Millennium Park | Chicago
Boka Restaurant Group
After opening 16 successful restaurants over two decades, James Beard nominated restaurateur Kevin Boehm has become one of the nation's most successful owner/operators. Kevin, along with partner Rob Katz have not only built a successful restaurant group, but have established a restaurant culture built on great chefs, inspired hospitality, and amazing design.
Born in 1970, Boehm grew up in Springfield, Illinois and knew at a young age he was destined to be in the restaurant business. After dropping out of University of Illinois, he saved enough money as a server to open his first restaurant in 1992, the quaint Lazy Daze Café, in Seaside, Florida. Indigo Wine Bar (Blue Mountain Beach, Florida), Indigo Restaurant (Springfield, Illinois), and Six Degrees (Nashville, Tennessee) followed and Boehm got his education opening and selling restaurants all before the age of 30.
In 2002, Boehm partnered with Rob Katz and the two established Boka Restaurant Group. The pair would open 12 restaurants in less than 10 years: Boka (2003), Landmark (2005), Perennial (2008), Girl & the Goat (2010), GT Fish & Oyster (2011), Perennial Virant (2011), Balena (2012), Elaine's Coffee Call (2012), The J. Parker (2012), Little Goat Bread(2012), and Little Goat Diner (2013), and Little Goat Diner at the French Market(2014) and establish themselves as one of the great chef-driven groups in the country. They are also opening 2 restaurants in 2014 and one in 2015.
The groups many accolades include "3 stars" for Boka, Perennial, Girl & the Goat, GT Fish & Oyster, Perennial Virant, and Balena from the Chicago Tribune. A Michelin Star 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 for Boka. A Bib Gourmand for Perennial, GT Fish & Oyster, and Girl & the Goat in 2012 and 2013. "Food and Wine's Best New Chef's" for Boka's Giuseppe Tentori, Perennial Virant's Paul Virant, and Girl & the Goat's Stephanie Izard. "50 Best New Restaurants in America," for Perennial in Travel and Leisure. Restaurant of the Year for Girl & the Goat in Chicago Tribune, Metromix, and Eater, and "National Chef of the Year" at the Eater Awards in New York. A James Beard nomination for Girl and the Goat for Best New Restaurant in 2011, and a James Beard win for Stephanie Izard for Best Chef Great Lakes in 2013.
Boehm and Katz also won Restaurateurs of the Year from Time Out Chicago in 2010, the Chicago Tribune in 2011, and were named Empire Builders of the Year by Eater National in 2011. Boka Restaurant Group was named one of the RH25 in Restaurant Hospitality Magazine in 2013.
Boehm has been a featured speaker at the National Restaurant Show, writes a column for the Chicago Sun-Times, was named "40 Under 40" in Crains in 2010, and has passed his introductory Sommelier Exam. Kevin co-produces the Gold Coast Film Festival, which was started in 2004. He is also sat on the board of Trustees for the Hope Institute for 7 years, and currently sits on the Board of Directors of Easter Seals.