Paul Solomon

Director of Operations for Vistro Prime and Petite Vie

Paul was born here in town at Hinsdale Hospital and grew up in Naperville. Thereafter, he went to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where his interest in food began as his father would visit often on business trips and would take him out to try different cuisines.

Paul then moved to Italy where he studied, lived and completed his master's degree. It was while living in Italy that he became infatuated with food, wine and culture. During his years abroad, he traveled to over 25 countries, which included visits to chateaus and wineries in famous wine-producing areas around Italy, Austria, France and Portugal.

Paul's hospitality career progressed after several years of serving and bartending at local Italian favorite Il Poggiolo when he took over as assistant GM/beverage director. During this time, Paul took the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory Course and Exam and passed. His next experience took him to Hotel Arista in Naperville, where he served as assistant food & beverage director for Chef Mark Grimes. He helped oversee the multi-unit operation at Che Figata, Zorba Bar/Lounge and Lavazza coffee shop, along with in-room dining. During his time there, he assisted in building a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list.

However, Paul felt called to work at family-run restaurants, so he then worked with Chef Tony Priolo at Nonnina in River North as assistant GM/sommelier. Most recently, he was lead restaurant manager and beverage director for the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant, a steakhouse in the South Loop. During his time there, he took the Certified Sommelier Exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers and passed. Paul has also started overseeing Chef Paul’s flagship restaurant, Vie, in Western Springs

Meet the other judges

Ermoni Best

Sommelier at The Inn at Mattei's Tavern, Auberge Resorts Collection

Larissa C Dubose

National Director Beverages- Dining Division at Paradies Lagardère and Wine Enthusiast Magazine Future 40, Vino Volo National Buyer