The scattered debris and rubble currently at Alinea could fool anyone that a world-renowned restaurant actually occupied this space. The dining room's currently crumbled after workers gutted the 10-year-old, three-Michelin-starred Lincoln Park restaurant as renovations are underway. Alinea's Nick Kokonas tweeted out a photo earlier this morning showing the demolition, as Kokonas and chef Grant Achatz plan to unveil a redesigned restaurant, colloquially referred to as Alinea 2.0, in April.
So what does Alinea have in mind for the restaurant's next chapter? Kokonas said they're rebuilding entire systems, but he doesn't want to reveal details just yet, only saying the new Alinea will be more than just a new paint job. Reconstruction will take place over a 70-day schedule, Kokonas said.
Alinea, in it's past form, closed on New Year's Day. But there's no vacation, as Achatz and the first group of staffers leave for Spain today, journeying to Madrid from Jan. 12 through Feb. 6 for a pop up/residency. Kokonas also posted a photo of himself, Achatz, executive chef Mike Bagale and chef de cuisine Simon Davies going all sentimental and signing the walls at Alinea, leaving their marks after Alinea's first 10 years of service. The entire staff even signed the walls.
"It felt very strange. And we just felt that it was a bittersweet moment...a place we built from scratch 10 years ago and has meant so much to us — we were tearing it apart," Kokonas said. "It needed it, but we still felt very strange to do it."
We spontaneously signed the wall. Exciting, scary, and amazing. @Gachatz @mikebagale @SimonRedDavies and I + staff! pic.twitter.com/aN4FUoMTcO — nick kokonas (@nickkokonas) January 3, 2016
Here's a before and after shot for comparison: