Baby Allowed Inside Fanciest Restaurant In Chicago, Cries

Alinea in Chicago is an expensive molecular gastronomy restaurant. It is so exclusive and fancy that most adults probably imagine that they aren’t allowed inside. Apparently the question of “can I bring my infant?” has never come up…until this weekend.

Here are a few things to keep in mind: reservations at Alinea have to be made far ahead of time, usually a few months. You pay for a ticket to a multi-course seating, and must pay in advance. A couple can expect to pay at least $400 for their meal on an average night, which is not a typo. Tickets are transferable, but not refundable. If the parents just didn’t show, they would lose not just their reservation, but the money that they paid in advance.

That’s the background information: here’s what happened, according to owner/head chef Grant Achatz.

Yes, the 8-month-old baby started to cry, but Achatz felt conflicted about asking the party to leave. Should he have? The reaction on Twitter was mostly wonder that someone would even try. To foodies, hearing that someone took a baby to Alinea is like telling them that you took a baby to a metal concert or white-water rafting. It just doesn’t make sense.

One local food blogger says that the couple’s sitter canceled at the last minute. That’s a likely explanation, but still controversial.

We checked with our new Washington, D.C.-based editor Kate Cox, mother of Consumerist’s current staff baby. “Nice restaurants are an excellent excuse to let friends make good on all those babysitting offers,” she observes. When the restaurant is not only nice but also non-refundable, line up a few layers of backup babysitters, too.

A Baby Walks Into Alinea… [Eater]