Grant Achatz might be spending his days in Madrid running a sold out pop-up and speaking at the food conference Madrid Fusion, but his team is charging forward with lots of plans in their hometown of Chicago. Between relaunching his and partner Nick Kokonas's flagship Alinea, the debut of their newest project, Roister, and taking over yet another restaurant space on West Fulton Market, we fully understand why Kokonas recently told Eater Chicago, "We're a little overwhelmed." So, here's everything the team has been up to:
Moto Takeover: Just before the weekend, news broke on Facebook that Achatz and Kokonas are taking over Michelin-starred Moto, nine months after the passing of its chef and owner Homaro Cantu. Moto's last day will be Valentine's Day, and while Achatz and Kokonas haven't announced their plans for the space yet, the takeover means they will own and operate four spots on one block of West Fulton Market, including The Aviary, Next and the soon-to-be finished Roister.
Roister Is Getting Ready to Hatch: After several delays, construction at Roister, the team's first "rustic/casual" project (well, as casual or rustic as an Achatz project can be), could be done as soon as the end of this month. When the restaurant does debut, diners can expect an 18-seat counter around the kitchen, an a la carte menu (a first for Achatz and Kokonas), a tasting menu and a "whole beast" option for larger parties. But, with Achatz and chef Mike Bagale in Madrid until February 6 and then popping up in Miami February 17 to March 13, it seems like that opening could still be a bit later this spring.
Alinea, Meet April: After 10 years, Alinea is getting a refresh. The restaurant closed after New Year's Eve, and construction is underway. The team has remained tight-lipped about what's in store for Alinea 2.0, but have said that diners can expect more than just a fresh coat of paint when dinner service resumes in April. As Kokonas tweeted: "Creative destruction is important."
In the meantime, Achatz is busy bringing his unique brand of food showmanship to Madrid. Watch the chef prepare a seriously mesmerizing dessert tableside:
Probablemente el mejor postre del mundo ! Mucha Arte !@grant_achatz Alinea Madrid !!@nickkokonas Congratulations ! pic.twitter.com/lluKXD2sSy— Dani García (@danigarcia_ca) January 19, 2016
Oh, and if someone sees Kokonas or Achatz, they might benefit from some Red Bull.