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Say Hello to Perennial's New Exec Chef

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Photo via Chicago Sun-Times.

Paul Virant has just been named Perennial's new executive chef and partner. The force behind Western Springs' Vie has also been on Iron Chef and won Food & Wine's Best New Chef.

He replaces Ryan Poli, who leaves his post March 7 to take over Tavernita.

312DD finally snagged an interview with Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz--the very busy managing partners of the Boka Restaurant Group, which owns Perennial as well as Boka, Girl & The Goat, the forthcoming GT Fish & Oyster and Landmark.

They say that the partnership with Virant was an obvious choice for them.

"We've been friends with Paul for awhile and he's been looking to do something in the city for a long time," says Boehm. "When Ryan (Poli) was looking to go, it was a natural fit."

Katz adds: "First and foremost, we are fans. When (Stephanie Izard, Kevin and I) had our celebratory dinner (for opening Girl & The Goat), we had it at Vie."

With the name change to Perennial Virant, they say, will come other changes such as a new cuisine approach and interior changes to the restaurant.

"Paul Virant stylistically is the Green City Market," Katz declares. "That's farm-to-table food, so it's a perfect fit for that restaurant. The name says it all now. It will be a slightly more approachable version of what he does in Western Springs."

The team adds that they will close for a few weeks following Poli's departure to make the changes, however, they have not confirmed a reopening date.

"We'll be signaling the arrival of Paul Virant, and it only makes sense to make a fresh overhaul," says Katz.

"We're good friends with Ryan Poli, and we wish him the best of luck," he adds. "We'll be going to see him at Tavernita."