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  1. Photograph: Jeff Kauck
    Photograph: Jeff Kauck

    Restaurateur of the Year winner: Kevin Boehm & Rob Katz

  2. Photograph: Erica Gannett
    Photograph: Erica Gannett

    Restaurateur of the Year nominee: Scott Harris

  3. Restaurateur of the Year nominee: Tony Hu

  4. Restaurateur of the Year nominee: Billy Lawless

  5. Photograph: Michelle Nolan
    Photograph: Michelle Nolan

    Restaurateur of the Year nominee: RJ & Jarrod Melman

Restaurateurs of the Year | Eat Out Awards 2011

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Rob Katz & Kevin Boehm

There’s Giuseppe Tentori’s Michelin-starred Boka. There’s Landmark, the sleek lounge down Halsted Street. There’s West Loop doorbuster Girl & the Goat. There’s Lincoln Park’s Perennial, soon to reopen under Vie’s Paul Virant. There’s even Tentori’s just-opened GT Fish & Oyster, which strives to serve the city’s ultimate lobster roll. Can the Boka Restaurant Group guys ever strike out? Not now. Katz and Boehm may have a knack for picking kitchen talent, but they also have mastered equally crucial skills, like how to hire personable front-of-house staff (answer: competitive casting calls), and how to convince us their Next Big Idea will be even better than their last.

Other nominees Scott Harris (Francesca’s restaurants, Purple Pig), Tony Hu (Lao Beijing, Lao Shanghai, Lao Sze Chuan, Lao You Ju), Billy Lawless (the Gage, Henri), R.J. & Jerrod Melman (Hub 51, Paris Club)

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