Stunning news broke over the weekend as 42 Grams, one of Chicago’s 26 Michelin-starred restaurants, announced its immediate closure. This ends a three-and-a-half-year run in Uptown for chef Jake Bickelhaupt and his ex-wife, GM Alexa Welsh. They made the announcement on Twitter but have since deleted the restaurant’s account. Check out the screen capture below.
42 Grams debuted with two Michelin stars after being open for only 10 months, and Michelin inspectors have awarded the restaurant the same rating for all three years 42 Grams has appeared on the guide. It’s somewhat of a rarity for a BYO and tasting-menu restaurant earns such acclaim so quickly. Over the winter, the restaurant applied for a liquor license, but the restaurant never shed its BYO status.
The reason behind the closure is unknown. Bickelhaupt hasn’t returned an email or a phone call requesting comment. Both his and Welsh’s Twitter accounts don’t mention the shutter, which was first reported by the Tribune, and neither does the restaurant’s Facebook page. This story will be updated if more information becomes available.
UPDATE: Welsh posted a note on the restaurant’s website confirming the shutter. Refunds for those holding reservations will be issued. While Welsh didn’t share the exact reasons behind the closure, she did write that it wasn’t because of financial reasons.
Read the full statement below.
Dear friends, family and to the food community at large: I can confirm that 42 grams has been closed effective immediately. A huge thank you to all our past guests and supporters, you were our biggest champions along the way and that did not go unnoticed. To all the well wishers and concerned parties, thank you so much for your emails and text messages.
To anyone with reservations this week and through the end of July, refunds will be issued. Please bear with me as I juggle so many moving pieces. To anyone speculating that people need to support their fine dining establishments more, we are not closing for financial reasons. Chicago is (and will continue to be) an amazing food destination supported by people from all over the world.
Over the course of this journey I have met so many amazing people that have genuinely humbled and delighted me. It's those connections, interactions and memories that I'll take with me into the future. Here's to the next adventure.
UPDATE NO. 2: Bickelhaupt emailed his own statement. He harkened back to the restaurant’s roots as an underground supper club and thanked everyone for support. Without going into specifics, he did say he would return again and cook: “After all, cooking is what makes me happy.” Read his full statement below.
I am sad to say that my journey with 42 grams has ended abruptly. Over the last 5 years, I have had such a wonderful experience with my underground “guestaurant” Sous Rising that organically led to my dream restaurant, 42 grams. It was my pleasure to cook for so many amazing people from around the world and of course from Chicago. And, I’ll forever cherish all the connections and friends that I have made along the way.
I promise that I gave my whole heart and soul to satisfy my guests every night. I gave everything I had to give. So with that in mind, I know I did the best I could. 42 grams was only intended for one purpose: to inspire! I was inspired and I hope you were inspired as well. I will take a short break to gather my thoughts. But, I will come back again and cook. After all, cooking is what makes me happy.
Until then, cheers!