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Chicago's 2017 James Beard Awards Finalists, Mapped

A handy guide before the winners are named on May 1

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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.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

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

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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

Monteverde (Sarah Grueneberg, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

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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

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

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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

Boka (Lee Wolen, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

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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

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

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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

Topolobampo (Outstanding Restaurant)

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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

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

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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

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

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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.

Publican Quality Bread (Greg Wade, Outstanding Baker)

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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

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

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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

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

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.

Eva Flores, Courtesy of Feast Portland

Monteverde (Sarah Grueneberg, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

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.

Galdones Photography

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

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.

Marc Much

Boka (Lee Wolen, Best Chef: Great Lakes)

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.

Boka

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

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.

Chicago Food + Wine Festival

Topolobampo (Outstanding Restaurant)

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.

Courtesy of Topolobampo

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

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.

Nick Fochtman

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

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.

Publican Quality Bread (Greg Wade, Outstanding Baker)

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.

One Off Hospitality

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

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.

Marc Much

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