Kevin Boehm & Rob Katz

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Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz pioneered the chef-driven restaurant concept that has Chicago, and the rest of the country, begging for more. Stephanie Izard’s Girl & the Goat, Giuseppe Tentori’s GT Fish & Oyster, Balena and Perennial Virant are all their babies. Mr. Boehm and Mr. Katz aren’t your average restaurateurs and this isn’t your average interview…

How did you become partners?
Kevin: We met on eHarmony…just kidding. That’s a 10-year-old joke. My best friend’s wife worked for Rob’s best friend; they introduced us. Rob wanted to move from nightclubs to restaurants, and I wanted to transition from the South to Chicago.

How do you divide responsibilities?
Rob: Some of it’s side-by-side; some is divide-and-conquer. After 10 deals together we don’t really discuss. We know what to do.

Name the other’s greatest strengths/weaknesses.
Kevin: Rob’s an excellent dancer but not so great at singing.
Rob: Kevin can bench 260 but has the jumping ability of my grandmother.

We already knew that. Tell us something we don’t know, like your favorite hidden gem.
Kevin: I like Macello on Lake a lot.
Rob: Sai Cafe.

Go-to fine-dining restaurant?
Kevin: Other than ours? Alinea, Blackbird, Naha and Trencherman.
Rob: Ditto on all those. Also, Arami.

With Michelin Stars, a James Beard nomination and many accolades under your belt, what’s the key to success?
Kevin: Hard work, a great team and being surrounded by people smarter than us.
Rob: Keeping our sensibility, growing our company the right way, always treating it like a business and not enjoying too much of our own party.

Besides Little Goat, any other new restaurants in the pipeline?
Kevin: A quick-service chicken restaurant with Stephanie Izard is coming soon to River North!

Well, that’ll be something to cluck about. How do you stay in shape while surrounded by delicious food?
Both: Jim Karas Personal Training.
Rob: Gerry, my trainer, kicks my ass weekly.
Kevin: My trainer Ashley is known as ‘the honey badger’ – she’s tough!

What’s the next food trend?
Rob: We can’t tell you.
Kevin: He means we won’t tell you.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Rob: Shady Pines Retirement Home?
Kevin: Honestly, we’ll probably be doing exactly what we’re doing now.

Best advice you ever received?
Kevin: Figure out exactly what you like to do and make a career and a life around that. Sage advice from Mom.
Rob: Pay attention to the details. Sage advice from Dad

Sarah Levy

About Sarah Levy Imberman

Sarah Levy delighted millions as the owner and proprietor of Sarah's Pastries & Candies, one of Chicago's most popular confectionaries since its opening in 2004. A graduate of Northwestern University and the French Pastry School, Ms. Levy is the author of Sweetness: Delicious Baked Treats for Every Occasion and the winner of the Food Network Challenge. She’s been featured in USA TodayBetter Homes and Gardens and the Chicago Tribune, among many others. Ms. Levy's now doing business as S. Levy Foods, and is a leader in the airport food concession business.