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With Move to Perennial, Virant Moves to the City

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 23, 2011 8:00PM

2010_10_19_VIRANT.jpg Last week, Our Town's food cognoscenti was stunned at the news that Ryan Poli was leaving Perennial to helm the kitchen at the soon-to-open Tavernita, where he hopes to pursue his passion for Spanish cuisine. This led to speculation as to whom would replace Poli at the Lincoln Park eatery, spurred in part by BOKA Restaurant Group owner Kevin Boehm's hints that the chef was a "celebrity."

It was announced this morning that Poli will be replaced by Vie's Paul Virant, which is the culinary equivalent of replacing Derrick Rose in the Bulls lineup with a genetically modified version of Rose. We love Poli's cooking, but Virant is on our shortlist of favorite chefs around. Time Out Chicago's Julia Kramer notes that Virant has been looking for a space in the city for quite some time. As a chef who also owns his own restaurant, the pairing of Virant with BOKA Group's Boehm and Rob Katz is inspired. Boehm and Katz are raking in the revenue with Stephanie Izard at Girl & the Goat. Add to that their successful partnerships with Giuseppe Tentori at BOKA and Poli, and they have a good track record with working with obnoxiously talented chefs.

Perennial will also get a bit of a name change, to "Perennial Virant." Virant will likely split his time between Perennial and making sure his sous chef at Vie, Nathan Sears, is holding the fort down at the Western Springs restaurant.