For the first time in 25 years, the James Beard Foundation held its annual award ceremony in Chicago tonight. While the city already felt the love from the honor of hosting the awards—both Mayor Emanuel and Governor Rauner stopped by the event—a few spots around town earned wins from the foundation (not that surprising, given how often Chicago, along with New York and San Francisco, are recognized). Here's who won tonight at the 25th annual awards.
Outstanding Restaurateur: Donnie Madia
You probably know the managing partner/owner of One Off Hospitality Group by the restaurants under his umbrella: Blackbird, Avec, the Violet Hour, Big Star, the Publican, Publican Quality Meats, Nico Osteria, and Dove's Luncheonette.
Outstanding Bar Program: Violet Hour
The Wicker Park bar opened in 2007 and revolutionized the craft cocktail scene in the city. Eight years later, it was finally recognized for its brilliant drink program.
Best Restaurant Design (Under 75 Seats): Brindille
One of our best new restaurants in 2014, River North spot Brindille (and the Bureau of Architecture and Design) took home the award for best design. It makes sense—the place has stood out as a charming French bistro since our first visit in 2013.
Lifetime Achievement: Rich Melman
The Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises founder has been an anchor in the Chicago dining scene for years, to the point of ranking on our annual Power 100 list. His latest venture? Intro, the rotating chef spot in Lincoln Park.