This is a different type of innovation from what we typically cover on TCBB, but this definitely fits the concepts of innovation and boldness we look for in our stories. Eleven Madison Park in New York and Alinea in Chicago, two vaunted three star Michelin restaurants, are doing the unheard — combining staffs and cohabiting spaces for a week each. We'd heard of pop-up restaurants, but these are two of the best in the United States — if not the world — and are now combining their talents to bring their entire dining experience with them: dishes, ambience, and décor.
We visited Eleven Madison Park where Alinea's Head Chef Grant Achatz and his team from Chicago were working to bring their brand of flavors to New York, "we've basically taken the Alinea tasting menu, along with all the service wear, special equipment, we brought in 14 members of our staff and plunked it down right here at Eleven Madison Park."
So does this signal the future of fine dining? As Achatz points out, if Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones can take a small city worth of equipment and crew hands all around the world to perform, why can't restaurants and chefs do the same thing?
This is just the first step and the chefs are quick to acknowledge that this idea is not a money maker, yet. In fact, when they add in all of the costs that go along with moving restaurants, Alinea and Eleven Madison Park will likely lose money from this project, even with the steep $500 per person cost. However, with the right deal-structure and more experimentation, there might be a future in touring high end restaurants.
Alinea's time at 11 Madison ended last weekend, but starting October 10th, the staff of 11 Madison will be taking over Alenia. For those of you in the Chicago area, we highly suggest checking out this unique experiment.