Kat Hawkins, Assistant General Manager & Beverage Director, Shaw’s Crab House, Chicago

Kat Hawkins is the Assistant General Manager and Beverage Director at Shaw’s Crab House, a River North institution since 1984 credited with bringing the first Oyster Bar to Chicago. As Beverage Director, she is in charge of selecting wine and spirits for Shaw’s extensive list featuring American producers and classic international regions. She chooses each bottle to complement the carefully-sourced seafood that Shaw’s is famous for.

Originally from Detroit, MI, Hawkins received a degree in Communications from Wayne State University before turning her attention to wine and the hospitality industry. She worked at a number of Detroit restaurants before landing at Wright & Company as General Manager and Beverage Director, a position she held for more than 4 years.

Hawkins is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Specialist of Wine and Spirits through the Society of Wine Educators. In 2018, she moved to Chicago and joined the team at Shaw’s Crab House. In 2019, she was named one of America’s “Best New Sommeliers” by ​Wine & Spirits Magazine​ .

Hawkins is personally fond of the wines of Alsace, Northern Rhone and Rioja. She credits a trip to the Willamette Valley as particularly inspiring, as she saw first-hand the way the local growers are dedicated to elevating their region as a whole and lifting each other up. She feels this lesson can be applied in many contexts, but it is especially important to keep in mind on the restaurant floor. She emphasizes to her team that they are better together and highlights the importance of supporting each other and their guests.
Outside of work, Hawkins enjoys exploring the local Chicago restaurant scene and practicing yoga. On her days off, you might find her relaxing by Lake Michigan or studying for her next wine exam – often at the same time.