Vie, Virant's flagship restaurant in Western Springs, Illinois, opened in 2004. Vie honors his background of cooking seasonally, sourcing locally, and utilizing traditional methods of preservation. The ever-changing prix fixe menu of contemporary Midwestern cuisine offers guests the distinctive opportunity to enjoy local flavors and ingredients year-round.
Virant's latest venture is Vistro Prime, a neighborhood steakhouse in downtown Hinsdale, Illinois. Formerly known as Vistro, the newest restaurant from Virant offers traditional steakhouse fare and classic cocktails in a warm, casually elegant environment.
In 2019, Virant opened Gaijin, Chicago’s first okonomiyaki restaurant, serving both Hiroshima and Osaka styles of the savory Japanese pancake. A self-described gaijin, or “outsider” in Japanese, Virant playfully embraces this perspective and honors traditional preparations and techniques, as well as his well-known passion for pickling and preserving.
Virant's other projects include Jar Sessions, a locally produced, small-batch line of pickled and preserved products, and his 2012 cookbook, The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-Doux.
Accolades include 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2011 finalist nominations for the James Beard Foundation Award's Best Chef: Great Lakes. He was named one of 2007’s Best New Chefs by Food & Wine and has competed on Food Network's "Iron Chef America." Vie earned a Michelin star in 2011.
Virant graduated with a degree in nutrition from West Virginia Wesleyan College and then attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Following culinary school, he joined March in New York, where he further refined his skills under the tutelage of chefs Wayne Nish and Hilary Gregg. Two years later, he moved to Chicago and worked at some of the nation's most famed restaurants, including Charlie Trotter's, Ambria, Everest and Blackbird.