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New Grant Achatz Restaurant to be a Far Cry From Alinea

The new spot will feature la carte menus and intentionally loud music.

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Over the summer, a building permit was filed for 951 W. Fulton Market, the former home of iNG, next door to Next and The Aviary. Reportedly the site of the highly-anticipated new project from Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, the permit lists the owner as "Roister Restaurant."

Although Kokonas and Achatz said they would not reveal details on the project until they're close to opening, the superstar chef held a cooking demo at Sur La Table on Saturday and spoke about it. And from what the molecular icon said, that restaurant—whether "Roister" is the official name or not—will be the antithesis of Alinea or Next.

The restaurant will feature intentionally loud music and tables spaced closely together so that diners can have a "whole room" experience rather than an individual and intimate one a la Alinea, he said. It will eschew the lengthy tasting menu in favor of a la carte dining, and bolder flavors will take center stage in lieu of the subtle layering of flavors for which Alinea is known.

Though the concept is still in its nascent stages, Achatz said it will be "rustic and refined" and it seems that Achatz still isn't sure of that term himself. For an idea of what he will try to create with the new restaurant, he looked to Parisian bistros and the atmosphere they exude—energetic, convivial and fun. Achatz was also in New York for research and development earlier this month and checked out Marta, Danny Meyer and Nick Anderer's white hot new pizza-themed spot, Eater New York reported.

While opening dates are merely a target suggestion in the restaurant world, Achatz hopes to open around the time the James Beard Awards touch down in Chicago next May. Stay tuned.

—J'nai Gaither contributed to this story.


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