The Chicago Classic Award presented by Gene & Georgetti recognizes a Chicago restaurant or restaurateur who has been influential in the city’s culinary scene, year after year. This lifetime achievement award represents the tradition, the evolution and the uniqueness of Chicago’s dynamic cuisine along with dedication to the local community.

We are honored to recognize Richard Melman, Founder and Chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, as this year’s award recipient. Since first opening R.J. Grunts in 1971, Lettuce Entertain You has adorned the dining scene with a vast selection of restaurants that have embodied the diversity of Chicago and have showcased the talented chefs that call Chicago home.

It is an honor and a privilege to be able to introduce this year's recipient, Richard Melman, for his outstanding contributions to the restaurant community in Chicago and beyond. It is a very personal joy to present the award to such a dear friend and colleague.
- The Durpetti Family

The inaugural award was presented to Gene & Georgetti in 2015 and to Phil Stefani, Stefani Signature Restaurants in 2016.