When you’re talking about dining and hear the name Alain, it’ll probably be assumed you mean Alain Ducasse, the famous French chef with restaurants around the world. But right now, we’re talking about Alain Njike, the chef of Alain's, a new restaurant slated to open in November in the South Loop.
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, here’s another that might: Israel Idonije. Yes, the defensive end for the Chicago Bears is Njike’s business partner in the restaurant at 1355 S. Michigan Ave., just a few blocks away from Soldier Field. We talked to Njike by phone to learn more about his background and what’s to come at Alain’s.
So what can we expect to see at this new spot?
Njike describes his cuisine as contemporary American with a touch of Southern. “There is one dish we call a savory souffle, like a macaroni and cheese souffle. You can come in and have one souffle as an appetizer. We also going to have a lot of African American items like blackened catfish, shrimp and grits.” The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and supporting Midwest farms is also a priority, says Njike. “We’re trying to go back to organic. We try to stay away from all the chemicals and make healthy food. … We don’t try to reinvent the wheel, but we try to use fresh product.”Sounds like a great addition to this corner. The Chicago Firehouse has been a little lonely over the years and now with Alain's moving in across the street, it will make the corner of 14th and Michigan more lively.
(hat tip: NM!)