Get us in your inbox

Los Angeles chef Ari Taymor of Alma.
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanLos Angeles chef Ari Taymor of Alma.

Celebrate the James Beard Awards with events, dinners and specials

Amy Cavanaugh
Written by
Amy Cavanaugh

The James Beard Awards will be held in Chicago on Monday, and it's attracting a huge number of noteworthy out-of-town chefs and others in the restaurant industry. The Beard Journalism Awards aren't in Chicago, they were held in New York last weekend, and locals Steve Dolinsky and Rick Bayless took home the Beard for Best Podcast for The Feed.

Other Chicago people and places up for Beard Awards are Parachute for Best New Restaurant, the Violet Hour for Best Bar Program, Blackbird's Dana Cree for Outstanding Pastry Chef, One Off Hospitality's Donnie Madia for Outstanding Restaurateur, Topolobampo for Outstanding Service, Boarding House's Tanya Baker for Rising Star Chef of the Year, and Curtis Duffy (Grace), Paul Virant (Vie), Erling Wu-Bower (Nico Osteria) and Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia) for Best Chef: Great Lakes.

Unless you're nominated for a Beard or you're a member of the media, you probably aren't going to Monday's ceremony at the Civic Opera House, but there are plenty of specials and events open to the public. Many restaurants are offering specials and one-off events inspired by James Beard for James Beard EATS Week held April 30–May 8. 

Special events

Mariano's West Loop
Yep, even a grocery store is celebrating the Beards. Mariano's is a sponsor of the event and is bringing in Blackbird bartender Kyle Davidson for a cocktail party on April 29 from 7–9pm. Tickets are $20 and include a cocktail demo and light snacks. Get tickets here.

From May 1–9 (excluding May 4), Intro will host a dinner series with dishes from current Intro chef CJ Jacobson, as well as Erik Anderson (the next Intro chef), Rising Star Chef nominees Jessica Largey of Manresa in Los Gatos, California, and Ari Taymor of Los Angeles's Alma, and visiting chefs Ben Sukle of Providence's Birch and Institute of Culinary Education creative director Michael Laiskonis. Tickets are $95–$125 and the meal includes six courses. Get tickets here.

Rockit Bar & Grill
Rockit relaunches this weekend with a special Beard & Boxing event, with a broadcast of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, along with drinks and food. It's $125 per person and tickets are available here.

RPM Steak
On May 2 at 7pm, Italian butcher Dario Cecchini will demonstrate how to break down a cow and pig, then serve a meal with meats and wines. Tickets are $225 and available here.

Eataly is hosting an Outstanding Night with Outstanding Chefs event on May 2, and four James Beard Award nominees will each offer a dish. Donald Link (nominated for Outstanding Chef for Herbsaint in New Orleans), Marc Vetri (nominated for Outstanding Chef for Vetri in Philadelphia), Dahlia Narvaez (nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef for Osteria La Mozza in Los Angeles) and Mark Ladner (nominated Best Chef in NYC for Del Posto), will serve dishes from 6–9pm. No tickets or reservations are required.

Bub City
On May 2 from 10pm–close, Bub City is hosting a craft beer tap takeover, with beers from Moody Tongue, Local Option, Penrose, Half Acre and Revolution. It's free to enter.

Broken Shaker at La Sirena Clandestina
Broken Shaker, the upcoming cocktail bar in the Freehand Chicago hotel opening this summer, is hosting a pop-up preview on May 4 from 10pm–2am. Led by Freddie Sarkis (Celeste), the Broken Shaker offerings will include a Banana Manhattan and a tequila drink with smoked pineapple and chorizo elixir.

James Beard EATS

All specials are available April 30-May 8.

The Hyde Park restaurant is offering a special potato gnocchi, grilled ramp, whipped chevre and bacon dish.

Ada St.
Get biscuits with fried West Coast oysters and cabbage slaw.

Benny's Chop House
The restaurant is offering a special shrimp dejonghe dish.

The Berghoff Restaurant 
Try the special bourbon-braised short rib.

Billy Sunday
The cocktail bar is offering a spring pea deviled egg with Illinois caviar and lavender crème fraiche.

Bittersweet Pastry Shop 
Dessert specials include vanilla bean crème custard, chocolate cream pie and cherry clafoutis.

The Bristol
A special meatloaf will be available.

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!
Specials include seared Spanish mackerel on escabeche, inspired by James Beard’s baked spiced herring, and chilled pea gazpacho, inspired by James Beard’s chilled pea soup with mint.

Celeste will have a special lobster au gratin.

The James Beard special is ratatouille, with zucchini, asparagus and other vegetables.

The Florentine
The Florentine is serving dishes inspired by recipes from James Beard's first cookbook, as well as a tasting menu that features Pacific Northwest–inspired dishes in homage to Beard's hometown of Portland. 

Get asparagus with brown butter sabayon, crispy ham and pickled spring onion. 

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse
The special here is a pork chop with apple chutney.

Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House
Get watermelon and red king crab gazpacho.

Japonais by Morimoto
The special is a grilled Berkshire pork chop with miso-marinated black sesame hummus, Brussels sprouts, kimchi and bacon. 

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
Joe’s is serving sea scallops atop potato puree with kale and lobster beurre blanc.

JW Marriott Chicago
The hotel is offering a special James Beard Bites menu, with options inspired by previous winners’ dishes. The menu includes Paul Kahan’s prawn Scotch egg and Stephanie Izard’s sautéed skate wing. 

Kinzie Chophouse
The $46 special menu includes a salad with pecans, Gorgonzola and dried cherries, steak and chocolate cake.

The special is salt cod brandade, with grilled ciabatta, olives and smoked paprika. 

Nando Milano Trattoria
Get housemade gnocchi verdi, made with kale, ricotta and cheese fondue. 

Try the special James Beard Club Sandwich with garlic roast chicken, tomato, lettuce, pancetta, Hook’s three-year cheddar and olive mayonnaise on whole wheat bread, or strawberry cake doughnuts. 

Pelago Ristorante
Pelago will have buffalo ricotta and spinach gnocchi with marjoram sauce. 

Piccolo Sogno
Piccolo is offering spinach and buffalo ricotta dumplings with chicken broth, butter, toasted pine nuts and prosciutto.

Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar
Get rigatoni with lamb sugo and burrata.

RL will have baked stuffed halibut with potatoes, mushrooms, peas and cucumber sauce. 

Saigon Sisters
Get pho banh mi for lunch or braised beef in stewed tomatoes for dinner. 

Salpicon is serving a crab cake served with avocado tomatillo sauce, which is inspired by James Beard’s cod cakes. 

Shaw's Crab House
Shaw's is running an oyster and cocktail pairing special. Get a Western Exposure cocktail, made with gin and herbs, alongside six Shigoku oysters, for $25 all day in the oyster bar.

Sixteen will have two specials: chicken with green garlic flan and lobster with celeriac, young ginger and asparagus nage. 

State and Lake Chicago Tavern
The restaurant is serving Little Frenchie, crispy Berkshire pork loin with Bell’s Oberon tomato broth, Havarti and a fried egg. 

theWit Hotel
The hotel will have a special lemon pudding cake. 

Trattoria No. 10
Get a special porcini ravioli with pancetta and marsala cream sauce. 

Troquet River North
Troquet will have pot-au-feu with braised brisket, vegetables, roasted oxtail and beef broth. 

The Waldorf Astoria Chicago
The Waldorf is hosting some of the Beard events and will be serving a $62 special menu, which includes a take on a Waldorf salad, scallop and rack of lamb, and carrot cake.

Yusho will have a special of miso rice with crab, peas and herbs.

Latest news