Rich Melman Wins James Beard Award

Lettuce Entertain You founder named Restaurateur of the Year

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    tullman.blogspot.com
    Rich Melman (right) has been in the restaurant business since 1971.

    Rich Melman took home one of the biggest honors in the culinary world Monday, winning a James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurateur.

    The Lettuce Entertain You founder is also chairman of the Chicago company that owns more than 80 restaurants nationwide, including Lincoln Park's R.J. Grunts, which he started in 1971, and mix of high-end and accessible restaurants including Tru, Wildfire steakhouses, Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! and Big Bowl.

    The award ceremony was held in New York's Lincoln Center.

    The news wasn't as good for the rest of Chicago's nominees who failed to bring home any hardware. Chicago nominees:

    Best New Restaurant
    Girl & The Goat
    Outstanding Chef
    Paul Kahan, Blackbird
    Outstanding Pastry Chef
    Patrick Fahy, Blackbird
    Mindy Segal, Hot Chocolate
    Outstanding Restaurateur
    Richard Melman, Everest, L2O, Shaw’s Crab House, Tru
    Outstanding Service
    Topolobampo
    Outstanding Restaurant Graphics
    The Publican
    Best Chef: Great Lakes
    Michael Carlson, Schwa
    Curtis Duffy, Avenues
    Bruce Sherman, North Pond
    Paul Virant, Vie