Chicago’s restaurant industry, also features an all-male nominee list of Ethan Lim (Hermosa), Zubair Mohajir (The Coach House by Wazwan), James Martin (Bocadillo Market), Ian Rusnak and Eric Safin (Elina’s), and Troy Jorge (Temporis).

A full list of the 2022 nominees is available online. The Jean Banchet staff will announce the winners at an event on May 1 at Venue SIX10.


933 North Ashland Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4961 Visit Website


1742 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (312) 722-6911 Visit Website


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

HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen

1800 South Carpenter Street, , IL 60608 (312) 702-1303 Visit Website


3472 North Elston Avenue, , IL 60618 (773) 692-2192 Visit Website


2018 West Adams Street, , IL 60612 (312) 491-8200 Visit Website

Bocadillo Market

2342 North Clark Street, , IL 60614 (773) 857-0331 Visit Website


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


1132 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 (312) 624-8363 Visit Website


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


1460 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 877-5016 Visit Website

Alla Vita

564 West Randolph Street, , IL 60661 (312) 667-0104 Visit Website


720 North State Street, , IL 60654 (312) 374-8995 Visit Website


, , IL

The Hot Dog Box

4020 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60641 Visit Website

Soul & Smoke

1601 Payne Street, , IL 60201 (847) 859-2732 Visit Website

Lula Cafe

2537 North Kedzie Boulevard, , IL 60647 (773) 489-9554 Visit Website

Brass Heart

4662 North Broadway, , IL 60640 (773) 564-9680 Visit Website


1462 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL


1834 South Kildare Avenue, , IL 60623

The Hot Dog Box Portage Park

4020 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60641 Visit Website