clock menu more-arrow no yes
Getty/Victor Spinelli/WireImage

Chicago's 2017 James Beard Awards Finalists, Mapped

A handy guide before the winners are named on May 1

View as Map

Chicago's restaurant industry hopes that hosting the James Beard Awards again will give its local nominees some semblance of home-field advantage. When including ABC-7's Hungry Hound, Steve Dolinsky, 11 Chicago nominees were named Beard finalists this year. The awards gala takes place on May 1 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

In anticipation for the red carpet, check out this map of finalists. With all five nominees for "Best Chef: Great Lakes," from Chicago restaurants, perhaps the Beards will eventually break out Chicago in the same manner as The Big Apple, which has the "Best Chef: New York City" category. Here's the overall list of this year's finalists.

Consider this something to chew on before this year's awards gala. Listed in alphabetical order.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Fat Rice (Abraham Conlon, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

Copy Link
2957 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-9170
Visit Website
Abe Conlon and Adrienne Lo have turned Logan Square into a dining destination and introducing many to the island nation of Macau. But there are no borders when it comes to Fat Rice's menu, which dabbles through Southeast Asian, Portugal, and India, serving Chicagoans in a laid-back dining room that takes its food very seriously.
Eva Flores, Courtesy of Feast Portland

2. Monteverde (Sarah Grueneberg, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

Copy Link
1020 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-3041
Visit Website
Many were first introduced to Sarah Grueneberg via Top Chef, but she's made a home in the West Loop in the center of the restaurant where you can see her labor, making hand-crafted pastas at Monteverde. It's a treat watching her hands work through the mirror overhead. It's even more of a treat eating her delicious pastas. She worked at Spiaggia before opening her restaurant.
Galdones Photography

3. Parachute (Beverly Kim/Johnny Clark, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

Copy Link
3500 N Elston Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 654-1460
Visit Website
The wife/husband duo of Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark bring a family approach to Parachute, tapping into Kim's Korean roots in Avondale. Kim, another Top Chef alum, and Clark have flipped what Chicagoans think of Korean food, with a constant assault of plates that test every one of your taste buds.
Marc Much

4. Boka (Lee Wolen, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

Copy Link
1729 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 337-6070
Visit Website
Lee Wolen helms the flagship restaurant from Boka Restaurant Group. The Cleveland native boasts an extensive resume, including a stint at Eleven Madison Park in New York. At Boka, he's succeeded in bringing fine dining to more of a mainstream audience in Lincoln Park.
Boka

5. Nico Osteria (Erling Wu-Bower, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

Copy Link
1015 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 994-7100
Visit Website
A suburban Chicago native that went to Notre Dame, Erling Wu-Bower learned much from One Off Hospitality founder Paul Kahan. He showcases that experience at Nico in Gold Coast inside the Thompson Hotel. Wu-Bower will soon leave Nico to open a new River North restaurant, the first building block of his new restaurant group, Underscore Hospitality.
Chicago Food + Wine Festival

6. Topolobampo (Outstanding Restaurant)

Copy Link
445 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 661-1434
Visit Website
Rick Bayless has done much to introduce America to regional Mexican cuisine, and his River North gem Topolobampo just received a facelift after 28 years. An Outstanding Restaurant win would give Bayless yet another feather in a cap that's already stuffed with accolades.
Courtesy of Topolobampo

7. Boka Restaurant Group (Kevin Boehm/Rob Katz, Outstanding Restaurateur)

Copy Link
820 W Lake St #200
Chicago, IL 60607
Whether serving Cubs executives roasted goat to honor the team's drought-busting World Series win, or opening another new restaurant, Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz run one of Chicago's most successful groups with a diverse cast of restaurants. They've successfully partnered with Stephanie Izard on three restaurants, and have really brought restaurant design into focus (more on this later). Holdings include GT Prime, Girl & the Goat, and Swift & Sons. The office is located above Momotaro, which is also a finalist for an award.
Nick Fochtman

8. Next (Jenner Tomaska, Rising Star Chef of the Year)

Copy Link
953 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 226-0858
Visit Website
It might be a tough gig to work in the shadow of the esteemed Grant Achatz, but Jenner Tomaska has quickly made a name for himself. Tomaska, a suburban native, was nominated for the same award last year, and helps create the menus at Next off Fulton Market.

