I saw it on local TV last night. The reporter was standing in the large empty room. There were only two tables with diners. It's probably another "dumb down" of a restaurant's decor without lowering the prices - like NoMI did a couple of years ago.
Too bad really. I think Sixteen started to slide when chef Thomas Lents left awhile back. That article raises a good point about long, extravagant dinners falling out of favor. Heck even Alinea "reconcepted" to a smaller and less expensive menu (though still prix fixe and not inexpensive). Gotta change with the times I guess.
Alinea did not reconcept to a smaller and less expensive menu. It is actually more expensive and larger. 16 will reconcept as a casual less expensive restaurant.
There is debate if Chicago can support real high end dining like NYC. With closures of Grace, 40 grams and now 16 we are losing Michelin stars quickly. Each of these closures has a back story but it is a trend that needs to be watched. High food cost restaurants are difficult to make profitable.
B.Edited: 24 March 2018, 18:58
Hmm, Alinea's website says The Gallery menu has 16-18 courses and Salon has 10-12 courses. We kept a menu from one of our early visits (Dec 2007) and it lists 22 courses. I know they had an option for fewer courses. That's what I meant by smaller, I should have said fewer courses. Can't recall how much we paid.
Back then too, they weren't varying the per person cost by day like they are now (I don't think they were at least). Again website says Salon ranges between $175 and $225, and I'm pretty sure even the shorter menu back then was more than that. Whatever.
Losing Grace was a real shame, what a mess that was.