James Beard Awards 2020 to be held in Chicago’s Old Post Office

James Beard Awards 2020 to be held in Chicago’s Old Post Office
Chicago, IL - May 6, 2019: The 29th Annual James Beard Awards at The Lyric Opera House in The Loop. Photo by Clay Williams for The James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation announced today that for the first time in Awards history, the Foundation will bring the Beard House to life with a two-day activation at Chicago’s Old Post Office.

The Awards House will offer guests attending the awards, members of the industry, and general public a chance to engage in programming that will include talks focusing on issues that affect the community such as racial equity, sustainability, wine tariffs, and more.

Old Post Office. Photo: Chicago Tribune

Old Post Office. Photo: Chicago Tribune

The Art Deco Post Office building, that underwent an extensive multi-year long renovation restoring it to its original glory, finally welcomed its first tenants last fall.

The space should provide a magnificent backdrop for the activation that is part of the celebration of America’s most coveted and comprehensive chefs, restaurants, journalists, authors, and other leaders in the food and beverage industry.

The Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists will be announced on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. Nominees for all award categories will be revealed on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

The celebrations will begin in New York City on Friday, April 24, 2020 at the James Beard Foundation Media Awards presented in association with HOUSTON FIRST©an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists that will take place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers.

The events then move to Chicago with the Leadership Awards Dinner taking place on Sunday, May 3, 2020, where honorees will be recognized for their work in creating a more healthful, sustainable, and just food world.

The James Beard Awards Gala will take place on Monday, May 4, 2020, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards Lifetime Achievement, Design Icon, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.

Tickets for the May 4 Awards gala at the Lyric Opera on Chicago go on sale in March 2020 at $350 for general admission.


Throughout their three-decade history, the Beard Awards have both sparked and reflected trends in America’s food culture. The mission of the James Beard Foundation is to make America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone: celebrating the past while championing the future.

The full list of events and programming will be continually updated on the Foundation’s website, and ticket information is forthcoming.

 2019 Chicago James Beard award winners

Best Chef: Great Lakes — Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark of Parachute
Outstanding Restaurateur — Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of Boka Restaurant Group
Outstanding Baker — Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread
Outstanding Restaurant Design —  Pacific Standard Time

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