9. Publican Quality Bread (Greg Wade, Outstanding Baker)

Copy Link
Greg Wade is a Milwaukee native who joined the Boka team when Girl & the Goat opened. He also worked at Taxim, the rustic Greek restaurant in Wicker Park. He now runs the bread program for Publican's parent, One Off Hospitality.
One Off Hospitality

10. Momotaro (AvroKO, Outstanding Design, 76 Seats and Over)

Copy Link
820 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-4818
Visit Website
Momotaro is a stunning example of restaurant design in the West Loop. The design takes several Japanese elements—it's a sushi restaurant, after all—but it doesn't feel awkward or forced appropriation. Design has become a focal point for all of Boka's restaurants, and they've employed AvroKO—which has also worked on Boka's Duck Duck Goat and Swift & Sons—to create something special.
Marc Much

1. Fat Rice (Abraham Conlon, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

2957 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Eva Flores, Courtesy of Feast Portland
Abe Conlon and Adrienne Lo have turned Logan Square into a dining destination and introducing many to the island nation of Macau. But there are no borders when it comes to Fat Rice's menu, which dabbles through Southeast Asian, Portugal, and India, serving Chicagoans in a laid-back dining room that takes its food very seriously.
2957 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

2. Monteverde (Sarah Grueneberg, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

1020 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60607
Galdones Photography
Many were first introduced to Sarah Grueneberg via Top Chef, but she's made a home in the West Loop in the center of the restaurant where you can see her labor, making hand-crafted pastas at Monteverde. It's a treat watching her hands work through the mirror overhead. It's even more of a treat eating her delicious pastas. She worked at Spiaggia before opening her restaurant.
1020 West Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60607

3. Parachute (Beverly Kim/Johnny Clark, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

3500 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Marc Much
The wife/husband duo of Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark bring a family approach to Parachute, tapping into Kim's Korean roots in Avondale. Kim, another Top Chef alum, and Clark have flipped what Chicagoans think of Korean food, with a constant assault of plates that test every one of your taste buds.
3500 N Elston Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

4. Boka (Lee Wolen, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

1729 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
Boka
Lee Wolen helms the flagship restaurant from Boka Restaurant Group. The Cleveland native boasts an extensive resume, including a stint at Eleven Madison Park in New York. At Boka, he's succeeded in bringing fine dining to more of a mainstream audience in Lincoln Park.
1729 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614

5. Nico Osteria (Erling Wu-Bower, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

1015 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611
Chicago Food + Wine Festival
A suburban Chicago native that went to Notre Dame, Erling Wu-Bower learned much from One Off Hospitality founder Paul Kahan. He showcases that experience at Nico in Gold Coast inside the Thompson Hotel. Wu-Bower will soon leave Nico to open a new River North restaurant, the first building block of his new restaurant group, Underscore Hospitality.
1015 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

6. Topolobampo (Outstanding Restaurant)

445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Courtesy of Topolobampo
Rick Bayless has done much to introduce America to regional Mexican cuisine, and his River North gem Topolobampo just received a facelift after 28 years. An Outstanding Restaurant win would give Bayless yet another feather in a cap that's already stuffed with accolades.
445 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654

7. Boka Restaurant Group (Kevin Boehm/Rob Katz, Outstanding Restaurateur)

820 W Lake St #200, Chicago, IL 60607
Nick Fochtman
Whether serving Cubs executives roasted goat to honor the team's drought-busting World Series win, or opening another new restaurant, Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz run one of Chicago's most successful groups with a diverse cast of restaurants. They've successfully partnered with Stephanie Izard on three restaurants, and have really brought restaurant design into focus (more on this later). Holdings include GT Prime, Girl & the Goat, and Swift & Sons. The office is located above Momotaro, which is also a finalist for an award.
820 W Lake St #200
Chicago, IL 60607

8. Next (Jenner Tomaska, Rising Star Chef of the Year)

953 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
It might be a tough gig to work in the shadow of the esteemed Grant Achatz, but Jenner Tomaska has quickly made a name for himself. Tomaska, a suburban native, was nominated for the same award last year, and helps create the menus at Next off Fulton Market.
953 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

9. Publican Quality Bread (Greg Wade, Outstanding Baker)

Chicago, IL
One Off Hospitality
Greg Wade is a Milwaukee native who joined the Boka team when Girl & the Goat opened. He also worked at Taxim, the rustic Greek restaurant in Wicker Park. He now runs the bread program for Publican's parent, One Off Hospitality.

10. Momotaro (AvroKO, Outstanding Design, 76 Seats and Over)

820 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607
Marc Much
Momotaro is a stunning example of restaurant design in the West Loop. The design takes several Japanese elements—it's a sushi restaurant, after all—but it doesn't feel awkward or forced appropriation. Design has become a focal point for all of Boka's restaurants, and they've employed AvroKO—which has also worked on Boka's Duck Duck Goat and Swift & Sons—to create something special.
820 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607

Related Maps