Spice World

The Latest Addition to the South Loop

None 6 Photos Alain’s
A reason to go to the South Loop this weekend: Lollapalooza.

A reason to avoid the South Loop this weekend: Lollapalooza.

A reason to go to the South Loop this weekend: Wagyu beef and hibiscus cocktails.

Well, the South Loop it is, then.

Introducing Alain’s, a cove of exotic spices and Midwestern know-how, opening tonight.

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if a Cameroon-born, French-trained, Trotter’s-honed chef got together with a Chicago Bears defensive tackle to open a restaurant, this is your answer. And if you haven’t wondered that, well... we just saved you the trouble.

Chef Alain Njike (Trotter’s, Park 52)—with Israel Idonije’s backing—has created a spot perfect for those dates when you’re craving someplace just slightly on the exotic side. African-ish colors, a hand-tiled mosaic on the wall, a few bamboo touches around the bar. Not bad for the ground floor of a new construction high-rise.

Despite the hints of exoticism, you’ll recognize everything on the menu. The slow-roasted halibut marinated in Kalamata olives. Roasted duck breast with sweet-potato flan. A hearty piece of steak seasoned with Cameroonian black pepper, along with the world’s creamiest mashed potatoes—which, as you know, come from the Bamileke people of western Cameroon.

Your grandma’s are a very close second.


1355 S Michigan Ave
(between 13th and 14th)
Chicago, IL, 60605


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