For 27 years Ambria set the standard for French fine dining in the city of Chicago. Beloved for its classical influences paired with warm, often humorous service and an incredible wine program, Ambria was the touchpoint of classical cuisine for a generation of Chicagoans.

Four years ago Alinea Group co-founder Nick Kokonas suggested to LEYE Chairman Rich Melman that he open a reimagined Ambria. “I loved that place,” said Nick. “When Dagmara and I were first experiencing fine dining we were always warmly welcomed there despite being young and on a budget. Nothing like it exists in Chicago anymore… maybe not in America.”  A quick laugh ended the conversation. But a seed was planted.

A few years later LEYE President RJ Melman got the ball rolling. Meeting with Nick and chef Grant Achatz, he suggested the timing was now perfect as the iconic, nationally registered Belden Stratford building will be undergoing a major renovation. A year of creative conversations ensued. “Ambria 2020 will be all-new, modern, and stunning,” said RJ. “But it will reflect the space and provide nods to the original.”

“Alinea is about constant innovation and pushing the cutting edge, but my foundation lies in French technique, history, and dishes,” said Grant Achatz. “We’ll have a few tricks up our sleeves, but they will stick firmly to modernizing the very best classical dishes and ingredients.”

“LEYE has always been about great partnerships,” said Rich. “This promises to be exciting. Both groups bring so much to the table — doing this together in the service of Ambria is incredibly energizing.”

Further details will be released early next year.