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Alinea Group to Open Two Restaurants Inside a $1 Billion Chicago Skyscraper

The two restaurants will reside inside St. Regis Chicago, the third-largest building in the city

Alinea Group plans on opening two restaurants inside St. Regis Chicago, a new downtown skyscraper.
St. Regis Chicago [Official Photo]
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

An upcoming downtown skyscraper — which would be Chicago’s third tallest — will have a prestigious restaurant tenant next year. The ownership of Alinea, Chicago’s esteemed fine dining restaurant, will operate a pair of restaurants inside the 101-story St. Regis Chicago, a tower that overlooks the Chicago Riverwalk.

The building was formerly known as Vista Tower and the name change announced Wednesday morning comes with news of Alinea’s involvement. Alinea will operate a fine dining restaurant on the 18th floor and an all-day restaurant on the second floor. While a news release reads the building will welcome its first residents in December, the project won’t be complete until third quarter of 2021. Details about the restaurants — like its names and menus — have yet to be made public. There’s also a sky bar inside the building. A spokesperson for St. Regis could not clarify if the Alinea Group would be operating the bar. The group’s co-founders — chef Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas — didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. In the news release, Kokonas called the building “a born-in-Chicago project,” and added the they’ve been in discussion with Magellan Development Group for several years on the project.

The third-tallest building in Chicago.
Magellan Development Group [Official Rendering]

Magellan has brought on St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, a luxury division of Mariott International. The building is a few blocks west of Lake Shore Drive on the south side of the Chicago River at 363 E. Wacker Drive. At 1,191-foot-tall, only the Willis Tower and the Trump International Tower and Hotel are taller in Chicago. The project cost more than $1 billion and was designed by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang. Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin spoke with Gang about her work and how the novel coronavirus has affected downtown Chicago businesses.

The tower houses both 101 hotel rooms and 393 condos, with prices ranging from $1 million to $18.5 million for the latter, according to the Tribune. During the pandemic, Alinea in Lincoln Park has been selling to-go meals, including a Thanksgiving feast. Plans to pop up inside the Ace Hotel Chicago were quashed after the state halted indoor dining on October 30.

Besides the flagship, Alinea also runs three Fulton Market venues: Next, Roister, and the Aviary. A New York location of the Aviary closed earlier this year. Alinea also has plans to partner with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises on reviving Ambria, a French restaurant in Lincoln Park, but COVID-19 stalled those efforts. Alinea is the only Chicago restaurant with a full three stars from Michelin, and is known as one of the best restaurants in the world thanks to Achatz’s creativity.

  • Column: Jeanne Gang on Vista Tower, gender equality in architecture and the future of downtown Chicago [Tribune]
  • Goodbye Vista Tower, hello St. Regis. Chicago’s newest skyscraper has a new name, new hotel and a restaurant deal with Alinea Group [Tribune]
  • All Vista Tower Coverage [Curbed Chicago]