January 25, 2018 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)

First Bites Bash is the official kick-off event for the 11th annual Chicago Restaurant Week, produced by Choose Chicago. Join us inside the magnificent Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier for savory and sweet food tastings from 60 of Chicago's most celebrated chefs and restaurants. Toast to the city's culinary scene with beer, wine, and cocktail pairings.

Lee Wolen, executive chef and partner at Boka restaurant in Lincoln Park, will host this year's event, from which a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.*

Browse the list of restaurants below to see who will be at First Bites Bash 2018 and view photos from the 2017 event for a taste of what's to come.

*No portion of the ticket will be deductible for charitable income tax purposes.


  • $125
  • GA tickets to First Bites Bash are available until event capacity is reached or until 12pm on Thursday, January 25, 2018.
  • Buy Now


  • Artango Bar & Steakhouse
  • Baptiste & Bottle
  • Barrio
  • Bar Takito
  • Bernie's Lunch & Supper
  • Bistronomic
  • Boka
  • Cafe Spiaggia
  • Carnivale
  • Cindy's
  • Commons Club
  • Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Dolce Italian
  • Eddie V's Prime Seafood
  • Eden
  • Eli's Cheesecake
  • Ema
  • Enso Sushi & Bar
  • ETA Restaurant + Bar
  • Farmhouse Chicago
  • Fred's at Barneys New York
  • Formento's
  • Frontier
  • III Forks
  • Il porcellino
  • Indian Garden Restaurant
  • Kinzie Chophouse
  • Kitty O'Sheas at the Hilton Chicago
  • Labriola Cafe
  • Mago Grill & Cantina
  • Mahalo
  • Margeaux Brasserie
  • Mercadito
  • Morton's The Steakhouse
  • Nonnina And Piccolo Sogno
  • Odyssey Cruises
  • Orso's Restaurant
  • Park Grill
  • Pinstripes
  • Porkchop
  • River Roast
  • Roka Akor
  • Roy's
  • SafeHouse Chicago
  • Split-Rail
  • State and Lake Chicago Tavern
  • steadfast
  • Strings Ramen Shop
  • Tapas Valencia
  • Tavern on Rush
  • Terzo Piano
  • Texas de Brazil
  • The Berghoff Restaurant
  • The Bristol
  • The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant
  • The Hampton Social
  • The Kennison
  • The Signature Room at the 95th®
  • Untitled Supper Club
  • Victory Tap
  • Wicker Park Sushi
  • Wildfire
  • ZED451


  • Cruzan® Rum
  • Courvoisier® Cognac
  • EFFEN Vodka
  • Hornitos® Tequila
  • Knob Creek
  • Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
  • Sipsmith Gin


  • Barone Fini
  • Enza
  • Girard
  • Josh Cellars
  • Josh Reserves
  • Layer Cake Imports
  • Peter Lehmann
  • Skyfall
  • The Calling
  • The Crossings
  • Wines of France
  • Wines of South America


  • Lagunitas Brewing Co
  • Aleman Brewing Company
  • Motor Row Brewing
  • Great Central Brewing Company
  • Ravinia Brewing


  • Bake
  • CAKE
  • Candyality
  • Chicago Community Kitchens
  • Garrett Brands
  • Pepsi
  • Spin-Spun
  • Veruca Chocolates
  • Warm Belly Bakery
  • XO Marshmallow


  • All ticket sales are final.
  • Must be 21 years or older with valid photo identification to be admitted.
  • All guests must enter through the Grand Ballroom entrance off of the Entrance 2 turn-around. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
  • Complimentary coat check will be available.
  • Bring a printed ticket or have your mobile ticket ready to scan at the door.
  • All food and beverage items will be tasting portions.
  • Parking is available in Navy Pier garages. Learn more about parking and driving directions.
  • Business or cocktail party attire is suggested.

Get Social! Share your photos at the event #FirstBites18 @ChooseChicago

Lee Wolen
In 2014, Wolen joined Boka Restaurant as Executive Chef/Partner. At Boka, Lee was named “2014 Chef of the Year” by Chicago Tribune and Eater Chicago, and was nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2016 & 2017. Boka has maintained a Michelin Star since 2014.

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Chicago Restaurant Week is proud to support the Greater Chicago Food Depository in their efforts to end hunger in our communities.

The Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. Last year, their network of 700 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and mobile programs distributed 72 million pounds of shelf-stable food, fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 164,000 meals every day.

Donate Today

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For First Bites Bash or Chicago Restaurant Week inquiries: