Where to Celebrate the James Beard Awards in Chicago

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The James Beard Awards, a revered celebration of American hospitality, will soon return to Chicago for its glitzy annual awards gala on Monday, June 10 at the Lyric Opera House. The occasion brings a special buzz to the city’s restaurant industry, which offers plenty of opportunities over the weekend leading to the awards. Here’s a list of events that are open to the public.

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards. Eater is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to livestream the awards in 2024. All editorial content is produced independently of the James Beard Foundation.


Friday, June 7

The Loop: The team behind California-based Caribbean cocktail bar Strong Water Anaheim, a 2024 James Beard Award finalist for Outstanding Wine & Other Beverages Program, will take over downtown rooftop bar Chateau Carbide from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 7 atop the Pendry Chicago hotel. Attendees can mingle with the staff and try rum-based drinks while taking in sweeping views from the historic Carbide & Carbon Building. Reservations are available via OpenTable. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Chateau Carbide, 230 N. Michigan Avenue, 24th Floor.

Saturday, June 8

The Loop: JBF Cocktail for a Cause runs Saturday, June 8 through Monday, June 10 at Bar Mar by José Andrés, where a portion of proceeds from each Salt Air Margarita sold will go to the Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Fund. Available all day from Saturday, June 8 through Monday, June 10 at Bar Mar, 120 N. Wacker Drive.

West Loop: James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef Stephanie Izard will celebrate Beards weekend by slinging free ice cream and selling cocktails, sundaes, and more from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 8 via her Taiwanese-style walk-up window Baobing. No reservations are required. 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Baobing, 857 W. Fulton Market.

The Loop: Chef Melissa Tung, special culinary advisor to Ohio-based nonprofit Justice for Migrant Women, and Oakland Bloom executive director Diana Wu, will join moderator and Justice for Migrant Women founder Mónica Ramírez from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 8 for a panel discussion “Caring for Communities and the Role of the Restaurant Industry” at Kendall College. Tung and Wu will share their experiences “confronting crises and supporting care in communities that surround them, and the workers that make them run,” according to a rep. Reserve a seat via email at info@oaklandbloom.org. 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Kendall College at National Louis University, 18 S. Michigan Avenue.

River North: The Beard Foundation will host a star-studded panel, “Under the Influence: How Dining Trends are Shaping Drink Choices,” from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 8 featuring local cocktail heavyweight Julia Momose (Kumiko), a 2022 James Beard media award winner, Chicago sommelier Tia Polite (Indienne), Speed Rack founder Lynnette Marrero, and Beard-award winners chef Gregory Gourdet (Kann) and sommelier Aldo Sohm (Le Bernardin, Sohm Bar). Diageo Beer Company president and Beard trustee Rodney Williams will moderate the panel, which will be held at private club Bian, founded by panel co-host and Beard-winning restaurateur Kevin Boehm (Boka Restaurant Group). Free reservations are available online. 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Bian, 600 W. Chicago Avenue, Suite 001.

The Loop: Chateau Carbide will be back at it with another boozy Beard finalist pop-up — this time featuring Ryan Christiansen, head distiller at Vermont-based Barr Hill Cocktail Bar, and his team from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 8 on the rooftop at the Pendry hotel. This is a prime opportunity for sustainability enthusiasts, as Barr Hill is noted for its focus on local sourcing (including regional raw honey) and partnerships with farmers. Reservations are available via OpenTable. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Chateau Carbide, 230 N. Michigan Avenue, 24th Floor.

Sunday, June 9

Logan Square: Chef Joe Frillman, owner of Michelin Green Star-winning restaurant Daisies, will host an open-to-the-public chat, “Culinary Titans Tackle Sustainability from Planet to Plate to People,” from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 9 featuring a stacked lineup of hospitality leaders who emphasize locally-grown, sustainably-produced food. Panelists, moderated by Food & Wine associate editorial director Chandra Ram, will include decorated celebrity chef and Green City Market founder Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo), Beard-nominated California chef Geoff Davis (Burdell), Beard-nominated Missouri chef and cookbook author Rob Connoley (Bulrush), Beard-nominated Vermont GM Patrick Amice (Barr Hill Cocktail Bar), and Daisies’ bar director Nicole Yarovinsky. As if that’s not lure enough, Daisies partner and pastry chef Leigh Omilinsky will furnish sweets and pastries for the occasion. Reserve a seat via email. 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Daisies, 2375 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

West Loop: Nobu will host a splashy, celebratory brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 on its 11th-floor rooftop featuring cocktails and “reception-style” food. Tickets ($95) are available online. 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Nobu Chicago, 155 N. Peoria Street, 11th Floor.

