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RH 25: Boka Restaurant Group

RH 25: Boka Restaurant Group

The best and brightest restaurant companies are not just creating one great concept; they're creating many. See Restaurant Hospitality's picks for powerful multiconcept companies that not only play it cool, they kick ass. See all concepts >>

Founders Kevin Boehm, left, and Rob Katz


Annual sales: $47 million (projecting $66 in 2014)

Units: 8

Key personnel:  
• Kevin Boehm, cofounder
• Rob Katz, cofounder
• Ian Goldberg, v.p.
• Abby Kritzler, executive director

Single concepts:
• Boka (Contemporary American with celebrity chef Giuseppe Tentori at the helm)
• Belena (“honest Italian cooking” in conjunction with the Bristol Restaurant Group)
• Girl & The Goat (eclectic small plates from Stephanie Izard)
• Little Goat (a modern diner with Stephanie Izard)
• GT Fish & Oyster (named after chef Giuseppe Tentori)
• The J. Parker (farm-to-table cuisine from Paul Virant)
• Perennial Virant (farm-to-table from Paul Virant)
• Elaine’s Coffee Call (stylish cafe with pastries from Virant and pastry chef Elissa Narrow)

Upcoming projects:
• Three new concepts are planned for next year, including a 14,000-square-foot steakhouse in the West Loop)

Boka, helmed by celebrity chef Giuseppe Tentori

Why it’s cool

“Ask any chef in town, ‘Who would you like to work for?’ and chances are that chef would name Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, the men behind the hottest restaurant group in Chicago.”—Chicago Magazine. That 2011 quote pretty much sums up the success of BRG. The two top dogs know good food when they see it and they go out of their way to partner with top-shelf kitchen talent. And what a stable of chefs Boehm and Katz (named Restaurateurs of the Year by the Chicago Tribune in 2011) have. At the Girl & the Goat, named Best New Restaurant in America by Saveur magazine, they’ve teamed with Top Chef Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard, who months ago won a James Beard Award for Best Chef, Great Lakes region. At Perennial Virant they partnered with Paul Virant, a James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef Great Lakes, a Food & Wine Best New Chef (2007) and a Restaurant Hospitality Rising Star (2005). Travel and Leisure named the restaurant to its list of the 50 Best Restaurants in America. At GT Fish & Oyster their go-to chef, Giuseppe Tentori, was named Chef of the Year by Chicago Social and the restaurant was named Best New Restaurant of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. You get the point? They have tons of skill in the kitchen, but they also design great-looking, sexy restaurants that they run with the efficiency of sharp-penciled accountants. Is it any wonder how they’ve opened a load of restaurants in the last 10 years and have three more on the way?

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