The Boarding House Turns One


It seems like it was just yesterday I was writing about the excitement surrounding the opening of The Boarding House (720 North Wells). Turns out it was over a year ago, although a full year has passed, the excitement is still there for the wine-driven restaurant opened by Master Sommelier Alpana Singh. On the heels of a successful first year, Singh will accept the 2013 Sommelier of the Year Wine Star Award from Wine Enthusiast magazine in New York City on January 27, 2014.

Alpana Singh

Throughout 2013, The Boarding House received attention from other national outlets including Forbes Travel Guide (Top 40 Tastemakers), Food & Wine (Sommeliers of the Year), Market Watch, Sommelier Journal, Restaurant Hospitality, and more. Additional accolades include “100 Best Wine Restaurants” (Wine Enthusiast), “Pastry Chefs to Watch” (Time Out Chicago), “2013 Best New Restaurants” (Chicago Magazine), and nominations for best restaurant design from the Eater Awards and Jean Banchet Awards. has reported on celebrity sightings and ABC’s new TV series Betrayal has filmed multiple episodes at the four-story restaurant.

As the wine-centric destination embarks on its second year, and the buzz surrounding The Boarding House continues, Singh offers her expert insights on what she thinks 2014 will bring to the industry table:

Trends for 2014

  • Women in the Industry: “As more and more females are recognized for their contributions in the culinary industry, I foresee a stronger spotlight shining on the deserving women already making a big impact in the field, as well as greater efforts to support those with emerging talents.”
  • Bar-driven Restaurants: “More and more restaurants are opening up with an emphasis on their interesting beverage programs and I think this trend will continue. The bar scene is really the bullpen of the restaurant experience and helps drum up the energy and excitement for what else is on the menu.”
  • Collaborations with Local Artisans: “I love when restaurants pair up with local artisans. It makes for delicious collaborations but also promotes small businesses and helps build a sense of community in the industry. For example, our pastry chef works with Bobtail Homemade Ice Cream, a Chicago-based ice cream shop, to develop Merlot-flavored scoops to complement one of her desserts.”
  • Product Experiences: “We’re seeing a significant rise of establishments being built up around certain products.  For example, countless brewpubs are popping up due to the popularity of locally brewed beers. It seems like creating a user experience surrounding a particular product is becoming an important piece of our eating and drinking culture.”