James Beard Semi-Finalists: Which Chicago Restaurants Were Shortlisted

Husband and wife team, Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark (Parachute).

The James Beard Foundation yesterday announced its 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards semi-finalists for 2022 in a multi-page press release covering restaurants across the United States.

James Beard’s judges visited thousands of restaurants, from The Pig and the Lady and Piggy Smalls in Honolulu to MIDA in Boston to find the best of the best.

And it wasn’t just the big cities they visited.

There’s the Bin 707 Foodbar in Grand Junction, CO and even El Burén de Lula in Puerto Rico.

Chicago, IL – May 6, 2019: 29th Annual James Beard Awards at the Lyric Opera House in the Loop. Photo by Clay Williams for the James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Awards are considered one of the nation’s most prestigious honors, recognizing outstanding talent in the culinary and food media industries, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability and a culture where all can thrive.

Here are highlights of Chicago’s semi-finalists in the following award categories.

Outstanding restorer

A restaurateur who uses their establishment(s) as a vehicle to build community, demonstrates creativity in entrepreneurship, integrity in restaurant operations, and strives to create a sustainable work culture. Must have been in the restaurant business for at least five years and not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation Chef’s Award in the past three years.

Surprisingly, no Chicago restaurateurs were nominated in this category. Chicago’s closest semi-finalist is:

Joe Muench, Black Shoe Hospitality in Milwaukee, WI.

Outstanding Chef

A chef who sets high culinary standards and has served as a positive example for other food professionals. Must have worked as a chef for three or more consecutive years.

Again, Chicago was MIA, so you might want to head north to check out Kyle Knall’s cooking at The Birch in Milwaukee, WI.

Outstanding restaurant

A restaurant that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality and operations while contributing positively to its wider community. Must have been in operation for five or more consecutive years, not including periods of closure due to the pandemic.

Drum roll please. Chicago has two stars in this category:
Avondale’s funky and chic parachute
And the gastronomic restaurant Oriole.

Best New Restaurant

A restaurant opening in 2020 or 2021 that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality and looks likely to have a significant impact in the years to come.

Kasama, already a Michelin Bib Gourmand winner for 2021, is Chicago’s only entry for Best New Restaurant. This popular Ukrainian village hotspot run by chefs Tim Flores and Genie Kwon, both formerly of Oriole, is known for its contemporary Filipino cuisine and spectacular pastries. Ukrainian Village)1001 N. Winchester Avenue, Chicago.

Outstanding Baker

A baker of breads, pastries or desserts who demonstrates exceptional know-how. Must consistently sell products directly to the public, but does not require a physical presence and must have worked as a pastry chef or baker for the past three years.

Maya-Camille Broussard, takes the cake as a semi-finalist for her establishment River North Justice of the Pies.

Outstanding Pastry Chef

A pastry chef or chef who makes desserts, pastries or breads served as part of a meal. The candidate demonstrates exceptional skills and can be affiliated with any food company and does not require a physical presence. Must have worked as a pastry chef or chef who makes desserts within the past three years.

Shannah Primiano, Porto (Semi-Finalist Best Pastry Chef)

Outstanding Barre Program

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates exceptional care and skill in the selection, preparation and service of cocktails, spirits and/or beer. Strives to foster a diverse portfolio of brands and team members.

Andersonville’s sassy LBGTQIA, Nobody’s Darling, owned by 2 black lesbians, gets the go-ahead for Chicago and Goodkind-style tavern leads the competition in Milwaukee.

Best Regional Chef

Chefs who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities, and who strive to help create a sustainable work culture in their respective regions. May be from any type of catering establishment but must have worked as a chef in the area for at least three years.

Chicago’s Top Chefs Great Lakes Top Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)

Darnel Reed

Rodolfo Cuadros, Amaru, Bloom Plant-Based Kitchen, 1519 N. Milaukee, Chicago
Diana Dávila Boldin, Mi Tocaya Antojería, 2800 W. Logan Blvd., Chicago
Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, 5347 N. Clark, Chicago
Jason Hammel, Cafe Lula, 2537 N. Kedzie Chicago
Dave Park, Jeong, 1460 W. Chicago, Chicago
Darnell Reed, Luella South Kitchen, 4609 N. Lincoln, Chicago
Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago
John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth, 177 N. Ada, Chicago
Erick Williams, Virtue Restaurant & Bar, 1462 E. 63rd., Chicago

Chicago Restaurant Week, which kicks off March 25, may be a good time to check out some of these places.

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI) from Milwaukee

Dane Baldwin, Diplomat, Milwaukee
Karen Bell, Bavette La Boucherie, Milwaukee
Daniel Bonanno, A Pig in a Fur Coat, Madison, WI
Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, EsterEv, Milwaukee
Gregory Leon, Amilinda, Milwaukee

The full list of semi-finalists

The full list of 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards semi-finalists can be found below and on the James Beard Foundation website. Winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 13, 2022 at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

About the James Beard Awards

The James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards were established in 1991 and are one of five separate recognition programs for the awards. The James Beard Awards policies and procedures can be viewed at jamesbeard.org/awards/policies.

An overview of the voting process can be viewed here. For more information on this year’s Restaurant and Chef Award semi-finalists, click here.


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