In two months, Lettuce Entertain You will close one of its three local fine-dining restaurants. Two-Michelin-starred L20, LEYE's seafood-based tasting menu spot, will close on New Year's Eve, Chicago Magazine first reported. Rumors have been flying for weeks and the confirmation comes today.
Lettuce Entertain You will hold onto the space and reconcept it into a more affordable restaurant with chef Matthew Kirkley still
at the helm involved. What exactly that will be is currently unconfirmed, although rumors are flying about that as well. Expect the turnaround to happen soon into the new year and stay tuned for more details.
With L20 downgrading from fine dining, Tru and Everest will be Lettuce Entertain You's only very-high-end restaurants left in Chicago. Stop into L20 before the calendar flips to 2015 for one last taste.
UPDATE: LEYE founder Rich Melman says he's closing L20 for financial reasons and to create new projects for chef Matthew Kirkley. He also reveals small details on what's replacing it.
"(L20) had never been a money maker for us," Melman says. "As with all restaurants, it's all about volume. I don't want to do four-star restaurants anymore, at least for the foreseeable future. Three partners came out of L20 and it was successful in that way."
Melman had promised Kirkley a new project, and in addition to the reconcepting of L20 there is also a second Kirkley concept in the works. While that is still in development, he says L20's replacement will be "a little different" and have an artful and educational element for kitchen staff.
"It will be more than a restaurant," he says. "It will have a part to it that will be very helpful to chefs." Expect much lower price points without tasting menus.
Finally, Melman says that he's in the process of getting approval from his landlord and will speak more on the project within the next month.
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