Richard Melman Brings Home Chicago’s Only James Beard Award

Richard Melman, CEO of Lettuce Entertain You  finally won his first James Beard Foundation Award for Restauranteur of the Year, after being a finalist since 2005 as their list of 80 properties across the country keeps growing. It’s been a big year for the LEYE group, as Melman’s sons Jerrod and R.J. began to take the reigns with their own restaurant ventures staying busy opening Paris Club, Hub51 and celebrating the 40th anniversary of their first success, R.J. Grunts.

The only Chicagoan to bring home a win, other nominees for the prestigious awards included Blackbird’s Paul Kahan in the outstanding chef category; Blackbird’s pastry chef Patrick Fahy and Mindy Segal of Hot Chocolate, both nominated for outstanding pastry chef, and Stephanie Izard for America’s best new restaurant with the ever popular Girl and the Goat.