Avalon Park: 2022 James Beard finalist Maya-Camille Broussard, a breakout star on Netflix’s Bake Squad, will host a celebration of Chicago’s South Side from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June, 9 at her lauded bakery Justice of the Pies. Broussard will be joined by New York chef and 2023 Beard media award nominee Adrienne Cheatham and 2024 Beard finalist chefs Serigne Mbaye (Dakar) and Fariyal Abdullahi (Hav & Mar). The group promises a la carte dishes “laced with Southern influences while retaining the spirit of the greater Black diaspora.” Attendees can also count on live music and terrace seating. No reservations are required. 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Justice of the Pies, 8655 S. Blackstone Avenue.

The Loop: A trio of decorated Chicago hospitality leaders will take the stage from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 for a panel discussion, “The Rise and Impact of Chef Civic Leadership,” at Kendall College. James Beard Award-winning chef Erick Williams (Virtue), celebrity chef Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill), and Beard semifinalist and chef Matthias Merges (Billy Sunday, Mordecai) will address their work to “use their platform to drive positive change [and] tackle social issues,” according to a rep. Reserve a seat for free online. 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. at Kendall College at National Louis University, 18 S. Michigan Avenue.

Andersonville: Queers at Beards, the only queer celebration of the awards weekend, will kick off at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 at Beard award finalist and LGBTQ cocktail bar Nobody’s Darling. This “Drag Day Party” co-hosted by James Beard Award-winning chef Mavis-Jay will include a three-hour open bar, performances from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and a dance party from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets ($25) are available online. 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 at Nobody’s Darling, 1744 W. Balmoral Avenue.

The Loop: James Beard Award-winning chef Beverly Kim (Anelya, Parachute), the founder of the Abundance Setting nonprofit, will host “It Takes a Village,” a panel discussion about the challenges hospitality professionals face in balancing parenthood with a demanding career. Set for 3:45 to 4:45 on Sunday, June 9, the panel will feature Beard nominees Ann Ahmed (Khâluna), Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere (Baobab Fare), and Chicago’s own Darnell Reed (Luella’s Southern Kitchen). Reserve a seat for free online. 3:45 to 4:45 on Sunday, June 9 at Kendall College at National Louis University, 18 S. Michigan Avenue.

West Loop: Local okonomiyaki restaurant Gaijin will throw a matsuri (or Japanese festival) with whisky giant Suntory and Chicago’s Japanese Culture Center from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 9. Organizers promise unlimited food — think mochi donuts, and kakigori — drinks (like highballs), city pop vinyl, and a Tsukasa Taiko drum performance, plus a soundtrack from DJ Van Paugam. Tickets ($65) and more details are available online. 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 at Gaijin, 950 W. Lake Street.

Wicker Park: Chef Zubair Mohajir and his team at South Asian-style bar and street food spot Lilac Tiger will get into a festive mood with a night market pop-up on Sunday, June 9. Attendees can expect 10 food stations set up throughout the bar, patio, and neighboring fine dining sister restaurant the Coach House, as well as a menu of South Asian cocktails. Tickets ($100), available via Tock, include six food tickets and two cocktails. 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 at Lilac Tiger, 1742 W. Division Street.

Wicker Park: Those who missed Barr Hill Cocktail Bar’s pop-up on Saturday in the Loop have another shot to try cocktails from the team of 2024 Beard Award finalists. They’ll appear from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 at famed cocktail bar the Violet Hour in Wicker Park. The cost of admission will include two drinks, small passed bites, and a Barr Hill gift bag. Tickets ($39) are available via Tock. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 at The Violet Hour, 1520 N. Damen Avenue.

Kendall College

18 South Michigan Avenue, , IL 60603 (888) 905-3632 Visit Website

Lyric Opera

20 N Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606 312 332 2244 Visit Website

Lilac Tiger

1742 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (312) 722-6911 Visit Website

Gaijin

950 West Lake Street, , IL 60607 (312) 265-1348 Visit Website

Bar Mar by José Andrés

120 North Upper Wacker Drive, , IL 60606 (312) 820-6602 Visit Website

Daisies

2375 North Milwaukee Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 697-9443 Visit Website

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