So Much For Alain’s


We’re always sorry when a place is gone before it even has a chance to show its stuff, and that seems to be the case with the Israel Idonije-backed American-Cameroonian hybrid Alain’s in the South Loop. Opening in August with promising, if inconsistent, reports as to how much African influence it would have, the restaurant piqued our curiosity more when 312 Dining Diva filed a favorable report on the creative use of Cameroonian spices and breads by owner-chef Alain Njike. Just days later, however, the restaurant was padlocked by its landlord. And though there was word of reopening, now Sloopin, a south Loop-based blog, reports that very large and visible For Rent signs have been posted in the windows, a pretty clear implication that Alain’s is history. It may simply have been too big a project for Njike, a former front of house staff member at Charlie Trotter’s, to take on as a neophyte chef-owner, particularly given the long buildout (which likely drained Njike’s capital). It’s also a fast turnaround for the expansion of dining options in the South Loop, which saw three places open practically the same week in the same block, only for Alain’s to close and City Tavern to lose chef Kendal Duque almost immediately. [Sloopin]